Admission Information and Application Procedures
Introduction & Overview
Thank you for considering applying to our graduate program in mathematics. Please use the tabs above to navigate through the relevant applications information.
For instructions regarding the regular application process link to Instructions (see also tab above). The deadline for regular applications is December 26th and the application fee of $5 (five dollars).
For either application type, please read all of the instructions first in order to determine which application materials you will need. Also, before you start, choose the degree type into which you seek admission. Click the Degrees/Tracks link (or tab above) for explanations.
Under the remaining tabs above you can find information about prerequisites, entry level support, as well as frequently asked questions as they arise.
For any other questions please look through our
Vice-Chair of Graduate Studies
Department of Mathematics
The Ohio State University
231 W 18th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Office: MA 102
Phone: (614) 292-6274
Fax: (614) 292-1479
Standard Application Procedures & Submission Materials
In order to apply to the graduate program in mathematics follow all of the steps below. Deadline for all applications for Autumn 2013 admission is:
Score administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), such as the GRE General, GRE Subject, or TOEFL tests, should be forwarded directly by ETS to the OSU Graduate Admissions Office. The institutional code for OSU is 1592. (Please do not use the major field code). See Prerequisites for requirements on test scores for our various degrees.
Go to the OSU Graduate Admissions' Web Page at https://www.applyweb.com/apply/osugrad/ and create an account. Write down your login information and keep it in a safe place.
Enter the online application on the Graduate Applications page. Save the data you enter on the form (Pages 1-6/6). You can work on your application in several sessions. Please observe the following instructions:
(Page 1/7) Read instructions and enter personal data.
(Page 1/7) The campus for all degrees is Columbus.
(Page 2/7) In the menu click on either Mathematics - PhD or Mathematical Sciences - MMS depending on which program you apply for. Select the Autumn term from the included drop menu (only choice) and click "Save Your Selection".
(Page 2/6) If you are applying to the MMS program you must choose a subplan. The menu choices are Mathematics Biosciences, Computational Sciences, and Mathematics for Educators. If you are applying to the PhD program there should be no subplan choices.
(Page 3/7) Specialization and Ultimate Degree Objective are optional. Enter further personal information on citizenship, immigration status, and service.
(Page 3/7) Minority students (US citizens, includes Asian Americans) are strongly encouraged to indicate their ethnicity and race. This information is required in order to be eligible for possible Graduate Enrichment and SROP Fellowships which provide full funding without teaching obligations for the first year.
(Page 3/7) Please provide several phone numbers where you can be reached and double check that you provide a valid email address. Complete also all other contact information.
(Page 4/7) Please read the instructions carefully! Make an effort to locate your institution through the search and click "None of the Above" only if these efforts fail. Enter "USA" for Country only if your college or university is indeed located in the United Stats of America (oddly a common mistake).
(Page 4/7) Be aware that for colleges and universities you enter here you must be able to produce a transcript in order to be eligible for admission. It is strongly recommended to upload scans of your transcripts for quicker access during the review process (although originals also have to be sent in).
(Page 4/7) Read instructions regarding GPA's. If you attended only one college or university these should be computed on your transcript already. Also enter all available ETS test data. International applicants for all degrees need to present the GRE general score and TOEFL scores. All PhD applicants need to present a GRE subject score in mathematics. See Prerequisites for more details.
(Page 5/7) Indicate any programs you participated in, in particular, McNair, National Name Exchange, SROP, and GPS. Note also that all applicants for Ph.D. and M.M.S. degrees will be automatically considered for GTA support and the most competitive files for fellowship support.
In the section titled "Document Upload (Optional)" upload the following documents in PDF format:
Curriculum Vitae or Resume. (max three pages)
Letter of Purpose/Intent. (max three pages)
List of recent relevant and recent mathematics courses. Information should include textbooks/chapters or content description of covered material, term taken, instructor name, and grade received. At minimum this should include the courses explicitly required under Prerequisites - a comprehensive list of courses beyond general education requirements is encouraged.
Other PDF documents relevant to your application - but limited to 10 pages. Multiple such documents should be concatenated into one PDF file in order to allow the upload as the fourth document.
(Page 6/7) Our program strongly prefers electronic submission and upload of reference letters. In the section "References" please follow instructions to have letters submitted electronically and use the Online Reference Form.
(Page 7/7) Double check all data. At the end of your online application pay the application fee of $5 (five dollars).
Please, ignore the warnings on previous pages that imply $40 or $50 fees. These will not be charged if you apply to the Mathematics programs.
The following documents have to be sent to Graduate Admissions Office:
The official/original transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institutions you attended.
Send the above documents toGraduate & Professional Admissions Office
Ohio State University
105 Student Academic Service Building
281 West Lane Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
In addition to the documents uploaded through the applyweb.com online forms above the following documents are to be be sent directly to the Mathematics Department as applicable:
All applicants are required to send the official/original transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institutions you attended to the department as well.
Additional letters of recommendation (on official letterhead) beyond the three required by the university and uploaded online, or letters that cannot be be submitted electronically. Download and use the university reference form available at http://admissions.osu.edu/apps/pdfs/refer.pdf (can be edited with Adobe Reader 9 or later). If the reference letters and reference forms have been submitted electronically on the Graduate Admissions page above they do not need to be sent in.
Documents that you could not be uploaded via applyweb.com as described above for formatting reason, but that may still be relevant for the application.
