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Getting into Master's in Applied Math with limited research experience?

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Hello all, 


First time poster here. I realized relatively late that I want to continue my math education and hope to apply for an M.S. in Applied Math (would consider pure as well). Given my background, I'm am unsure what my chances are of getting accepted into a decent top-30 program. 




Male at top public US university (top 3) with a top 10 graduate math program

Major: Applied Math, graduating this year

GPA: major: 3.6-3.7 (hopefully by graduation), overall: 3.3 (hopefully 3.4 by graduation)

Upper Division coursework: two quarters real analysis, one quarter complex analysis, proof-based linear algebra, two quarters numerical analysis, financial mathematics, discrete stochastic processes, mathematical modeling, ordinary differential equations, probability, mathematical statistics




- No abstract algebra taken - how much of an issue will this be to M.S. Applied Math programs?


- My low GPA is primarily due to a completely unrelated degree I was pursuing at the university (life sciences + economics), which I later changed to Applied Math. Additionally, I received two C's in lower division math classes (re-took one to learn it better and got an A), but have been getting A's/A-'s in my upper division coursework so far. Does my GPA rule me out of consideration for top-30 M.S. programs?


No research experience. I have, however, been working on developing quantitative algorithms via MATLAB with an academic professional in finance that works in the financial services industry now (Monte Carlo methods, stock price modeling using geometric Brownian motion, multi-variate regressions etc.)


Given my background, do I still have a fair shot at getting accepted into a Top 30 (preferably higher) Master's program in Applied Math?


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I have an MS in applied math. In my experience, Master's programs in general do not care that much about research experience. There might be some exceptions at elite, very selective Masters programs (like Berkeley, their engineering Masters programs like the applicants to have done research). But in math, I don't think research is that critical. Many PhD applicants in applied or pure math do not have substantive research experience, and many faculty don't seem to care that much about REUs (as they do not accurately reflect most mathematics research).


I don't think applied math programs will care that much about abstract algebra either. Additionally, your GPA should be fine, since your grades in upper division classes are great. You could briefly explain the C's in your statement of purpose or in the supplemental information section of your application (emphasizing that you retook one of the classes to get an A), and then point out that you have gotten A/A-'s in all your upper division classes. A lot of adcoms tend to be more forgiving of low grades in lower division classes and an upwards trend in grades over time is definitely viewed as a plus and a sure sign of maturity.


All in all, I don't think you are out of the quesiton at any Applied Math programs. Just make sure to get great letters of recommendation. Best of luck.

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