Graduate Studies in Mathematics at SFU

Join one of the most vibrant and forward-looking graduate Mathematics programs in Canada.

Mathematics is a vital human endeavour that has important outcomes and applications in almost any field. The Mathematics Department at SFU brings together world-class research faculty in a collegial atmosphere. Students have the opportunity to learn, teach, and create new and advanced mathematics.

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Meet Some of our Faculty Members

Dr. Ben Adcock, Associate Professor, 2015 Sloan Research Fellow

Assistant Professor Ben Adcock was awarded the 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of mathematics. “I work in computational math, at the intersection of numerical analysis, computational harmonic analysis, approximation theory and data science. I'm interested broadly in how we recover objects from data,” he explains. “A typical example is Magnetic Resonance Imaging, when you have an MRI scan, the machine acquires certain measurements, and then at the end of the process the MRI practitioner gets an image. I’m trying to make this recovery faster, by allowing you to take fewer measurements while at the same time producing better quality images.”

Adcock heads up a research group in the Department of Mathematics, working closely with postdocs and PhD, MSc and undergraduate students. “I think being open-minded and intellectually curious is very important—if you don't have that, then you will struggle to get far in research and academia,” he explains. “We do a range of things related to the group’s research. We all meet every two weeks, and I also meet with everyone individually. I like students to have different projects to work on. I like them to have variety,” he says.

In addition to his research, Adcock spends his time in the department lecturing. “I enjoy teaching a lot. I like seeing students work hard and learn new concepts. I especially enjoy seeing students develop and progress—I get a lot of satisfaction from that,” he explains. “I would like to dispel the myth that there's a huge dose of God-given talent in doing mathematics. A lot of what I do is about hard work.”

Outside of his work in the department, Adcock is an avid cyclist and hiker, taking advantage of the coastal mountains surrounding the campus.

Dr. Paul Tupper, Professor, Canada Research Chair, Tier 2

Canada Research Chair Dr. Paul Tupper develops mathematical tools for psychologists and linguists. “Mathematical modelling is looking at the world and looking at phenomena and trying to find a mathematical model that helps you to understand it,” he says. “It's very well developed for certain fields, like physics. Nowadays, linguists are getting more and more interested in quantitative things and so I've been able to establish connections with people in that field.”

One of Tupper’s interests is how people modify their speech in situations where they want to be more clearly understood. “There's this whole field of linguistics that studies what makes speech comprehensible. And there's applications for teaching English as a second language,” he explains.

In addition to his own research, Tupper spends his time teaching and meeting with students. “I really like math and I enjoy doing it—doing calculations and trying to figure things out. And I like people, so it's a good combination.”

Dr. Bojan Mohar, Professor, Canada Research Chair, Tier 1

Dr. Bojan Mohar is recognized as one of the leading discrete mathematicians in the world. He is a Canada Research Chair and his main area of research is Graph Theory, which has applications in theoretical computing. “I've worked on many different problems, resolved open problems and conjectures, and opened new areas of research with possible applications outside of mathematics,” he says. “One of my main subjects is Topological and Structural Graph Theory and that has a lot of applications in the design of algorithms.”

For Mohar, his work is full of variety and possibility. “I love it because there is always something new. You're learning all the time. You're uncovering new things and developing your own ideas. You can make a new theory or a new proof. It's very vibrant and it's very alive so you're never bored,” he explains.

Mohar has published widely, including a co-authored book that’s widely used in discrete mathematics and computer science. “I've done some pioneering work with the application of graphs and eigenvalues in the structure of Graph Theory and in optimization in computer science. Probably my most famous result is a very efficient algorithm for embedding graphs on surfaces,” he says.

As a leading research faculty in the department, Mohar works closely with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. “We have a weekly meeting where we discuss any progress someone made or new and important results coming in that we need to get acquainted with,” he says. “Mathematics is collaborative. Even if you work by yourself on an open problem, it's always good to have someone you can explain your progress to. My students sometimes get joint work, or joint publication because they talk to each other.”

Full list of all faculty members here

Featured Graduate Student

Bamdad Hosseini, MSc (’13), PhD  (’17)

Bamdad Hosseini combined an undergraduate degree in Engineering and a love of numerical analysis into a thesis that explored modelling the dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere. His latest work with Dr. Nilima Nigam, won the prestigious SIAM Student Paper Prize. Find out how he got there.

Full list of all graduate students here