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Do I need a research paper


Hi everyone, 

I am doing Bachelor in KAIST Korea, double Majoring in Mathematics and Business management, my graduation is coming in Summer 2017. 

I'm now gathering information for applying for a Master/ PhD in Applied Mathematics, especially finnacial mathematics, (Stochastic process and Statistics), in the U.S, or Canada/Europe/Austrailia with application period being this 2016 Fall.

As being a student doing Double Major, it is not required for me to do a research or graduation thesis, and even if I do, it is hard for me to get one because of the structure in my department. Frankly, professors believe that the knowledge that we learn as a Bachelor is not enough to do any research yet, and I do feel the same way. 

For me, my background in financial mathematics is not really strong. Recently I've just done an Individual study on portfolio management. And I also have done some financial mathematics course, (option and bond value theory, GBM, etc.) but it is not a focused branch in my school as well, meaning that there is not so many courses on this field in my university. 

I am wondering if it is OK to apply without any graduation thesis, more specifically I wonder if the thesis is an important factor on the admittance decision. 

Really desperpate for help, thanks. 

Edited by trangbui
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Far more people apply without an undergraduate thesis than you would guess based on the people who post here. If you can't do one at your school, then you just can't. Try to get one of your professors to include a brief line about this in their letter of recommendation, if at all possible.

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Based on my experience as someone in Pure Maths with lots of friends in applied maths (although admittedly nobody in financial maths), I'd say research papers and a bachelor thesis are definitely not expected, although supervised undergraduate projects and graduate courses are highly appreciated.

I agree that in most situations the knowledge you obtain in a first degree is not enough to do serious research,  but that's what a Master's degree and the first few years of a PhD (in the American case and in many other places)  are for. It is great that you know what you want to do in advance,  so you still have time to tailor your qualifications to your goal. I'd recommend you try to find an undergraduate project in a field of your interest to work on with some staff in KAIST (that'd be a good source of a letter later on) and attempt to take entry-level graduate courses related to what you want to do or that could improve your theoretical background (as long as you're honestly sure you can cope with them!). 

If you intend to apply to the US and Canada, also remember to prepare well in advance for the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS and get done with them ASAP. Also try to get the best letters as possible and let the recommenders know you'll need them some months before applications open (and remind them as the time approaches).

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