### Applying to a PhD in Pure Math without a background in Math

Posted:

**Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:39 am**Not from the US. I have a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Master of Engineering Science.

Mid-way through my undergraduate study, I realized that I am more interested in pure math than physics and wanted to apply for a PhD in pure math after my graduation. I had done research and written a thesis related to math (related to general relativity) for my undergraduate final year project under the supervision of a math lecturer. Unfortunately, after graduation I could not find a math research project for master’s degree and had to apply for a masters in another field. I ended up working on a project related to signal processing.

My undergraduate CGPA is not great (2.92/4.0), so I worked hard in my master’s study and managed to publish a conference paper and a journal paper (one more currently under review, and one more has not been submitted yet). This allowed me to graduate earlier. Now that I have completed my master’s degree, I want to apply for a PhD in pure math. I had consulted several professors from different universities, and I was told that my background is more qualified for applied math instead. So, I applied to five universities for PhD in applied math last year. I got rejected from four of them, the remaining one is still under review. This made me feel that my achievements in my master’s study are not helping me in the admissions at all.

But deep down, I am still more interested in pure math. Given my background, is it possible for me to get admitted to a PhD in pure math? I am aware that my background is not qualified for pure math. From what I have learned, it seems that I could either:

i. Take the GRE general and math subject test (uncertain due to the pandemic) and apply to grad schools in the US or

ii. Apply to a master’s in pure math in other countries.

Did anyone have a similar experience? Or this is just a pipe dream?

Mid-way through my undergraduate study, I realized that I am more interested in pure math than physics and wanted to apply for a PhD in pure math after my graduation. I had done research and written a thesis related to math (related to general relativity) for my undergraduate final year project under the supervision of a math lecturer. Unfortunately, after graduation I could not find a math research project for master’s degree and had to apply for a masters in another field. I ended up working on a project related to signal processing.

My undergraduate CGPA is not great (2.92/4.0), so I worked hard in my master’s study and managed to publish a conference paper and a journal paper (one more currently under review, and one more has not been submitted yet). This allowed me to graduate earlier. Now that I have completed my master’s degree, I want to apply for a PhD in pure math. I had consulted several professors from different universities, and I was told that my background is more qualified for applied math instead. So, I applied to five universities for PhD in applied math last year. I got rejected from four of them, the remaining one is still under review. This made me feel that my achievements in my master’s study are not helping me in the admissions at all.

But deep down, I am still more interested in pure math. Given my background, is it possible for me to get admitted to a PhD in pure math? I am aware that my background is not qualified for pure math. From what I have learned, it seems that I could either:

i. Take the GRE general and math subject test (uncertain due to the pandemic) and apply to grad schools in the US or

ii. Apply to a master’s in pure math in other countries.

Did anyone have a similar experience? Or this is just a pipe dream?