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Application advice? Going from MA to PhD

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Hi, all -

I'm a high-school teacher, but trying to move towards a career in higher math at some point in the next few years. I'm currently working on an MA in Applied Math. I have a 4.0 so far. Haven't taken the GRE subject test yet, but I certainly will before I get around to PhD applications. Here are my questions, and I hope somebody will be kind enough to help:

- What are some decent programs in Applied Math, at the PhD level, that might be "safer" bets (i.e. less competitive) than MIT, Harvard, or UC Berkeley? I'm worried that some top places will see the word "teacher" on my resume and cast my application aside without a thought, especially since as an undergrad I switched my major from Math to Math Education (ah, hindsight...). I'd like to get accepted somewhere even if I may not have a great chance at the absolute best schools.

- Do you think the Applied Math MA will help? I figure it's a chance to better prepare myself for the PhD coursework and research, and it's helping me to figure out a specialization. Might that make up for not having a BA/BS in Math?

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I'd imagine an MA in applied math will definitely make up for not having an undergrad in math.

some other schools with great applied math departments just a notch below MIT would be:


Univ of Colorado Boulder

UC Davis


Western Ontario

these are not 'safe bets' but would still be worth applying to if you maintain your 4.0 in your masters.

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Thanks! All good ideas that I wouldn't necessarily have thought of on my own. It's such a weird process; it really helps to have some direction so that I can start looking around and figuring out which specialties are well-represented where!

And my less intellectual side is nagging at me that Colorado wouldn't be such a terrible place to live for 6 years (or so)...

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