5 Year BS/MS in Mathematics
This five-year combined bachelor's and masters program is designed for students interested in mathematical sciences. An admitted student receives admission to both a bachelor's program in mathematics or a related field, and to a professional master of science degree program in either industrial or financial mathematics.
Professional M.S. Degrees in Industrial Mathematics and Financial Mathematics
These professional M.S. degree programs are specifically designed to prepare graduates for successful careers in the corporate world. Both consist of theoretical and practical training.
The program is aimed at developing the analytic, modeling and computational skills needed in industrial environments. The demand for professionals capable of modeling and simulating emerging technologies has dramatically increased in recent years. Industrial mathematicians, commonly working in multidisciplinary teams, contribute to a wide range of industrial areas from aircraft and automobile design to software development, computer security, computer graphics, weather modeling and prediction.
The Financial Mathematics graduate program is designed to lead students to the frontlines of the financial revolution. Recent breakthroughs in theory make it possible to quantify risks and express their fundamental relationship to returns in mathematical form. Computational technology makes it then possible to use quantitative models to design trading strategies, structured contracts, derivative securities and other new forms of financial engineering. Course work in mathematics and finance, computational laboratories, industrial partnerships and project work equip students with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for quantitative positions in investment banks, securities houses, insurance companies and money management firms.
Application and Admission
Students interested in applying to this program should indicate their interest on their admissions application in the section entitled Program/Area of Study: students using the WPI paper application will see the Five Year Plan in Mathematics listed under Other Options; students using the WPI Web application will find the Five Year Plan in Mathematics under Special Academic Opportunities. Applicants selecting this option will be automatically considered for the five year program. Because space in the program is limited, selecting the option does not guarantee acceptance into the five-year program; acceptance is based on academic merit. Students accepted to the five-year program will receive a notification letter from the head of the Mathematical Sciences Department and the director of Graduate Admissions soon after gaining admission to the university.
The First Four Years
Selecting a Major
While students in the five-year program are not required to select a mathematical sciences major, it is strongly recommended as it will be difficult to complete the course work and projects necessary to pursue a graduate program in either financial or industrial mathematics with an undergraduate major in any other field. In addition, it is not be possible to complete both an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree in financial or industrial mathematics in five years without the proper grouping of courses at the undergraduate level.
The Junior Year Review
All students admitted to this program are expected to maintain a strong average. The graduate faculty committee will review students' progress after C Term of their junior year to assure that they have maintained a minimum grade point average of 3.0, the equivalent of a B average, and a positive review as a Peer Learning Assistant (see below).
Working as a Peer Learning Assistant
Each students in the program is required to work as a Peer Learning Assistant (PLA) for one academic year, which can be done during either the junior or senior year. PLAs work 10 hours per week and are paid at a favorable hourly rate. They assist professors with preparing assignments, conducting conference and homework sessions, grading, and related tasks. Students' PLA performance will be also taken into consideration as part of the junior year review.
Earning Credit for Two Degrees at Once
Completing an undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years is possible because of what is known as "double counting." With his or her advisor, each student in the program selects four undergraduate or graduate courses that will be included in both the bachelor's and master's degree. These credits are counted toward both degrees.
The Fifth Year
Completing the Graduate Degree Requirements
Upon completion of the requirements for the B.S. degree, a student's graduate transcript will show 12 credits already earned from the double-counted courses. As Industrial Mathematics and Financial Mathematics are each 30-credit degree programs, an additional 18 credits, or nine credits per semester, must be accumulated in the fifth year. This is the standard number of credits per semester for WPI graduate students and is the minimum number of credits required to be considered a full-time student. All students in this program must maintain full-time status for the duration of the five years. In addition, the fifth year must begin with the semester immediately following completion of the B.S. degree.
Working as a Teaching Assistant
A TA is a full-time graduate student who works closely with professors in preparing courses, conducting small group sessions, overseeing labs, grading, and related tasks. Students in the five-year program who are in good academic standing, have successfully completed their B.S. degree, and have worked for a year as a Peer-Learning Assistant will be awarded a partial teaching assistantship for the fifth (graduate) year. The position requires a commitment of 10 hours per week and is compensated by free tuition for the graduate year.