Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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1773520685
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:47 pm

Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Post by 1773520685 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:25 am

Of course, Grad school is mostly about individual efforts, but I have heard mostly negative comments regarding Courant's master in math. I'd like to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the future, and I'm dreaming of the top ones as well, so I'd love to hear some opinions regarding this master's program. Does it have a really bad reputation in the field and will bring me disadvantages when I apply for Ph.D. programs? Do professors from Courant provide enough resources to the master students, or do they only teach perfunctorily?

Also I can really use some advice on what I need to improve to be a competitive applicant in the future: I am about to graduate from a top 5 school in the UK (not Oxbridge), with a first-class degree (or GPA 3.93/4.0), GRE 324, GRE Math 90% (880? I can't recall), 2 1-month researches that were required for all students, 1 non-required summer research with a professor, gave some not so important talks on my projects and was invited to mark 1st-year student's research because I received a high score back then myself, and the recommendation letter writers have had working experiences as professors in top schools like Harvard. I got only one unfunded master offer out of about 20 schools that I applied to, and I'm thinking it's mostly because of the lack of research experiences and grad-school-level courses. UK undergrad is so short and not flexible that I had no time to do tons of researches or to officially enroll in grad-school-level courses. However, I don't know if my analysis is correct, so any opinion is appreciated! Thanks!

bxbdhdj
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:00 pm

Re: Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Post by bxbdhdj » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:30 pm

I have taken several grad courses there. I don’t know much about the reputation of the master program but in terms of curriculum it really depends on yourself. There’s no clear borderline between PhD and masters. There were both masters and PhDs in the grad courses I’ve taken. There are indeed some simpler courses specifically designed for masters who came in with weaker mathematical background. But I guess you can waive it or replace it with other advanced courses if that’s a requirement. In this case you should consult the director of the program. In terms of profs it also depends. Usually a professor will not know your status in class unless you tell them during some personal talk or so. IMO most profs don’t bias against master students. Whether to teach dedicatedly is more about profs themselves. I’ve met both profs who are passionate about teaching and those who just don’t seem to care about the students (All students). Teaching assignment for classes varies every year so it’s more about your luck..

However, I would say if you are interested in algebra/geometry/topology there is really few opportunities in Courant. There are not many courses and fewer profs on those areas (geometry might be ok but meh). Some profs I contacted clearly said they don’t have undergrad/master level projects. But I also have master friends doing researches. So maybe you need to reach out to more people. But for analysis/applied math like PDE and fluids it’s definitely a good place to study. In all it’s not a perfect program to prepare you for PhD applications. But after all it’s Courant. You can definitely gain something if you try hard (and is lucky enough).

1773520685
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:47 pm

Re: Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Post by 1773520685 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:44 am

bxbdhdj wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:30 pm
I have taken several grad courses there. I don’t know much about the reputation of the master program but in terms of curriculum it really depends on yourself. There’s no clear borderline between PhD and masters. There were both masters and PhDs in the grad courses I’ve taken. There are indeed some simpler courses specifically designed for masters who came in with weaker mathematical background. But I guess you can waive it or replace it with other advanced courses if that’s a requirement. In this case you should consult the director of the program. In terms of profs it also depends. Usually a professor will not know your status in class unless you tell them during some personal talk or so. IMO most profs don’t bias against master students. Whether to teach dedicatedly is more about profs themselves. I’ve met both profs who are passionate about teaching and those who just don’t seem to care about the students (All students). Teaching assignment for classes varies every year so it’s more about your luck..

However, I would say if you are interested in algebra/geometry/topology there is really few opportunities in Courant. There are not many courses and fewer profs on those areas (geometry might be ok but meh). Some profs I contacted clearly said they don’t have undergrad/master level projects. But I also have master friends doing researches. So maybe you need to reach out to more people. But for analysis/applied math like PDE and fluids it’s definitely a good place to study. In all it’s not a perfect program to prepare you for PhD applications. But after all it’s Courant. You can definitely gain something if you try hard (and is lucky enough).
These are some very inspiring opinions! Thanks a lot! I agree that the upper bound of a student is not up to the institute, but to himself/herself. As long as Courant is providing advanced courses to master students I can always push myself. I am, though, more interested in algebra and geometry, comparing to analysis and applied math, and according to their website, they have like only 4 professors in algebra. However, to be frank, I am not holding many offers that I can choose from, and I figure I will give it shot at Courant.

bxbdhdj
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:00 pm

Re: Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Post by bxbdhdj » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:56 am

