Does anyone know of some reliable rankings for the math departments of US universities?
That seems to be for graduate schools, is there much of a difference?
Personally, I believe you can go to just about anywhere for undergrad and still get into a great grad school. I go to a small liberal arts college (free tuition since my mom works there. We're NOWHERE in the rankings, we don't even offer a PhD. But we've had Math BS grads go to Cornell, U of Chicago, Princeton, U of Wisc, U of Minn, and someone just got into Caltech for 2009 (note: these are all top 25 math departments.)
Most Excellent Math grad programs have a decent portion of their students coming from relatively unknown undergrad schools.
I'm sure this is the case, but there are other factors beyond whether a grad school will toss out your application upon seeing the name of your undergrad institution.
For instance, I just have to finish this semester and then the fall semester at my undergrad school and then I'm done. The fall semester would be a great time to both fill in some gaps and take some graduate level classes. But it turns out I have few options. I have had no complex analysis, and that won't be offered. I have had an intro Topology class; my school does not regularly offer any more advanced Topology, at the undergrad or grad level. The primary graduate level algebra class is actually the same as the undergrad algebra class; the higher level algebra class isn't offered regularly. At some schools undergraduate students are taking differential geometry and commutative algebra and algebraic topology and so forth. My school simply doesn't offer those classes, at any level.
So I'll be taking the graduate Real Analysis and... uh... ???
I believe your undergrad school really does matter.
To OP, It is important that you consider graduate rankings, because they will tell you, roughly, the strength of each department. But remember, they are usually peer-reviewed rankings that are largely (sometimes all of it) based on faculty reputation and research.
There are schools where they have good faculty but have average programs. There are schools where they have excellent programs but have average faculty. Many people choose former but it is important that when you have to pick between these two you pick the latter.
See what calculus classes they offer. Will you have to take classes with engineering students? Do they offer graduate courses to undergraduates? What classes do they require for majors? What kind of places do graduating students go to? Do many of them go to graduate schools?
These are kind of questions you should be asking. Graduate rankings do help, but they ignore those without graduate programs. Usually presence of graduate program means more research, but research you can do as undergraduate is limited.
Also don't be disappointed if you cannot get in to one of the best programs. I know people who went to average state universities and they did well. If you are looking to go to graduate schools, at the end only your drive and knowledge will matter.
Sorry for bumping this old thread, but does anyone have a specific list of undergraduate math (preferably applied math) rankings?
Some good discussion here:
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