Question about school selection and competitiveness - pure math

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Question about school selection and competitiveness - pure math

Post by willxujun » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:31 am

My background is unconventional. I graduated with B.Eng computer engineering with a math minor. I have a year of real analysis, abstract algebra and linear algebra at introductory level. My results are okay, 4.76/5 overall and so far all A's in maths, except an A- in discrete maths in freshman year. I don't know if that will change though as I am taking exams in a few days and I feel inadequately prepared... but that's irrelevant.

I will be doing a Msc in pure math at my home institution, which is well-known in Singapore. It will take a number of years (2 or 3).

I am worried if it will be very difficult for me to be admitted to a top 50 US PhD institution for math, just because I don't have a perfectly matching background for Bachelor's. I am fretting about this because admission results seem really CRUELLL in the recent years even for ppl with Math Major, good GPA, etc. I am concerned about ranking because I want an academic career, and my home institution is really particular about ranking (which might be an issue a few years down the road if I start looking for academia jobs).

I'm interested in set theory, category theory, homotopy type theory. My home institution has 1 prof in set theory but no people in category theory or type theory. The schools I'm interested in going are:
UCB/UCLA/JHU/U Illinois Chicago/CMU/Notre Dame/UC Irvine
Bonn/U Darmstadt/U Helsinki/Paris Diderot/U Warsaw(?)

As an international applicant I don't really know the "market trend" in the US, but I feel it is going to be tough as I look around.
My questions are:
1. How competitive is it to get into US top-50 for pure math? Will it be very difficult for people like me without a Bachelor's in math?
2. Any suggestions to more good European schools in my interest area?
3. Could someone share his/her knowledge on U Warsaw? Or schools in Poland in general (I heard Poland is great for mathematical logic but I don't know if that's true.)
4. Any other specific advice is appreciated


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Re: Question about school selection and competitiveness - pure math

Post by temporaryacct » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:00 am

Top 50 is definitely doable, some of the schools you mentioned are a lot more competitive than just Top 50 though. A lot if it is based on fit with the school. A lot depends on what you do in the next few years as you finish your masters. Research, grad courses, GRE, rec letters, etc. will all have an impact on your application, but it seems like those are all still in flux. I don't think you have too much to worry about in terms of course work though.

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Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:24 am

Re: Question about school selection and competitiveness - pure math

Post by misterB » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:10 am

Judging purely on the basis of the profiles on this website, if you're an international student, a good mgre score (800+) helps (well, atleast in not getting your application rejected).

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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Question about school selection and competitiveness - pure math

Post by MathParent » Fri May 15, 2020 8:04 am

You will get a good picture on how competitive you are from reading the threads "Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results" for the last three years.

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