Grad School


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Grad School

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1nathank Primeira Mensagem
Dez 20, 2006, 4:29 pm

I jst sent in the last of my grad school applications. Is anyone here a math grad student? Anyone have any advice?

2rljacobson Primeira Mensagem
Dez 24, 2006, 1:35 am

I'm a second year PhD student. My advice is, work hard and persevere through the first year. Grad school is hard, but you will love the math.

Dez 24, 2006, 1:40 am

Woa, I see you are at Princeton. I met an undergrad from Princeton who did an REU at Texas A&M last summer. Could have sworn his name was Nathan. He was a sophomore, if I remember correctly.

Jan 12, 2007, 11:34 pm

I'd love some advice from folks who've pursued a Ph.D in math. My situation: I dropped out of a Ph.D. program in economics ten years ago. This year I started working on a second bachelor's in math, in preparation for returning to grad school. I know that I would be successful and relatively happy in economics, but I've started to wonder whether a math program might be a better option for me. I have a wide range of interests, and I wonder whether becoming a "mathematician" instead of an "economist" would give me the freedom to work on problems in biology, physics, etc. in addition to economics. I need a better idea of what someone with a Ph.D. in math might be able to do in terms of research work.

Abr 21, 2007, 8:31 am

For 4: If you really want to be open to a multi-disciplinary career, perhaps you'd be better off with a Ph.D. in something mathematical, but not necessarily pure math: something like Management Science, Industrial Engineering, Computer Science, or Operations Research. All of these can have a high degree of mathematical content, but have a highly applied approach.
Look around INFORMS (at or for advice on education.

Abr 23, 2007, 11:26 pm

Hey All,

I'm just finishing up a PhD program in Applied Math at the University of Maryland.

For 4 and 5: There are also a lot of programs specifically in Applied Mathematics rather than pure Mathematics. Depending on the school that can mean anything from solving PDE's to doing some very interdisciplinary work in any of the areas that you list above, as well as others. If you're looking for that, I would recommend looking for a program that encourages collaborations between multiple departments in research projects.

In terms of advice for grad school, I'd say work on getting your requirements done as soon as possible so that you can really focus on research and get out in a reasonable amount of time. Also, try to have a clear idea of the area of research you're interested in before you pick an advisor. It's really important to know yourself.

Abr 24, 2007, 8:52 pm

Thanks for the responses. On a related note, if anyone can recommend schools with dual Ph.D. programs in Math and Economics, that's an option I'm considering. So far, the only school I've identified as a possibility is Washington University (WUSTL).

Abr 24, 2007, 9:27 pm

szarka, I don't know any interdisciplinary programs in math / economics but there are a number of graduate programs in econometrics, which would include a substantial amount of mathematical material.

Coincidentally, I was a Ph.D. student in math at Washington Univ. for a couple years before I decided I wanted to do something more applied. (I'm currently finishing up my Ph.D. in biostatistics elsewhere.) The folks in the math department there are very nice. You should be aware, it's a very analysis-centric (and secondarily geometry-centric) department.

Editado: Abr 30, 2007, 3:40 pm

The dual program at WUSTL I was looking at is actually with the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering rather than the Mathematics department. ("Doctor of Science in Systems Science and Mathematics" -- I'm guessing that there's not much overlap between the two departments?

Abr 30, 2007, 3:57 pm

No, it doesn't look like there is much overlap at all, except that you'd take Math 411. I'd say it's quite nervy of them to call it a half-mathematics program and only have one course in the math department! I'm probably just being overly parochial, though. :)

I don't know anything about that program or the ESE department. (The coursework sounds interesting, though.) Wash U is generally a very pleasant place to be, and St. Louis is pretty cool except for the weather in the summer. Blech.

Maio 1, 2007, 1:11 am

I love LibraryThing for its rational and serious conversations. This thread interested me because I have a daughter who is gifted in math (just turned 14) and has made it clear that she plans to get her PhD (she has had contact with one school already). Also, I live in St. Louis (WashU in on her list of prospective schools). Your messages have been helpful. I was unaware of the applied math v. pure math options. And the website references were useful.
Indeed, summer here can be tough (90 degrees, 90 pct humidity), but we have four distinct seasons and a nice wine country.

Maio 1, 2007, 8:36 am

#11: That's great! It's probably too early to be thinking much about grad school, but if your daughter has any questions about undergrad programs or math education in general (or, for that matter, about math in general), you or she should feel free to post them here.

Maio 1, 2007, 11:53 pm

#7 While UMD's program (AMSC) isn't technically a joint program, you're expected to take half your classes in Math and half in your applied area (e.g., Economics). Your research can be with profs from both math and your applied area. I think other schools have this philosphy as well, including University of Arizona, Cornell, etc.

For #11, have your daughter check out a summer program called the summer science program ( It's an amazing astronomy summer program for gifted science students, where the kids learn about physics, astronomy, math, and computer science way beyond mosth high school programs. It's also a great opportunity for kids who are interested in science to meet one another.

Maio 6, 2007, 10:44 am

Thanks, ejfertig. UMD looks like an interesting option, and they have a highly-ranked economics department, too.

15elizabethleewilmer Primeira Mensagem
Maio 10, 2007, 10:34 am

#11, you should also have your daughter check out the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, at (I'm an alum and know the organizers, and I suspect it's not too late to apply even for this summer... of course, she's got a couple more high school summers to go!)

Dez 5, 2016, 12:36 am

Nearly 10 years ago, I posted on this thread about my daughter (then 14) considering a math future. It was fun to go back and read the messages. My daughter ended up getting her bachelor's in the philosophy and history of science at the University of Pittsburgh (which has a wonderful philosophy program). Now, she's getting her master's in May in library information systems at Dominican University in Chicago. It's been a fun ride. (Her sister is also getting her master's in May.)