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Programs Are programming skills required to get into an Applied Math PhD school?

  1. Jun 13, 2012 #1
    Hi Physicsforum,

    I'll be graduating next semester (one semester early) with a degree in Pure Math and Statistics (minor in Atmopheric Science). I have good research experience and an internship and can get some good letters of recommendation. However, I'm worried that I don't have enough programming experience to get into top PhD programs in applied math. I am proficient with R, but I'm not applying to Statistics. I know very basic java and C++, but I've never taken a numerical methods class. I want to study PDEs, fluid dynamics, and dynamical systems.

    Is it okay that I won't have much programming experience? Will schools like Washington, NYU, and UChicago look down on that? Has anyone else gotten into an Applied Math PhD program without much programming experience?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey Nishrito and welcome to the forums.

    Short of asking them, it's going to be hard to give the most accurate answer.

    I'm going to make an educated guess and say that the experience you already have should be enough. The key thing to keep in mind is that if you have to learn something new, then you should be able to do it within a reasonable time-frame if it ends up being required of you to do what you have to do: this is the attitude that you will need to have especially when doing a PhD.

    With regards to getting a more specific answer, you should find out what kinds of things these schools do research in and one way of doing this is looking at what your potential supervisors have done in the past both by themselves (and in collaboration with others), and also what other previous students of theirs (if they have supervised other PhD students) have worked on.

    Again as an educated guess, I think knowing things like MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, R, SAS and those kinds of things should be enough, but if you really want to get a better idea short of asking the university itself, then take a look at the research groups websites and find out the kind of projects (PhD and post PhD) that have been worked on.
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