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If you are applying for Fall 2022 admissions, please go to https://goapplytexas.org and create a new account. Registration for new accounts and applications for Fall 2022 is now available! Please note you MUST create a new account if you are applying for Fall 2022 and beyond.

 

Deadline Fall 2022 admissions: 12/15/2021

 

This page provides instructions and advice on applying to UT Mathematics Ph.D. program.  Please refer to our student handbook for information about the program.

Admission to the Math Department is highly competitive. In recent years, we have seen over 400 students per year, many of them with excellent credentials, apply to be among an incoming class of around 15 students.  Your application will be reviewed carefully by our committee of faculty readers. However, we are not able to provide feedback on your application.

 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Applications are accepted for Fall semester only. The application period opens on September 1 each year.  The deadline for applying for Fall admission is December 15.  We do not admit new students in the Spring or Summer semesters.

We cannot make an offer of admission until all required materials are received.  Materials received after the application deadline are not guaranteed to receive full consideration.

 

1. Main criteria

The Department's Graduate Admissions Committee considers the following factors in arriving at its decision concerning the admission of an applicant:

  • Undergraduate academic record. We look for evidence of extensive training in mathematics or the mathematical sciences; and of a strong trajectory through the undergraduate mathematics curriculum, including conceptually-oriented and advanced classes.
  • Training in graduate-level mathematics. We look at performance in graduate classes. (Not every successful applicant has had the opportunity to take graduate classes.)
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • The contents of the statement of purpose, especially as they relate to the intellectual preparedness of the applicant to undertake graduate studies in mathematics; to special circumstances in an applicant's background that might indicate the potential for success in a graduate mathematics program; and to the applicants’ broader impacts on communities, through leadership, participation and teaching in programs helping others.
  • Undergraduate research experience and evidence of research potential.
  • Performance on the Mathematics Subject GRE, and (less importantly) on the general GRE.
  •  Evidence of personal qualities conducive to success in graduate school, such as self-motivation, and resilience in the face of setbacks.
  • Performance on the TOEFL or IELTS English tests (applies only to international students). A TOEFL score of at least 102, or an overall IELTS band score of 7.5, is considered sufficient. Students with a slightly lower score are sometimes admitted, particularly if the TOEFL/IELTS score for speaking is relatively high.  Evidence of a very high degree of English fluency, such as a TOEFL/IELTS score of 110/8.0, is a plus. Information about exemptions from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement is available here: https://gradschool.utexas.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/international-students.

Further details on these criteria are provided below.

 

2. How to apply

Please visit the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) website for specific and detailed instructions regarding the application process. After reviewing GIAC and Math Department instructions on how to apply, please complete the ApplyTexas online application. 

After you have submitted the ApplyTexas application, it will take approximately one to two business days to load into UT's system, called MyStatus. You will receive an email with your UT EID, password and a link to the MyStatus web page where you will be able to upload/submit all required materials to complete your application.  Your UT EID is an identifier that UT Austin uses for applicants and students.  Do not create an additional UT EID.  You must use the one assigned to you after you submit your application.  If you are a previous or current student of UT Austin, you should use your existing UT EID.

Please note that certain low-income applicants who are US citizens or permanent residents qualify for a Graduate School fee waiver (see https://gradschool.utexas.edu/how-to-apply).

Applicants must submit all required materials (including the official online application, official transcripts, test scores, and processing fees) to GIAC. 

The following materials are required by the Math Department in order for your application to be considered complete:

