The Department of Mathematics offers both a terminal MA program and a PhD program in Mathematics.
Students are admitted for specific degree programs: the MA in Mathematics, PhD in Mathematics, or PhD in Applied Mathematics. Requirements for the Mathematics and Applied Mathematics PhDs differ only in minor respects, and no distinction is made between the two in day-to-day matters.
Continuing students wishing to transfer from one program to another should consult the graduate assistant in 910 Evans Hall. Transfers between the two PhD programs and from the PhD program to the MA program are fairly routine but should be done prior to taking the qualifying exam. Applications to transfer from the MA to the PhD program are reviewed carefully. It is a formal policy of the department that an applicant to the PhD program who has previous graduate work in mathematics—including our own MA program—must present very strong evidence of capability for mathematical research.
While MA degrees are awarded, in recent years few MA students have been admitted from outside the university. A small number of pre-PhD students have been admitted. These are promising candidates whose preparation is not yet sufficient for PhD study, and who are initially admitted for the MA degrees. The progress of pre-PhD students is reviewed late in the spring semester. Those deemed prepared are eligible to advance to the PhD program, by completing a routine Petition to Change Program, obtainable from the graduate assistant. Completion of the requirements for the MA is not required.
Students seeking to transfer to the Mathematics MA or PhD programs from other campus programs, including the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science, must formally apply and should consult the graduate vice chair.
Source: Berkeley Academic Guide