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Qs about math grad school

  1. May 19, 2008 #1
    Hey, I'm planning on grad school in applied mathematics and was wondering a few things:

    1. For applied math, how strongly do "core" courses like analysis and abstract algebra weigh against say probability or even "elective" courses like number theory?

    2. I'm double majoring right now with a 3.1 gpa overall. If my gpa in mathematics is 3.5, would a 3.1 gpa hurt me in admissions or are schools more interested in gpa in the subject you're applying for?

    3. With a 3.5 gpa, what the odds of mid-high tier schools? Say UC Davis and up.

    4. How important is the math subject GRE vs. your gpa and letters of recommendation?

    Thanks for the time.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2008 #2
    1. For Applied Math, I would think Analysis would be important, but abstract algebra and number theory are not.

    2. Keep the Math GPA above 3.5 and you should be alright.

    3. One needs more than a good GPA to get into a top (40ish) school. Try to do some research, and get some great letters of recommendation. If your professors don't know you, then it is time to start hanging out at their office, asking them questions, going beyond the material presented in class, etc.

    4. GPA and letters of recommendation are more important than the Math subject GRE. Just make sure you score at least 50th percentile on the subject test and you should be alright.
  4. May 19, 2008 #3
    I doubt a 3.5 and 50th percentile in the math gre would get you into uc davis. Maybe, but I doubt it.

    As far as applied math goes, you'll need to take algebra since everyone has to take it. You need to ACE analysis. It's the foundation of most applied math (especially anything involving pde or probability). If you're going into applied, number theory is a waste of time. It's a nice course and all, but it would be at the very bottom of classes you should take. (maybe a topics course in logic would be lower, but otherwise...)
  5. May 19, 2008 #4
    Sorry if my above post was unclear: when I said 3.5 GPA and 50th percentile, I meant those are (in most cases) necessary, but not sufficient conditions.
  6. May 19, 2008 #5
    That's discouraging. I wish it was easier to dig up statistics on average accepted student GPA at specific schools rather than having to dig around all the sites. Would very strong letters of recommendations and a great GRE subject score help fix a poorer gpa? I really screwed up my second year with some of the earlier probability, statistics, and linear algebra courses and accumulated some C's when the courses really should have been easy A's. I've gotten much better grades since but the damage has been done.
  7. May 19, 2008 #6
    I'm not an applied math student, but I recently applied to graduate school and got rejected from all PhD admissions.

    I had a 3.8 overall GPA, a 3.9 math GPA, was working on an open problem with a well known professor, did an independent study in general relativity with another professor and got another letter of recommendation from a well known applied math professor whose courses I aced. I figure I had 2 good letters and 1 mediocre letter. Also I did not have make significant headway in the problem at the time of graduate application deadlines. I also had a 35% GRE Math score.

    Anyway, here is what happened for me:
    I was very high on the waitlist at UCSD but ultimately did not get in, same with Rutgers. I did end up getting admitted to NYU's masters of mathematics program, but ultimately I declined.

    I will retake the GRE Math (hopefully get an 80+ percentile score) and come back for another semester and do 3 research projects, 2 with world famous professors in math and physics.

    The bottom line: if you have less than stellar grades or less than stellar gre scores, get great letters. I think my letter from my honors thesis advisor SAVED ME, even though I did not get into any PhD programs (I only applied to top 25 programs). But I know first hand that I was very high on the wait list at schools like UCSD and Rutgers with a garbage GRE Math score.
  8. May 20, 2008 #7
    I got 56% on the subject test, but 1520 on the general GRE, and a terrible undergrad GPA. I got into a top-25 program, so it can be done. I'm just saying that it came as a surprise to me. A 3.5 GPA and a 50% on the subject test are, like a previous poster said, the bare minimum. But if you're applying to really competitive programs (and the top 50 are all really competitive), the bare minimum is probably not going to cut it.
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