  • GRE scores:
    • Mathematics Subject GRE. It is strongly recommended that you submit a score. Applicants who do not submit a score are still considered, and may be accepted if there is sufficient evidence of the skills tested in the Subject GRE. If you are unable to take the GRE through special circumstances (e.g. unavailability of testing centers in your country, pandemic-related disruption, etc.), upload a short explanation under Miscellaneous Documents.  
    • General GRE: requirement waived for Fall 2022 applicants. The General GRE is a requirement of the UT Graduate School, and we cannot admit you without it (except during the 2022 cycle).
    • Submission: Scores must be sent to the university by the testing agency (self-reported scores are not accepted), The Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT Austin is 6882. If your official scores are only available after the December 15 deadline, we recommend you obtain your scores on the ETS website and self-report these in a separate document. Please title this document “General GRE and/or Subject GRE Scores”, and upload it as a “miscellaneous document” via your MyStatus page. Please note that we do need to have the official test score on file in order to make an offer of admission. For more information on test scores, please see this page: https://gradschool.utexas.edu/how-to-apply.
  • Statement of purpose: This can be submitted via your MyStatus page after submission of the ApplyTexas application. A short narrative, typically 1-2 pages, is appropriate. Please see Guidelines and Advice below, for tips on possible content for your statement of purpose. 
  • Transcripts.Upload a scan of your official transcript(s) to your MyStatus portal. We cannot offer admission until we have scans of official transcripts from all relevant programs. Read more on how to submit your transcripts.
  • Three letters of recommendation.Must be submitted via the UT Austin online recommendation system. 
  • Resume/CV. Can be submitted via your MyStatus page after submission of ApplyTexas application. Include publications, awards, honors, notable achievements, and other important items you wish to highlight.
  • Miscellaneous Submit each such item as a “miscellaneous document” via your MyStatus page. In this category, applicants are strongly encouraged to include copies of relevant publications and preprints; REU reports; Masters or undergraduate theses; mathematical expositions; etc. We do not require diversity statements, and encourage you to incorporate such material into your statement of purpose, but you are welcome to submit one as a miscellaneous document.  You can also use a miscellaneous document to self-report test scores (as described under GRE Scores and TOEFL or IELTS scores), or to convey to us an important piece of information about any special circumstances.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores. (International students only.) Scores must be sent to the university by the testing agency (self-reported scores are not accepted). The Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT Austin is 6882. There is no institutional code for the IELTS examination. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS, please use the IELTS electronic score delivery service to send your scores to the “University of Texas at Austin” account. If you have not yet received your official test results, self-report your test score(s) in a separate document and title this as “TOEFL Scores” or “IELTS Scores”, and upload as a “miscellaneous document” via your MyStatus page. Please note that we do need to have the official test score on file in order to make an offer of admission.

Please do not mail official transcripts to GIAC or to the Math Department. When a student is admitted to our program, GIAC will ask that official paper transcripts be mailed or delivered in person. 

 

 3. Selection of area of interest

In your application, you will be asked to select your primary area of interest: the one you would most likely pursue as a research area if you were to join our program. You will also have the option to select a secondary area. Finally, you can indicate your research interests more precisely by selecting 0-3 entries from a list of specific areas.

Primary area of interest choices

  • ACM – Applied/Computational Math (PhD only)
  • ACT – Actuarial Sciences (MA only)
  • AND – Algebra/Number Theory/Dynamics (PhD only)
  • APD – Analysis/PDE (PhD only)
  • GTP – Geometry/Topology (PhD only)
  • PRO – Probability (PhD only)
  • OTH - Other (PhD only)

Secondary area of interest choices

  • ACM – Applied/Computational Math (PhD only)
  • AND – Algebra/Number Theory/Dynamics (PhD only)
  • APD – Analysis/PDE (PhD only)
  • GTP – Geometry/Topology (PhD only)
  • PRO – Probability (PhD only)
  • OTH - Other (PhD only)

Specific area of interest choices (select up to 3)

  • Algebra
  • Algebraic Geometry
  • Algebraic Topology
  • Analysis of PDE
  • Calculus of Variations
  • Combinatorics
  • Complex Networks
  • Computational Algebra
  • Computational Analysis
  • Computational Medicine
  • Data Analysis
  • Differential Geometry
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Geometric Analysis
  • Geometry and Quantum Field Theory
  • Groups and Dynamics
  • Harmonic Analysis
  • Low-Dimensional Topology
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Number Theory/Arithmetic Geometry
  • Probability/Stochastic Analysis
  • Quantum Mechanics/QFT
  • Representation Theory
  • Statistical Physics
  • Statistics
  • Other

Your selection allows us to direct your application to expert faculty readers, and to compare your file to those of others with broadly similar interests.  This is turn helps us admit a cohort of students with a wide range of interests to balance those of our faculty.

The selection does not commit you to specializing in that area.

 

GUIDELINES AND ADVICE

This section is intended to help you plan well ahead for your application to our Ph.D. program, and to help you present the best file you possibly can.

 

1. Curriculum and transcript

To be competitive, a candidate usually needs a program of coursework like the following. Note that this is only a guideline. It is based on typical US curricula, and will not match standard curricula in some countries.

  • The basics: single- and multi-variable calculus, differential equations, proof-based linear algebra.
  • Intermediate-level classes: for example, discrete mathematics, probability.
  • Standard advanced undergraduate courses: two semesters of analysis; two of abstract algebra; at least one of topology.
  • A selection of other advanced undergraduate courses in mathematics and closely allied fields.

If possible:

  • Graduate courses, especially core graduate courses comparable to our prelim sequence.

A reliable predictor of success in graduate coursework is prior success in introductory graduate courses. It is not a good idea, however, to take graduate courses before you are ready:  strong grades showing mastery of advanced undergraduate material are better than weak grades in graduate courses.

 

2. GRE Mathematics Subject Test

The following information about the GRE Mathematics Subject Test is correct at the time of writing, but you should consult https://www.ets.org/gre for up-to-date information.

