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Grad School

  1. Dec 11, 2008 #1
    So, i want to go to grad school for math. i just got accepted into a math honor society. Will this look really good for grad school?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2008 #2
    Not really. It's not a bad thing at all, mind you, but good grades and great recommendations from professors will go a lot further.
  4. Dec 12, 2008 #3
    Yeah, but to get into this society, I have to have a 3.0 overall and a 2.75 in all my math classes.
  5. Dec 12, 2008 #4


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    And to get into grad school you usually need a 3.5 so it doesn't mean much at all unless you become really involved in your school's chapter.
  6. Dec 12, 2008 #5
    Did you mean a 3.75 in all of your math courses?
  7. Dec 12, 2008 #6


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    As Vid mentioned, these requirements are below what is going to be required by many grad schools.

    Getting into this society definitely won't hurt your application, but being in that society alone also is not going to get you into a good grad program. You need to have more.

    Honor societies are a start, but also try to become an officer in the society if possible. Also keep you GPA as high as you can. Next, develop good relationships with your professors so you can have letters of recommendation that stand out. Most importantly, get research experience!
  8. Dec 13, 2008 #7
    So what is the GPA most grad schools like to see. I thought it was a 3.0 in all math courses.
  9. Dec 13, 2008 #8
    4.0 and then some.
  10. Dec 13, 2008 #9
    But you can't get over a 4.0
  11. Dec 13, 2008 #10


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    4.0 + research experience + good reference letters + good GRE score
  12. Dec 13, 2008 #11


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    A 3.0 GPA in all your math courses may be the minimum requirement to get in. It does not mean that those grades will be competitive.

    Saying that you absolutely need a perfect 4.0 to get into grad school is somewhat of an exaggeration, but a 3.0 is teetering on the border of being "too low."

    tmc is correct when he says you need four things:

    1. Good GPA

    This will depend on the school you want to get into. If you want to get into an Ivy, then yes, you should have your GPA as close to a 4.0 as possible. I have seen people get in with lower GPA's. i.e. 3.3 overall. He had trouble and only got into one school that was not ranked very high. He had very little research experience as well.

    2. Research Experience

    Make sure you start working with a professor on research ASAP. It is very important to have research experience since this will most likely be what your going to get paid to do in grad school. Having no research under your belt will hurt your application much more than a lower than average GPA.

    3. As I said previously, get to know your professors so they can write good letters from you. Make sure to get letters from previous or current research advisers.

    4. DO NOT put studying for the Math GRE off to the last minute! If you study ahead of time you can dramatically increase your score on the subject exam.

    My point is this: You need a good GPA, higher than a 3.0, to be competitive. Conversely, you will also have trouble getting in to grad school with a 4.0 if you have nothing else on your application. Prepare well and work hard, and you will get into grad school. Good luck to you.
  13. Dec 13, 2008 #12
    Well, I have about a 3.2 GPA in my math classes currently
  14. Dec 13, 2008 #13
    Do I still need research experience if I just want to be a math professor?
    How soon should I start studying for the math GRE?
  15. Dec 13, 2008 #14


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    -study for the gre a few months before you take it
    -you need research experience especially if you want to be a prof. It's your research supervisors who will be writing your letters of reference to get in grad school.
    -If you want to be a prof, you'll need to work on improving your GPA. You'll have a fairly hard time getting into grad school with a 3.2
  16. Dec 13, 2008 #15


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    What does 'just want to be a maths professor' mean? You do realise that getting such a job is not a stroll in the park, right?
  17. Dec 13, 2008 #16
    Professors do research, in addition to teaching. If all you want to do is teach, perhaps you should look at becoming a teacher at a high school or community college.
  18. Dec 13, 2008 #17


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    Being a professor requires one to do research. Getting a PhD in any field requires a thesis project involving several years of independent original research work!

    So, yes, you do need research experience if you "just want to be a math professor." Research is a large part of a professors job, at some schools research is considered to be 50% of a professors workload if not more.

    If you do not want to do research then you probably should reconsider your career goals. Also, how do you know you don't want to do research if you haven't had any experience?

    As cristo said, becoming a professor is not a stroll in the park. In grad school usually any grade less than a B+ is considered deficient. Also, you will have to do ALOT of research while in grad school. If you want to do it that is great, but you are going to need to work on your GPA and figure out if you like to math research.
  19. Dec 17, 2008 #18
    Yeah, it sounds like kathryn wants to be a teacher more so than a research professor. Everyone has made some good suggestions.

    Is your goal a PhD or a masters degree? I believe masters admissions is not as competitive as PhD, since in most cases they won't be funding you. If you want a PhD, it sounds like a ~ 3.0 GPA with no research is not going to cut it for the tier 1 schools as they are generally very competitive. However, if you just want a PhD and want to teach at a "teaching" university, maybe getting a degree from a tier 2 school is the solution.

    Ask for your professors what you should do given your aspirations. Tell them you specifically want to teach more than you want to research. I think they will end up telling you that you probably want to teach high school rather than university, but give it a shot.

    Also check out A Mathematician's Survival Guide. It is a very good book on how to get into grad school, what it's like in grad school (this is all for PhD), what you are expected to know, passing your quals, or prelims, find an adviser, etc. Be aware that the author is focusing his book on students who want to become research mathematicians, i.e. not really focusing on the teaching aspects.
  20. Dec 17, 2008 #19
    I don't understand why admissions standards are so high for getting into grad school. There are NOT many people going into physics, even when you considered competitors from outside the US. Well, with the exceptions of universities like MIT and Caltech( I know there grad student body is a lot larger than there undergrad student bodies), the number of physics grad students at most universities is like 25. Most physics undergrads will not pursue a professional career in physics. So why does it have to be so hard to be accepted into a physics grad program"?
  21. Dec 17, 2008 #20
    It's a question of resources. If a school has 25 students or so, it's because they can't afford to support more, not that only 25 people applied.

    Aside from that, if we are talking about Ph.D. students who take 6 years on average to graduate, that would be about 4 admissions per year. A school that size doesn't need to receive that many applications to look very competitive!

    Even at the current numbers, a fairly good case can be made that we are overproducing physicists.
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