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Math GRE for Computational Neuroscience PhD


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I recently graduated with a physics degree and plan on applying to PhD's in computational neuroscience. I've only taken four semesters of mathematics (Calc III-IV, Diff Eq I-II) in college so I'm worried that I'm not prepared mathematically. Would taking the GRE Math Subject test improve my chances of admission at Computational Neuroscience PhD programs?

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Definitely it would. GRE Subject Tests are often considered the least important part of your application, but in a case like yours where you haven't done much coursework in the area the test would show the adcoms that you know your stuff.

Edited by BigPharma
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I disagree with the previous comment... I can't think of any situation where the subject GRE will help you when it's not required by the program. If you have a strong math background that will speak for itself on your application in terms of grades and coursework, and if you don't then you aren't likely to do very well on the exam which is not very crammable. You might be able to make up for insufficient pure math coursework (although, your amount sounds fine to me for a biology phd program) by emphasizing computer programming experience which is more relevant to a computational neuroscience degree in any case. If you feel like you are missing something later in your program, you can always just take a course while you are there.

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On 1/12/2018 at 12:41 PM, BigPharma said:

Definitely it would. GRE Subject Tests are often considered the least important part of your application, but in a case like yours where you haven't done much coursework in the area the test would show the adcoms that you know your stuff.

9 hours ago, Janiejoneswoah said:

I disagree with the previous comment... I can't think of any situation where the subject GRE will help you when it's not required by the program. If you have a strong math background that will speak for itself on your application in terms of grades and coursework, and if you don't then you aren't likely to do very well on the exam which is not very crammable. You might be able to make up for insufficient pure math coursework (although, your amount sounds fine to me for a biology phd program) by emphasizing computer programming experience which is more relevant to a computational neuroscience degree in any case. If you feel like you are missing something later in your program, you can always just take a course while you are there.

 

Thanks for both responses. As of now I'm not sure if I'll take it. I'll see if I can self-study for the exam. And I'll ask professionals who are involved in Comp Neuro admissions for advice. 

 

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Currently doing mathematical modeling (not neuro I'll confess) witha math background  similar to yours. Depending on the modeling work you plan on doing, you wouldn't need more than what you've already taken, as the vast majority are differential equation based (ODE or PDE). I would just pick up a textbook and do some self learning. Modeling for the most part is vary applied in nature, so as long as you understand the concepts for the most part you should be ok!

If you aren't super comfortable, most programs will let you take additional courses to beef up your background in  areas of need (which is what I did). I wouldn't take the math GRE unless it was completely required by the program (which is doubtful). Also remember these subject tests are generally geared at students with an undergrad degree in the subject and most of it would be outside the realm of what you've taken formal classes in.  

 

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