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MS in Math: Can I Hope?


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Hello all! First post here!

Did a lot of career soul searching and am now really adamant on pursuing a masters in math.

I'd love to get some insight on what exactly I'm up against based on my background. Any feedback would be really appreciated!

Living in NYC. Attended a public university for my BBA. Majored in Finance, minored in Economics. Graduated May 2009 with a GPA of 3.65.

Worked at a prominent hedge fund for about 1.5 years doing trade support. Currently at a research firm doing credit and debt analysis.

Took CFA I in June of this year, passed and now registered for CFA II.

I took just one calculus course in undergrad. It was my first semester there and my 18 yr old lazy self did miserably: C+.

Id really love to attend the NYU program here. Do I have a chance? Would I need any prerequisite classes?

Again, any information would be a great help!


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What are you interested in? Pure, Applied,

I'm not a math student, but you'll definently have quite a few pre-requisites to take before gaining admission to a masters program in math especially since you've only taken calc-1

If you really want that math degree, consider going to school full time and getting a BS in mathematics. Since you worked at a hedge fund, you might have some savings, so live on that. You'll probably have to take some proof based math courses before admission also.

Have you thought about a masters in financial engineering or a masters in quantitative finance....You'll still have quite a few math pre-reqs to take with both options, but it will likely be less.

Edited by tonym9428
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According to the math department at UIUC, student wanting to gain admission to the MS program should have completed up to the following courses.

"It is strongly recommended that the entering student has taken courses that cover the syllabi of the following:

Math 417 - Introduction to Abstract Algebra

Math 418 - Advanced Linear Algebra

Math 447 - Real Variables

A course in computer programming"

Here's the link:


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I am in the exact same situation as you, majoring in finance and wanted to do math (applied anyway). Thankfully I figured this out just before my third year of university, and I still wonder if I'll be okay, as I am now in my fourth year and am applying for Fall 2011. I actually applied to NYU and their requirements seem quite less than most other places. Their website says: "All applicants must have earned (or be about to complete) a B.A. or B.S. or the equivalent. They must have taken three semesters of college-level calculus, including one semester of advanced calculus or linear algebra or the equivalent. Students who do not have the advanced calculus course may be required to take the course G63.1002 Multivariable Calculus. As previously emphasized, these are the very minimum requirements; additional undergraduate coursework in mathematics is desirable. Courses in analysis, linear algebra, complex variables, partial and ordinary differential equations, and probability theory are especially helpful. Students who do not have some necessary mathematical preparation may be able to compensate by taking courses at Courant on a non-degree basis."

Since it is fair to assume you do not have the preparation for any MS program in math, that may be your best option if NYU is what you are looking at.

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To iterate the above, you need to develop your foundations.

Go to a CC or local university and finish up the basics.

A MS might let you come in and start from the ground up, but you are behind second semester engineering students, and we all know how much math they know ;)

Just a bit of time and are you there.

Edited by hubris
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