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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do you offer application fee waivers?

  • We do not have an application fee waiver program.

Q. What do you look for when reviewing applications to your program?

Every application is reviewed by multiple faculty on the admissions committee. We use a holistic review process, which means we consider multiple factors when reviewing applications, including:

  • Academic preparation (coursework, grades, level of classes taken, etc)
  • Scholarly potential (previous research experience, independent studies, co-authored papers, honors projects, comments from letter of recommendation writers, etc)
  • Mathematical interests that align with our program (most applicants do not have a predefined research interest, but if students want to work in a research area that is not represented in our department, then this would not be a good fit for our program)
  • Commitment to inclusive excellence (prior engagement with activities related to inclusive excellence, interest in supporting inclusive excellence in our program, ideas for future engagement with inclusive excellence, etc)
  • Initiative, sense of purpose, and teamwork (interest in leadership and/or collaboration, clearly stated purpose for pursuing graduate study, evidence of prior leadership/collaborative experiences both in math and outside of math, etc)

Q. What courses should I take to get ready for graduate school?

  • Calculus and Matrix Algebra.
  • A variety of proof-based math courses, for example selected from among Advanced Calculus, Complex Analysis, Abstract Algebra, Topology, Number Theory, Numerical Analysis, Mathematical Modeling, Discrete Mathematics, Probability, etc.
  • A computer programming course using a contemporary programming language (Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, etc)
  • Additionally, most (but not all) of our admitted students have completed an independent reading or undergraduate research course/project.

Q. Do I have to have an undergraduate major in mathematics?

  • No, as long as you have taken the key courses described above and have good grades. Many mathematicians have undergraduate degrees in areas of science/engineering or in mathematics education.

Q. Can I apply to the PhD program directly from my undergraduate studies, or do I have to get a Master's degree first?

  • You can apply to our program directly from your undergraduate studies, you do not need to have a Master's degree to apply to our PhD program.

Q. I graduated several years ago and have been working since then, will that count against me?

  • No. Many of our students start directly following their undergraduate studies, other students start after obtaining a Master's degree, and many of our students start after having worked for a while in business, government, or education. We consider this diversity of student experiences a strength of our program!

Q. Do I need to arrange a research advisor prior to applying to your program?

  • No. Students do not secure a research advisor until after they start our program (typically in their second year in our program).

Q. I am an international student. What are the language exam score requirements for admission?

Q. Do you require the GRE for applications? Should I submit my GRE scores if I have them?

  • GRE scores (general and subject) are not required for application to our program. You are welcome to submit your GRE scores if you want to do so, but our review of applications is based primarily on the five factors listed above.

Q. How do I apply to your graduate program?

Q. When should I apply?

  • Ideally, you'd like to make requests of others (for letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc) before December 15 and have completed your application forms by January 1 to give your letter writers time to submit their letters prior to our deadline. For details regarding application deadlines, see our application instructions page.

Q. How do I pay for graduate school?

  • Almost every mathematics graduate student is supported by either a Teaching Assistantship (TA), Fellowship, or Research Assistantship (RA). Of these supported students, the overwhelming majority are on a TA. RA and Fellowship recipients are ordinarily advanced students; the money usually comes from research grants awarded to their dissertation advisor or external fellowship programs. RA and fellowship awards are competitive; not every student will receive one.
  • In the University of Kentucky math program, financial support is typically provided for students who apply to our Doctoral program. Students who are interested in completing only a Master's degree and who do not have independent funding should contact the Director of Graduate Studies prior to applying.

Q. How much money will I get?

  • Teaching Assistants receive a full tuition scholarship, a student health insurance plan, and a stipend of around $19,819 per year (as of 2023). Graduate students also have the opportunity to earn additional pay in the summer.

Q. I have a full-time job. Do you admit part-time students?

  • We welcome those with a full-time job to enroll as a part-time student, but to pursue a PhD degree, one should be prepared to devote to full-time studies at some point. This is typically most important during the first year of study.

Q. I'm interested in applying to the graduate programs at UK, what do I need to do next?