Hi,
I completed my M.A. in Econ. last semester at a state school and had originally planned to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics but have decided to investigate the possibility of going in a different direction; while taking math courses in preparation for Econ. applications, I discovered that I perhaps have a stronger aptitude and interest in math than I do in Econ. I am considering submitting applications for applied math phds for 2013.
Undergrad: State school, ~ top 75 overall, probably stronger in math. Major: Econ. GPA ~3.07
Grad: State school, ~ top 100. Econ. M.A. ~3.86 gpa.
My grades are not spectacular, but I have taken the following math courses:
Calc ICalc III
Linear Algebra
Proofs
ODE
Numerical Analysis I (master's level)
Probability (master's level)
PDE (master's level)
Undergrad Analysis I
Undergrad Analysis II (pending)
Linear Algebra (master's level) (pending).
I received 'A' grades in all of these courses with the exception of the pde course (taking this with no analysis background was a terrible idea); this puts my math gpa at roughly 3.93.
My GRE general scores: 800Q/790V/5.0W.
I have not taken the math subject GRE yet. I am preparing now (I have some holes in coursework, particularly algebra, but I believe I can self study effectively). I understand this probably makes it difficult to evaluate my profile, but I wanted to solicit some opinions on how realistic I would be to apply for phd programs in applied math for 2013 pending a strong showing on the GRE? It is unlikely that I will be able to complete significant additional coursework prior to submitting an application beyond the two courses I am currently enrolled in; if it was absolutely necessary for me to take a particular course in the fall, I could probably do that (summer offerings are extremely limited).
Furthermore, I have some substantial research experience, but in Econ., not in Math; I doubt this is useful?
I appreciate any kind of input.
Thanks.
Soliciting a profile eval. for 2013 (nontraditional)

 Posts: 65
 Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:34 pm
Re: Soliciting a profile eval. for 2013 (nontraditional)
The coursework you've done seems comparable to an applied math undergraduate degree (and maybe a tic stronger). The lack of algebra and topology might hurt a bit when it comes to taking the math GRE. If you were going for pure math, both subjects would be absolutely necessary for top programs, but I think applied math programs tend to be lenient on that front.
One thing to keep in mind is that "applied math" means very different things depending on the place. Oversimplifying, some places focus more on "applications of math" while others more so on "applicable maths". For the former, your econ research might be useful, depending on how quantitative it was.
My uninformed opinion is that if you do well on the math GRE, you'll definitely have a shot at applied math PhD programs. However, as a current applicant, I probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so seek out your math professors for a more accurate evaluation.
One thing to keep in mind is that "applied math" means very different things depending on the place. Oversimplifying, some places focus more on "applications of math" while others more so on "applicable maths". For the former, your econ research might be useful, depending on how quantitative it was.
My uninformed opinion is that if you do well on the math GRE, you'll definitely have a shot at applied math PhD programs. However, as a current applicant, I probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so seek out your math professors for a more accurate evaluation.
Re: Soliciting a profile eval. for 2013 (nontraditional)
I think one of the main things you can do, aside from doing well on standardized testing, is doing some more research (you say you can't enroll in any more classes, but is it possible for you to do something else over summer?) which is of an explicitly mathematical nature. Your GPA and coursework are definitely enough to get into a PhD program.
As you might have guessed, letters of recommendation play a huge role in the PhD process, and if you have not completed a major in mathematics, I'd say getting a good letter speaking to your mathematical aptitude can only greatly boost your chances. Doing something with a professor that involves mathematics in a significant way can probably help a lot with this. As one of the other threads states, getting a publication is not quite necessary, or even the most impressive route to go; far more useful is a useful description by a credible writer of your work and perhaps also what it's like working with you.
Other than this somewhat generic advice, I can only say it's best to apply to lots of schools you could be happy at.
As you might have guessed, letters of recommendation play a huge role in the PhD process, and if you have not completed a major in mathematics, I'd say getting a good letter speaking to your mathematical aptitude can only greatly boost your chances. Doing something with a professor that involves mathematics in a significant way can probably help a lot with this. As one of the other threads states, getting a publication is not quite necessary, or even the most impressive route to go; far more useful is a useful description by a credible writer of your work and perhaps also what it's like working with you.
Other than this somewhat generic advice, I can only say it's best to apply to lots of schools you could be happy at.