What math related graduate programs should I apply to?

  • Thread starter gungywamp
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  • #1
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I am currently in the process of finding schools and programs that I would like to apply to for graduate studies, and I thought I'd ask around here for some advice.

Quick explanation of what I'm interested in: I am currently an undergrad applied math major with a minor in physics at a large state university known for its strength in engineering. I love studying math and its applications, specifically physical applications hence the minor. I recently began work on a senior project in MHD, and am doing some lightweight volunteer research for a physics professor at my school. I've been taking as many math and science courses at my school as I can manage, usually between 4 and 5 per semester, because I just love the work I do and the subjects I learn about.

Here's a list of some programs that my searching turned up, that I am interested in:

Columbia - Ph.D. Applied Mathematics
Columbia - Ph.D. Atmospheric and Planetary Science
Cornell - Ph.D. Applied Mathematics
Cornell - Ph.D. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
Brown - Ph.D. Applied Mathematics
NYU - Ph.D. Mathematics
NYU - Ph.D. Atmosphere Ocean Science
UMD - Ph.D. Applied Mathematics

I am aware that these programs are competitive, and that my chances of being accepted aren't fantastic, so I'm trying to fit some other programs on this list that would be nice safety schools, or even just something I haven't thought of yet.

I have actually only recently started looking into degree programs for atmospheric science, but my interest comes from the compelling course offerings and immediate applications for research.

So, if you actually read this far (Thanks!) what schools or types of programs would you recommend I look into? They don't necessarily have to be for degrees in mathematics, but they have to be math-intensive, and have the potential for applications to physical sciences.

TL;DR: What are some good graduate degree programs for someone who is interested in applied math and physics?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I'm not sure about Atmospheric Science in particular, and I too am looking for what the less competitive programs might be, but here are some places that have "interdisciplinary applied math" type programs (which most of the ones you listed are) that pair a math department and a bunch of fields of application (selected out for ones that are strong in some kind of physics or engineering)

UMich: AIM (Applied and Interdisciplinary Math)
Minnesota has a lot of industrial connections
UWashington Applied - good atmospheric too
UTexas - Computational and Engineering Sciences
Stanford - it's called something like Computational and Mathematical Engineering - I know they have a great program for CFD and some fields of earth sciences, but dunno which ones

Utah is a school where the math department does a bunch of applied stuff (probability, computational analysis in materials and fluids problems) that is a little less competitive (on order of magnitude, maybe "rank" 30-40 instead of 5-15 like the ones we've listed so far.
 
  • #3
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Also, depending on which you're leaning towards, it might not make sense to apply to both Applied Math and TAM at Cornell - if you apply through Applied Math, you can "minor" in TAM (all applied math PhDs need a graduate minor in another field), and many of the faculty overlap, you could have the same adviser and just a different emphasis in other coursework (math versus mechanical engineering - TAM was collapsed from a department into a Mechanical Engineering subfield after funding cuts etc).
 
  • #4
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Thanks for the ideas. I've been continuing my search and have come up with a few more that seem interesting, unfortunately some are still very competitive:

MIT - Applied Mathematics
Boston University - Applied Mathematics
Stony Brook - Computational Applied Mathematics
Stony Brook - Physics and Astronomy
RPI - Applied Mathematics
NJIT - Mathematical Sciences
Princeton - Applied and Computational Mathematics

I can't help but think that I'll just end up applying to most if not all of these schools because I'm terrified of not getting accepted anywhere, and I don't want to apply to a program that I don't think I will be interested in even if it means I will have a higher chance of being accepted. I have yet to take the math subject GRE, so I'm worried about that too, even though I've been studying for it for the past month and will continue to do so until I take it. The 2010/11 profiles on the Math GRE forums are terrifying. There are students applying to many less prestigious programs with fairly strong looking applications and not getting in to a lot of them.

Regarding the TAM vs Applied programs at Cornell, the reason I listed TAM separately is that I will probably have a better chance getting into that program, considering that they apparently don't require the subject GRE.
 
  • #5
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The 2010/11 profiles on the Math GRE forums are terrifying. There are students applying to many less prestigious programs with fairly strong looking applications and not getting in to a lot of them.
Pure or applied Maths, though? From what I've looked, it's namely true that the requirements for Pure Maths applicants are staggering, whereas it's somewhat easier to get into Applied Maths programs. Note that I'm only drawing this conclusion from browsing the forums you mentioned a while ago.
 
  • #6
Pyrrhus
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A good question is: What is your interest?. Sure you want to do a PhD in Applied Math, but doing what? researching what? exactly?
 
  • #7
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At this point in my undergraduate experience, I have found my courses in ODE/PDE, physics, and computing to be the most satisfying, and so I am looking for programs that either have strong offerings in things like numerical PDE, perturbation methods, and mathematical physics, or programs that are geared towards physical applications of mathematics such as the atmospheric science programs I mentioned.

I know that's not a definitive answer to what it is exactly that I want to research, but I am certain that as long as what I end up doing fits well with the criteria I mentioned above then I will be happy.
 

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