Jump to content

Profile evaluation for mathematics PhD programs

Recommended Posts

I really want to get into a PhD program, but failing that I would do a Master's.  Any advice would be appreciated, especially if there are any schools on my list that I wouldn't get into or new schools I should consider.



Large state university
Mathematics major with English minor

3.738 Cumulative, 3.75 Mathematics, 4.0 English


General: Verbal 160/84%, Quantitative 165/90%, Writing 4.0/56%

I am taking the mathematics subject test this fall.  I've been studying a lot for this, but I'm very worried.


Courses: Math electives are mostly in Numerical Analysis and Differential Equations.  I’ve taken a graduate course in Linear Algebra and will take graduate courses in Numerical Analysis and Abstract Algebra in my senior year.  Many courses use MATLAB extensively.  Grade wise, almost every course is an A.  However, I got Bs in my early math classes such as Calculus 3 and the first class with proofs.  In my entire undergraduate career I had only one C, which was in Real Analysis I.  I am taking Real Analysis II this fall and hope to redeem myself on that.


Research Experience: I am currently working on a project with a professor for the past few months.  

Research Area Ambitions: Numerical Analysis or Differential Equations

Letters of Recommendation: I haven’t asked anyone yet, but I’m confident I can get at least two letters from mathematics professors.


Schools: Ordered from top choice to bottom choice:

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Duke University

Boston University

University of Virginia

North Carolina State University

University of Washington

University of Iowa

Vanderbilt University

University of North Carolina Greensboro

University of North Carolina Charlotte

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I think you have a great profile and have a great shot at getting into a graduate program. Here are some thoughts that came into my head:
Study hard for the subject GRE because your score will either help or hurt you.
You have already taken some graduate courses and so you will be prepared for the rigors of a graduate program. I have heard some schools like to see this so you may want to highlight/emphasize this in your application.
You should look at each individual school to see what undergraduate classes they require. Most require a course in linear algebra and real analysis (which you have done), but some schools require more so you may want to look into that.
Make sure to emphasize your project you are working on now in your statement of purpose, CV, etc. Programs like to see you have done something above and beyond course work.
Three letters of recommendation is the standard when it comes to graduate school applications. I think you should have at least two letters be from mathematics professors, the other can come from mathematics as well or another source. One of these letters should be from the person you are working with now.
I know you ordered your schools from top choice to bottom choice, but are there any schools on that list that are "safety" schools? That is, are you 100% certain that you will get accepted into any of these schools? If not, you should add a safety school to your list.
From personal experience, 10 schools is a lot to apply to. I also applied to 10 schools and it was financially, mentally, and emotionally draining. Looking back, I wish I had narrowed down my list more to schools that were closely aligned with my research interests. If you don't know your research interests that is fine, but I would encourage you to apply to a school that has diverse research interests. Unfortunately, I chose a program that doesn't have diverse research interests and my research area has changed... so I am reapplying again this fall.
Anyway, I think you have a great shot. Good luck to you.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use