The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is a public teaching and research university which finds its origins back in September 1551. With more than 340,000 students and nearly 40,000 academics enrolled in 2015, UNAM runs 230 undergaduate, specialisation and postgraduate programs covering all areas of knowledge. It constitutes the major university in Mexico being the only one with Nobel Prize laureates among its alumni and it is among the most important in Latin America. Its main campus is one of the largest and most artistically detailed in America. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was designed by some of Mexico's best-known architects of the 20th century.
The study of Sciences, and in particular Mathematics and Physics, at UNAM was started by the National School of High Studies, created in September 1910, which included Sciences as its second section. After various reforms and changes, which in particular disentangle the studies of hard sciences, e.g. from Philosophy, the Faculty of Sciences (FC) started in its current form in January the 1st 1939. A little after, in June 1942, the Institute of Mathematics (IM) was created as a hub for research in pure and applied mathematics. These two UNAM institutions laid the foundations of the study of mathematics and physics in Mexico.
The need of interdisciplinary mathematics, and its relation with Computer Sciences, encouraged some renown scholars in Engineering, Mathematical Mechanics, Operational Research, Probability and Statistics to create the Research Institute for Applied Mathematics and Systems (IIMAS) consolidated in March 1976.
Nowadays these three institutions, FC, IM and IIMAS, encompass most branches of mathematics, probability and statistics among many others areas of Sciences, such as Biology, Computer Sciences and Physics.
The mission of these three institutions seeks to train professionals with strong mathematical bases to tackle problems in science and industry and to guarantee the existence of pure and applied research groups creating the proper environment for inter and transdisciplinary activities.
FC, IM and IIMAS collaborate together in various undergraduate and postgraduate programs. In particular, the Postgraduate Program in Mathematical Sciences, which includes both MSc. and PhD. degrees, covers most areas of knowledge of mathematics such as Algebra, Analysis, Continuous Systems, Differential Equations, Geometry, Mathematical Finance, Probability, Statistics and Topology among others.
Both, the MSc. and the PhD. programs, can have one of three terminal orientations: Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Finance or Probability and Statistics. Within the MSc program a student is expected to take courses from some of the aforementioned areas covering at least four basic academic activities in three different areas. The programme consists of four semesters, three intended to cover 70 credits and the last one to undertake one of the graduation schemes (courses range from 5 to 9 credits depending on how many teaching hours per week, i.e. 2 credits per hour). After completing the credits, the MSc degree can be obtained via thesis or a general examination in three areas of knowledge.
The PhD program, which can be equally undertaken in the aforementioned areas, is a four year program. It consists mainly of three stages: i) the general examination in three areas of knowledge ii) the PhD candidate stage, similar to transfer reports in UK programmes, and iii) the dissertation revision and defence. MSc. students already in the program and who opt for the graduation modality via general examination in three areas, position themselves ready to start their research activities. On the other hand, students coming from other institutions with exceptional MSc. dissertations, could substitute an examination in the corresponding area.