Is grad school (math, applied math, or statistics) right for me?

Generally, there are several things to consider.  Do you enjoy math and are getting excellent grades (mostly grades of A) in rigorous upper-level math courses, such as MATH410, STAT410, and perhaps a couple of graduate courses?  Is your overall GPA reasonable (at least a 3.0)?  Do you enjoy getting involved in research? Graduate programs (particularly Ph.D. programs) are looking for students who can succeed in graduate-level courses and research, so do seek out these opportunities if you enjoy them.

For information regarding which of our courses you might consider if you are interested in grad school, please see:

For information regarding research opportunities with the department, please see:

What is the timeline for application?

Typically, students start the application process in the fall semester of their senior year in college, after having studied for the subject GRE during the summer.  To get into top 10 grad schools, you will want a score over 800, maybe even higher, on the Math subject test. To get into top 40 grad schools, above 600.  However, don't be disheartened if you end up in, say, the 25th percentile. This is not like the SATs. It's the 25th percentile of a select group who are applying to good grad schools in mathematics.

For more information on GRE, including test dates and locations, please see:

Students will also need to be able to secure favorable recommendation letters from faculty members. 

Finally, note that not all graduate programs require the GRE.  For example, master's programs may not.  In fact, each graduate program will have its own specific requirements (GRE scores, application deadlines, etc).  For the most accurate information, students should consult the grad programs they are interested in applying.

Should I apply to a Master's program or Ph.D. program?

Students interested in pursuing a career in research typically apply to Ph.D. programs.  If admitted, they are usually supported financially by the program, receiving stipends in exchange of teaching loads.  Admission to Ph.D. programs are extremely competitive.  Ph.D. programs usually last 5 or more years. 

Students interested in industry typically apply to Master's programs.  However, many grad schools do not offer terminal master's programs.  Also, Master's programs typically do not provide financial support.  Master's programs usually last 2 years. 

I goofed during my first two years in college and as a result, my GPA is not close to 3.0.  Is grad school out of the question for me?

If you have since "turned a new leaf" academically, you could consider applying to non-degree-seeking graduate programs to see if you can re-establish yourself academically.  Here at UMD, non-degree-seeking graduate students are called Special Advanced Students.  Alternatively, you could apply for admission to a master's program to build up credentials for a Ph.D program. 

Which grad schools should I apply to?

This can depend on a number of factors, including your grades, your research experience, your GRE score, and your area of interest.  You could consult with a faculty member whose expertise matches with your area of interest.  For a list of faculty members and their areas of expertise, please see:

I'm Interested in graduate school but not in math, what should I do?

We encourage you to contact faculty members of the relevant departments.