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Graduate School Resources

Are you considering a mathematics graduate program? Explore these frequently asked questions and useful resources.



MobiusWhat is graduate school?

Graduate school is an advanced program of study, where you can earn a specialized degree in a variety of mathematical sciences disciplines, including theoretical and applied mathematics, statistics, data science, and computer science.

These disciplines are sometimes in the same academic department, sometimes in separate departments. With a graduate degree, you will develop deeper expertise which will qualify you for a variety of careers, including jobs in business, government, research, non-profit institutions, and teaching.

We have lots of information and tools to help you choose a program that's a great fit for you.

What kinds of jobs does a graduate degree lead to?

A graduate degree in mathematics can lead you to a variety of interesting careers, including jobs in business, non-profit institutions, government, research, and teaching.

Some students apply to graduate school because they like math and want to learn more, or even because they aren't ready to look for a job or don't know what else they want to do.

Regardless of why you apply, we have lots of information and tools to help you choose a program that's a great fit for you:

AMS Employment Services | What do Mathematicians Do? | BIG Career Preparation Initiative

Which area of math is right for you?

Good news: You don't need to choose your focus before you choose a path.

Master's vs. PhD

Some master's degrees prepare you to enter a PhD program, while others are professional degrees, which prepare you to enter a specific career outside of research, such as teaching. Some are a combination of both.

A master's degree usually requires 2 years of full-time coursework, and sometimes a research-based thesis or other capstone project. With a professional master's you can still continue on to more advanced study.

Doctoral degrees usually prepare you for mathematics research in academic, government, or business institutions. They can also give you the background needed to work with complex mathematical applications in any of these settings. A PhD typically requires 2-3 years of coursework, exams, and independent research to create new knowledge, guided by your advisor. This research, written as your PhD thesis, is called your dissertation. Your PhD degree may take anywhere from 5-7 years to complete.

Paying for graduate school

Financial aid is available for graduate school. Most graduate students finance their education through a combination of funding sources. As a PhD student in the mathematical sciences, you will typically work as a teaching or research assistant, which pays a stipend and covers all or most of your tuition.

Assistantships are usually campus-affiliated work assignments (e.g. graduate teaching instructor, research associate) that provide you a stipend and often waive tuition and/or matriculation fees. Assistantships are a great way to learn more about working as a mathematician and to network with other students and faculty.

Fellowships are typically granted to individuals to cover their living expenses and tuition while they carry out research or work on a project. Awards are usually based on an individual's merit as measured by grades, GRE scores, publications, and letters of recommendation.

Grants are most often awarded to cover expenses associated with carrying out research or other specific projects, such as travel, materials, or computers.

You can explore funding opportunities at these resource sites:


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