PhD - Only two choices..

astromath
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:15 pm

PhD - Only two choices..

Postby astromath » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:20 pm

Hi all,

So, I am an american mathematics guy and I am applying to PhD programs near NYC.

I have a B.A. in Math from a medium public school, pretty good overall reputation but nothing crazy.. GPA 3.1 with 4 C's. Two of those C's I made up over the summer and got an A in both. I did some independent study but nothing big.

I have an M.A.T. in Math & Math Education from same school as undergrad. GPA 3.65. Did plenty of independent study in educational psychology linked to mathematical teaching methods. Also took three grad math classes. Two A and one B. The main advantage here would be my enjoyment for teaching. Schools need their PhDs to teach, so having a student that has a strong teaching background is definitely a plus. NYU Astro chair said a strong interest in teaching is very advantageous.

I have an M.A. in Math from large public school, pretty good math department, ranked ~50. GPA 3.7. Concentration in Probability & Stochastic Processes, and Pure Math. Concentration GPA 3.95. I also have a thesis that I did during this masters titled "Economic Forecasting Using Stochastic and Poisson Processes."

I still need to take the GRE but last time I took it I got 800Q/600V. I am assuming this time I will still get perfect math, verbal should hopefully increase.

My letters of recommendations are from my thesis advisor & probability professor (I ranked #1 of 70 in her grad probability class), my cryptography professor (I ranked #2 of 15), and abstract algebra professor (I ranked about #2 of 15). They are all really great professors, really nice, and I enjoyed having them. I think they will reflect nicely and accurately on my passion for math and teaching it.

I do not have the time to take the math or physics subject test, and none of my schools require it. Its just not happening, I am too busy as a professor at a SUNY college. I really don't have a very strong physics background (classical mechanics undergrad, math physics grad, comp physics grad). But, I have done research in math and have three degrees with good letters.

I am curious ... can I make NYU Physics (research in astrophysics) or Columbia Astronomy? Neither program has qualifying exams, so I wouldn't be too pressed to make up for my physics background.

Thanks.

prince
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: PhD - Only two choices..

Postby prince » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:22 pm

I find it hard to believe that NYU physics doesn't require physics GRE. Even if they don't require it I think the chances of getting in without the physics GRE are pretty nigh impossible. Just think about it: there probably will be students with comparative ability who have taken the physics GRE.

Also you may like to check out my post where I detailed my experience about switching from math to physics.

Minovsky
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:05 pm

Re: PhD - Only two choices..

Postby Minovsky » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:15 pm

astromath wrote:…I am too busy as a professor at a SUNY college.

It seems ironic to me that you're trying to go to grad school even though you're already a professor…

astromath wrote:I really don't have a very strong physics background (classical mechanics undergrad, math physics grad, comp physics grad). But, I have done research in math and have three degrees with good letters.

I am curious ... can I make NYU Physics (research in astrophysics) or Columbia Astronomy? Neither program has qualifying exams, so I wouldn't be too pressed to make up for my physics background.

Even if the program doesn't have qualifying exams, you'll still have to take the full spectrum of graduate level physics courses, which are difficult even for students with a strong physics background. Also, just because they don't have qualifying exams, it doesn't mean that they don't require the PGRE for admissions. In fact, both Columbia Astronomy and NYU Physics require the PGRE for admissions into their departments.

Since you already have a M.A. in Math, think of your situation this way: do you think you would have been qualified to complete your M.A. program if you had ZERO background in math?

You might have better luck trying to get into math or applied math departments. Some departments are flexible enough to allow you to have your advisor from a different department (e.g. physics). I know that the mathematics department at NYU has pretty strong ties to the physics department. You might also be able to use your M.A. degree as leverage to get an exemption from the MGRE test.




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