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Applied Math PhD Profile Evaluation


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Undergrad Institution: top 20 private university

Major: Computational Math & Mechanical Engineering

GPA: 3.94/4 (same for both majors and cGPA somehow)

Type of Student: domestic male


GRE: 165 Q/163 V/5.0 W

(46th percentile on the math subject GRE, did not submit)

Research Experience:

  • Have 3 years of research experience in computational fluid dynamics with a focus on computational math; 1 paper in an undergrad journal, then 1 proper journal paper with my professor on which I'm first author.
  • 6-month research fellowship in Europe on CFD after graduating (advised by a well-known professor in my subfield of CFD)
  • A summer internship at a national lab

Other Relevant Experience:

  • Lots of programming experience with MATLAB, C, and C++
  • I was a grader for some undergrad PDE and linear algebra courses, and also a grad level numerical PDEs course

Letters of Rec:

  • My undergrad research advisor who I published a paper with and worked with for 2 years
  • My undergrad major advisor; I never took any courses with him, but I was a grader in two of his courses; he knows me well and writes great letters (no research with him though)
  • Research advisor from a fellowship in Europe; no publications with him, but I did grad level research and he is well-known in the subfield I want to do research in

Weak Points:

  • Did not submit the mGRE score to any schools since it was optional; I know this will probably hurt me in the long run, but I was advised both by my research advisor and undergrad advisor not to submit my score. I've never taken abstract algebra or topology or complex analysis and didn't do most of those questions on the exam. I did self study a little, but alas. Every school I'm applying to is a dedicated applied math program though, the vast majority of which don't even have real analysis on their graduate curriculum, so at the very least, not having abstract algebra or complex analysis on my undergrad transcript probably won't hurt me too badly
  • I've been out of school since 2014 now. I did a summer internship at a national lab in the summer of 2014, then spent some time traveling. 2015 I had a 6-month research fellowship in Europe. But for all of 2016 to present, I'm working full-time in a completely unrelated field (not even STEM actually...)


  • Stanford ICME (submitted, expecting rejection)
  • Brown - Applied Math (expecting rejection)
  • University of Washington - Applied Math (a reach, but a good match I think)
  • UT Austin CMES 
  • Stony Brook University - Applied Math
  • University of Maryland - Applied Math
  • Rice University (CAAM)
  • University of Waterloo - Applied Math

One question I had: in my statement of purpose, I've been writing about faculty at that school I would be interested in working with. For one of my schools, I've written about an adjunct professor (whose main appointment is through a different university at the same school). I reached out to make sure he advises applied math students and he said yes, and indicated potential interest in working with me if I got in. My worry is: should I stick to mentioning departmental faculty in my SOP, or are adjuncts okay too?

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