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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- The Department of Mathematics and Statisticts at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a program in applied mathematics. Of note: they provide support for Masters Students.
- Here's the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the Johns Hopkins University. Of note: they have an applied math program with a concentration on discrete math like graph theory.
- Smith College has created a math center that sounds nice. They post-baccalaureate program provides "a fellowship which includes full tuition and a stipend of $12,500 for the academic year."
This program is intended to strengthen a student who wants to go on to graduate school but feels that they need a stronger math background.
educkworth "at" loyola.edu
Last modified: Mon Apr 16 17:36:53 EDT 2007