The test gives entrants 170 minutes to tackle 66 multiple-choice questions covering the standard undergraduate mathematics curriculum: calculus (50%; includes single- and multi-variable calculus, coordinate geometry, and differential equations); algebra (25%; includes elementary algebra, linear algebra, and rudiments of abstract algebra and number theory); and other assorted topics (25%; includes real and complex analysis, logic, set theory, and other topics).

The test is offered three times a year, in September, October and April. Success in this test entails planning and preparation.

Why do we ask for it?  Because the skills and knowledge tested are highly relevant to graduate-level mathematics. In prelims and other graduate courses, it may well be taken for granted that you have the kinds of conceptual knowledge and computational skill that are covered in the test.  Because you may well be called upon to teach these topics as a Teaching Assistant.  Because it is hard for us to calibrate course grades from different universities and colleges. Because we must be confident that all admitted students are equipped to succeed in our program.

How do we use it?  As one data-point in a holistic assessment, in conjunction with your transcript and other information. We do not use a score cut-off, and we do not attempt to make fine distinctions based on this test alone. We do not use it to assess research skills.

Note that we usually give much greater weight to the Mathematics Subject GRE than to the General GRE.

How should I prepare for it? Be sure to read the official ETS webpage and make use if their test-preparation materials: https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/mathematics/

A useful compendium of online resources and test-prep books can be found at https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1922417/gre-subject-test-past-papers-books-advice

Consult previous test-takers and your faculty mentors and advisors for test-prep advice; if possible, work with a friend or group.

 

3. Statement of purpose

A brief statement, typically 1-2 pages, is appropriate.  You can:

  • Tell us about your mathematical experience, including research experience.
  • Explain your mathematical interests and how they relate to the research of UT faculty; note faculty members who particularly interest you as potential Ph.D. advisors. (Note: some applicants have a very clear idea of what mathematical directions interest them; others far less. That’s fine; be clear and honest.)
  • Report “broader impacts” of your activities on others, such as leadership roles, teaching experience, experience in supporting flourishing and diverse communities.
  • Explain your career goals and aspirations.
  • Give us a glimpse of your personality and life experience, and how they relate to graduate school in mathematics.
  • Explain any special circumstances you would like us to be aware of.

 

4. Diversity, equity and inclusion

The department is committed to preparing leaders in fields that are becoming increasingly diverse. We believe that our students benefit from participation in a culture of diversity.  Diversity here applies to race and ethnicity and to sex/gender, but also to disability, national and geographic origin, socio-economic background, and many other variables.  We strongly encourage applications from individuals within populations traditionally underrepresented in math. Our goal is to provide all our students with an inclusive and supportive environment in which they can reach their greatest intellectual potential.

 

5. Financial support

Please see our program student handbook for an explanation of our system of financial support for graduate students.  Our offers of admission come with a package of financial support; no separate application is required.

In special circumstances, we also consider students applying for admission without financial support from us. If you do not need financial assistance because you expect external funding from another source, and would like to be considered for admission without support, you should explain this clearly in a miscellaneous document, including the source and amount of funding you expect to receive. Applicants claiming external support should not in general expect to be offered financial assistance by the math department, and may be asked to provide proof of external funding before admissions decisions are made.

 

RELATED PROGRAMS

 

CHECKING YOUR APPLICATION STATUS

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure application materials are submitted and received. Notification of admission decisions will be made via email. The basic timeline for the Mathematics Admissions Committee is outlined below: 

  • September 1: Application available
  • December 15: applications due, 12 Midnight.
  • January: Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications.
  • February/mid-March: Graduate Advisor sends offers to candidates.
  • Late March to early April: Graduate Advisor may send out further offers, depending on responses to earlier offers. We maintain a pool of candidates under strong consideration, and continue to make offers until the April 15 deadline.
  • April 15: Deadline for acceptance of an offer of financial support by the applicant.
  • Mid to late April (may be after April 15): Students not admitted are notified.

Additional questions regarding applications can be sent via email to our Graduate Program Administrator.

Application status information will not be given via the telephone.

 

ADDITIONAL APPLICATION INFO REGARDING CHANGES OF MAJOR

The Math Department will consider requests for transfers from other departments within UT Austin.  Current students wishing to apply to Mathematics should complete the GIAC Change of Major application form after obtaining the approval of the Graduate Advisor.  

 

COUNCIL OF GRADUATE SCHOOLS RESOLUTION

We abide by the Council of Graduate Schools April 15 resolution. The most recent version of the resolution dates from October 2019 and is as follows:

Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties. 

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student to first inform the program that they are withdrawing or resigning from the offer of financial support that they previously had accepted. Starting in Fall 2020, applicants are no longer required to obtain a formal release from the program whose offer they accepted, either before or after the April 15 deadline. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

For questions about the Department of Mathematics graduate program and application procedures, please contact our Graduate Program Administrator at liesbeth@austin.utexas.edu  Include your name and UT EID in all correspondence.

 

CONTACT GIAC