General information about math graduate schools

So, you want to keep being a student? Want to learn more math? Graduate school may be the perfect thing for you! Even if you don't want to be a college professor, a graduate degree might be very enjoyable and beneficial. A masters's degree can really help someone move ahead in business, or choose a field where they get to use the technical part of their brain. A Ph.D. marks you as an "expert" and helps ensure that you can be a "problem solver", if that's what you want in your career.

So, being a student, using your brain, solving problems, but ..... can you afford it? Well, you can often go to graduate school without paying for it. That's right, you can get a free lunch. Well, not free if you count having to work! Anway, most Ph.D. programs provide financial support for their full time graduate students, usually in exchange for being a T.A. or something like that. Some Master's programs do as well, though this is less common. If you want a Master's degree, look for those programs that do provide support, and/or consider going into a Ph.D. program, but leaving without a Ph.D. Virtually all Ph.D. programs give Masters degrees to students who have completed the first part of the program.

Application Logistics

  1. Applications. To apply for graduate school you typically have to fill out an application similar to those for undergraduate schools. This will include a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. In my opinion, these are a little more cut and dry than what you and your recommenders wrote for undergraduate applications. I don't think you need to be as creative for the statement of purpose, and the letters don't need to talk as much about what a wonderful, well-rounded, outgoing, charismatic, person you are!
  2. Deadlines. The deadlines tend to be in November--January, so look at them early, get your letter writers lined up early, etc. As I recall they don't usually require a fee.
  3. Tests. Graduate schools use a standardized test a lot like the SAT's. These are called the GRE's and are created by ETS, the same people who created the SAT's. There is a general test (which I doubt matters much for mathematics graduate programs) and a subject test in math. As with the SAT's you can take the test more than once. I highly recommend that you practice taking the subject test and study for it. You can get a copy of one practice test from ETS, and you can buy the Princeton review book or one by Research and Education Association .

    Hopefully you've taken all the courses at Loyola to prepare you for these tests. However, it certainly helps to study. Also, you'll find that there are only a few types of questions that the tests tend to ask about certain subjects. For example, each test might have 2--4 questions about Linear Algebra. If you look at all the tests, you'll see that these Linear Algebra questions tend to all be one of a few basic kinds: it's not as if you need to remember everything from Linear Algebra.

Information about some graduate programs

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Last modified: Mon Apr 16 17:36:53 EDT 2007