1773520685 wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:44 am
bxbdhdj wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:30 pm
I have taken several grad courses there. I don’t know much about the reputation of the master program but in terms of curriculum it really depends on yourself. There’s no clear borderline between PhD and masters. There were both masters and PhDs in the grad courses I’ve taken. There are indeed some simpler courses specifically designed for masters who came in with weaker mathematical background. But I guess you can waive it or replace it with other advanced courses if that’s a requirement. In this case you should consult the director of the program. In terms of profs it also depends. Usually a professor will not know your status in class unless you tell them during some personal talk or so. IMO most profs don’t bias against master students. Whether to teach dedicatedly is more about profs themselves. I’ve met both profs who are passionate about teaching and those who just don’t seem to care about the students (All students). Teaching assignment for classes varies every year so it’s more about your luck..

However, I would say if you are interested in algebra/geometry/topology there is really few opportunities in Courant. There are not many courses and fewer profs on those areas (geometry might be ok but meh). Some profs I contacted clearly said they don’t have undergrad/master level projects. But I also have master friends doing researches. So maybe you need to reach out to more people. But for analysis/applied math like PDE and fluids it’s definitely a good place to study. In all it’s not a perfect program to prepare you for PhD applications. But after all it’s Courant. You can definitely gain something if you try hard (and is lucky enough).
These are some very inspiring opinions! Thanks a lot! I agree that the upper bound of a student is not up to the institute, but to himself/herself. As long as Courant is providing advanced courses to master students I can always push myself. I am, though, more interested in algebra and geometry, comparing to analysis and applied math, and according to their website, they have like only 4 professors in algebra. However, to be frank, I am not holding many offers that I can choose from, and I figure I will give it shot at Courant.
Cool. I think I know the four profs in algebra. The “top” two (you know) are not so easy to work with. One of them is a senior guy who don’t research much I guess. The other one is crazily busy and is actually one of those I mentioned as don’t seem to care about students (probably bcuz he’a so busy). Also I think one of the rest two profs may be on leave next year. You should check their personal websites. But all of them are nice people and deserve a shot. Good luck bro.

1773520685
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:47 pm

Re: Is Courant's Math Master Really That Bad?

Post by 1773520685 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:21 pm

bxbdhdj wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:56 am
1773520685 wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:44 am
bxbdhdj wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:30 pm
I have taken several grad courses there. I don’t know much about the reputation of the master program but in terms of curriculum it really depends on yourself. There’s no clear borderline between PhD and masters. There were both masters and PhDs in the grad courses I’ve taken. There are indeed some simpler courses specifically designed for masters who came in with weaker mathematical background. But I guess you can waive it or replace it with other advanced courses if that’s a requirement. In this case you should consult the director of the program. In terms of profs it also depends. Usually a professor will not know your status in class unless you tell them during some personal talk or so. IMO most profs don’t bias against master students. Whether to teach dedicatedly is more about profs themselves. I’ve met both profs who are passionate about teaching and those who just don’t seem to care about the students (All students). Teaching assignment for classes varies every year so it’s more about your luck..

However, I would say if you are interested in algebra/geometry/topology there is really few opportunities in Courant. There are not many courses and fewer profs on those areas (geometry might be ok but meh). Some profs I contacted clearly said they don’t have undergrad/master level projects. But I also have master friends doing researches. So maybe you need to reach out to more people. But for analysis/applied math like PDE and fluids it’s definitely a good place to study. In all it’s not a perfect program to prepare you for PhD applications. But after all it’s Courant. You can definitely gain something if you try hard (and is lucky enough).
These are some very inspiring opinions! Thanks a lot! I agree that the upper bound of a student is not up to the institute, but to himself/herself. As long as Courant is providing advanced courses to master students I can always push myself. I am, though, more interested in algebra and geometry, comparing to analysis and applied math, and according to their website, they have like only 4 professors in algebra. However, to be frank, I am not holding many offers that I can choose from, and I figure I will give it shot at Courant.
Cool. I think I know the four profs in algebra. The “top” two (you know) are not so easy to work with. One of them is a senior guy who don’t research much I guess. The other one is crazily busy and is actually one of those I mentioned as don’t seem to care about students (probably bcuz he’a so busy). Also I think one of the rest two profs may be on leave next year. You should check their personal websites. But all of them are nice people and deserve a shot. Good luck bro.
Thank you! I am checking their web pages and will go from there. Good luck with you too!



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