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Non-STEM major interested in math grad school

  1. Jan 13, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    I am a recently graduated student with a bachelors in a non-quantitative degree (finance) at a reputable school with a ~3.6 GPA. I'd always been interested in mathematics but had opted for finance because I was lured by the prospects of making big bucks. Over the last year, I've rekindled my interest in mathematics, but unfortunately my college transcript only goes up to Calc II. However, I've been attempting to self-study the subject, having audited classes in Calc III, linear algebra, and ODE, as well as self-studying Real Analysis I over the last year. So far, analysis has been the most challenging, but I do find myself being able to read and understand the intuition behind most proofs in the text I am using (Baby Rudin), so I am still hopeful that I have a fighting chance at being able to learn higher level math.

    I've had the good fortune of landing a job that I'm slated to start this fall. This leaves me with one free spring semester, where I plan on taking math classes at another institution as a non-degree student. This school is seen as a "lesser" public school that's likely not well-known for its math program. Nevertheless, I am planning on taking 3-4 courses here, but looking for some guidance on what they should be.

    The ultimate goal is to improve my chances for admittance to a top 10-20 math masters program, with my interests being in pure mathematics and statistics. The kicker though is I can only take 1 semesters worth of courses before I start working and no longer have a chance to improve my academic resume, so I'm looking for classes that will be both impressive to adcoms, and aligning with my interests.

    I'm leaning towards taking Real Analysis II, Abstract Algebra I, and non-measure theoretic Probability Theory. Other courses offered that I'm looking at include complex analysis, topology, number theory, or mathematical statistics. What combination would be the most appealing to adcoms, and the hardest to self-learn? Technically, I could take the real analysis, algebra, complex analysis, and topology class all together in one semester, but my worry is that I would be overloaded and not do well in the courses. At the same time, I do want to prove I have the intelligence and potential to do well in upper-level mathematics. Anyone have any comments on what should be a challenging but doable schedule (Assuming I want A-range grades for the classes)? What are my chances for ever being admitted to a good grad program, assuming I can do well next semester?

    Another question I am pondering is: The job I will be starting is seen as quite "prestigious" on Wall Street. I know this factors strongly in MBA admissions, which I have no interest in, but I am wondering whether my future work experience might help at all in my application for a math masters down the line. FWIW, its a math/quantitatively-related role in the financial markets, so can I spin it in a way to improve my applications?

    Furthermore, any other suggestions you guys might have for me to improve my knowledge of math that I haven't considered above would be appreciated too. Thanks for all the help everyone!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  2. jcsd
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