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Departmental Scholar Program

The Mathematics Departmental Scholars Program is the most advanced program offered to undergraduate mathematics majors. It provides excellent preparation for graduate school for exceptional students. Scholars complete both Bachelor’s (BS) and Master’s (MA) degrees, within a four-year period.

Admission to the Departmental Scholars Program is by application only. Students must apply before the end of the spring quarter of the junior year.

Applications which satisfy the conditions below, and which are submitted by the end of spring quarter of the junior year, are guaranteed consideration. Applications are reviewed and decided by the Undergraduate and Graduate program faculty, in consultation with other faculty. 

To apply for the Departmental Scholars Programs, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Be declared in a mathematics major and have fulfilled all premajor math requirements for that major
  • Have completed 96 quarter course units or 24 courses at UCLA or another institution
  • Have passed the Basic Exam
  • Have completed the WII requirement
  • Have at least a 3.6 gpa in all upper division math courses
  • Have at least a 3.5 gpa overall in UCLA  courses
  • Have 2 letters of recommendation from Mathematics permanent faculty who have taught the student
  • Have a detailed study plan for completing both the Bachelor’s degree and the Masters degree by the end of Year 4
  • Have a Statement of Purpose, about one page but no more than two, which explains the student’s interest in the program

Note that these are the minimal requirements for application. Fulfilling them does not guarantee admission to the program.

To remain in the Departmental Scholars Program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Remain a UCLA mathematics student in good academic standing
  • Maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in mathematics courses at all times

The following timeline is recommended for students in the Departmental Scholars Program:

First year at UCLA

Complete or have credit from another institution/standardized test (AP or IB Exams) all lower-division Calculus-based courses (Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B). If possible take 115AH in spring.

Second year at UCLA

Complete pre-major courses, take Math 115AH (Honors Linear Algebra), Math 115B (Linear Algebra), Math 131AH (Honors Analysis) and 131BH (Honors Analysis).Take major honors courses in area in which you plan to take first grad courses. Begin preparation for Basic Exam (offered Sept. and March) using online copies of past exams.

Third Year at UCLA

Pass the Basic Qualifying Exam.  Apply to Scholars program no later than Spring Quarter. Complete remaining undergraduate math major courses, and most general UCLA required courses.  Begin graduate courses,

Fourth year at UCLA

Complete remaining graduate (and undergraduate) level coursework.


The MA requirements include 11 additional courses, of which 8 must be graduate math courses. Typically, Scholars follow at least two of the Core graduate course sequences. These classes start in the fall quarter The normal course load for beginning graduate students is 3 math courses, with a least 2 in core sequences.  In addition, candidates must fulfill all University level requirements. Note, in particular,  that no course may be used to fulfill requirements for both degrees.

An important note on taking graduate courses as an undergraduate. Graduate courses which are taken more than two quarters prior to the quarter of application to the Scholars program may not be used for credit toward the Masters degree. Specifically, this means that if your application file is submitted to the Undergraduate Office and is complete in:

-Fall Quarter, then you can count any course taken in Winter or Spring Quarter of the previous year.

-Winter Quarter, then you can count any course taken in Fall quarter of the same year or Spring quarter of the previous year

-Spring Quarter, then you can count any course taken in Winter or Fall Quarter of the same year.

Please use these rules in planning your studies and please consult with Connie Jung, or either the Graduate or Undergraduate Vice chair, if you have any questions.  Graduate courses may be used to fulfill undergraduate major electives, even if they were taken too early to be used for the Masters degree.

More information on the Basic Exam, including old exams: http://www.math.ucla.edu/grad/handbook/quals/basic
Dates of upcoming exams: https://www.math.ucla.edu/grad/qe-dates


Contact ugrad@math.ucla.edu with questions.