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How do I Choose the Best Math Graduate School?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are a number of considerations involved in choosing the best math graduate school. Not all students applying for school are the same and these considerations are given greater or lesser weight, depending on individual circumstances. A few things the average student might ponder when deciding on schools include type of degree to pursue, focus of the program, likelihood of being admitted, type of learning environment, workability of the school’s schedule, distance, etc., with present life circumstances, and cost and funding options.

Students finishing a bachelor’s degree program and interested in pursuing work at a math graduate school have to decide what degree they want to attain. Some plan to begin with a master’s degree, which can make graduates eligible for teaching jobs at community colleges, or when combined with a teaching credential, can work in high schools. There are other career options for this degree, but undoubtedly, people wanting the most possible work avenues will pursue a PhD. Many PhD programs award a master’s degree after two to three years of study, and some doctoral programs expect only students with a master’s degree to apply. Research of individual programs helps applicants decide which degrees and programs are the most logical choices.

Program focus is another important consideration when evaluating a math graduate school. Some schools have very broad focuses, allowing students to pursue research in any area of interest. A few programs are more rigidly constructed, and if narrowly defined and outside of the student’s interest, the student should consider applying elsewhere.

Not all students apply to graduate schools with the same skill set or strengths, and universities set admission qualifications higher or lower, often depending on university prestige. The student with decent grades can get into programs but must find those most likely to accept him or her as a student. These may be smaller schools or state schools that can offer very good education but won’t have the same reputation as Ivy League institutions. Conversely, people with strong records may be able to apply to several Ivy League math graduate school programs and gain acceptance to most of them. It’s all a matter of assessing strengths against school requirements.

There are more study options than ever with math graduate school. Students can evaluate part-time programs, online programs, or distance learning of other types. These options, when a school is accredited, mean many more people can attend graduate school from distant locations or while having busy lifestyles. Students truly interested in getting a master’s or doctorate can likely find a program that fits.

Few are able to attend math graduate school without considering price. Doctoral candidates may have the advantage, especially in mid-priced schools, since many of them must accept teaching appointments and are paid a stipend for their work. Students still have to consider cost and methods of payment and might want to search for schools with strong private scholarship programs if money is very tight.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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