Scholarly work (exceeding 10 pages) such as theses or publications. (Please keep in mind though that we receive up to 400 applications each season and will normally not be able to read longer documents).
If specifically requested by us copies of the GRE General, GRE Subject, and TOEFL scores. This may happen if, for some reason, we do not receive the official reports from ETS or Graduate Admissions in a timely manner.
Send documents to:Graduate Recruitment Committee
Mathematics Graduate Office (MA 102)
Department of Mathematics
The Ohio State University
231 West 18th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1174
For full consideration for admission for Autumn 2013 all application materials above have to be received by
The graduate program in mathematics offers both a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree and a Master of Mathematics Sciences (M.M.S.) degree. Each degree program is further divided into tracks and subplans.
Admission into the program will be contingent on the degree intent and specialization stated in the application. Applicants to different degrees and specializations will be evaluated separately and by different recruitment criteria and committees. Particularly, students pursuing different degrees and specializations will be subject to different academic expectations and degree requirements.
Admission with Ph.D.-Degree Intent
Students applying in order to pursue a Ph.D.-Degree do not need to specify a specialization. Admission will be to a generic Ph.D.-degree without any official tracks or specializations.
Students who enter the program with the intention of receiving a Ph.D.-degree will be placed at the start of the first autumn semester as either Regular PhD or PhD-Track students depending on their undergraduate preparations, work during the summer program, and outcome of the first Qualifying Exams. Students who pass both exams on the first attempt are placed as Regular Ph.D.'s.
PhD-Track students have a total of two years (that is, four attempts) to pass the qualifying exams. Time expectations are relaxed compared to students on Regular PhD status. The instant that a PhD-Track student passes both qualifying exams he/she will be automatically moved to Regular PhD status with the respective stipend adjustments (about a 10% raise).
For more detailed information see our Ph.D.-Degree Program Page.
Admission with M.M.S.-Degree Intent
Students applying with the intent of receiving an Master of Mathematical Scienses (M.M.S) degree have to indicate one of the offered specializations as "subplans" in their online application (see 2.iv. of the Instructions). The evaluation of their application and placement into the program will depend on this specialization.
Currently our department offers M.M.S.-tracks for "Mathematics Biosciences" , "Computational Sciences" , and "Mathematics for Educators" . The M.M.S. is designed as a two-year terminal degree program for all of these tracks.
Other Degree Options
The standard M.S. degree in mathematics is not open to regular applicants. However, students who have been admitted with Ph.D.-degree intent will be able to earn the M.S. degree within the academic progression of the doctoral program.
In addition, certain students already enrolled in other programs at The Ohio State University may be eligible to earn a standard M.S.-degree. This includes doctoral students in other math-related programs, as well as exceptionally strong undergraduate students subject to the combined program rules of the university.
Students who earn a terminal M.M.S.-degree in one of the offered specialization tracks are welcome to apply to the Ph.D.-program through the regular graduate application process, usually in their second year. Thus, although M.M.S. students will have ample opportunity to explore the requirements of our Ph.D. program their applications will be treated in the same way as all other applications.
In addition to the Ph.D. and M.M.S. degrees the mathematics department is planning and working on the approval of a "Master of Quantitative Risk Management" (M.Q.R.M.) which combines training in actuarial sciences and financial mathematics. The projected start date for this degree program in Autumn 2014. As opposed to the other two programs students in the M.Q.R.M. program will generally not be supported through graduate associateships.
The following are university-wide minimum requirements that are almost never negotiable.
Four-year undergraduate baccalaureate (or higher) degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) in the 75-th percentile of the grade scale. For example, the GPA has to be at least 3.0 on a standard 4.0 grade scale.
International students from non-English speaking countries need to present a recent TOEFL score. Minimum TOEFL score is 79 points for the internet test or 550 points for the paper test. The TOEFL is waived for students who earned a BS/BA degree or higher degree from an U.S. institution.
The university does not require GRE tests for admission (see GRE program requirements below). However, the GRE General Exam Scores are required if an applicant wants to compete for University Fellowship support or to petition for exemption from certain university minimum requirements.
GRE General Test
All international students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores for the GRE General Test, regardless of intended degree.
The GRE General Test is not required for domestic students by our program. However, students who do not take the GRE General Test will not be eligible to compete for University Fellowships.
GRE Subject Test (in Mathematics)
All students applying with Ph.D.-degree intent have to take and submit scores for the GRE Subject Test in Mathematics in order to be considered. See GRE Info for more explanations.
The GRE Subject Test Score can be waived upon request in rare cases where a students is already at an advanced stage and ready to begin dissertation research very soon after entry. In most cases a waiver is not recommended as it puts the applicant at a significant disadvantage in the admission competition. Ph.D.-applicants without subject test scores who did not submit formal requests for waiver prior to their application will be automatically discarded.
The GRE Subject Test Scores are not required for M.M.S.-applicants for any of the current specialization tracks. If available test scores can be submitted and can be taken into consideration. The majority of our M.M.S.-applicants, however, do not submit subject scores.
Ph.D applicants should have a solid background (at least one year) in Real Analysis as well as Abstract and Linear Algebra. For example, our Math 5590H+5590H Algebra Sequence and our Math 5201+5202 Analysis sequence provide a very solid foundation. Additional courses in advanced mathematics (such as topology) are desirable but no particular topics are required.
M.M.S. applicants for any specialization track should have a solid undergraduate math education comparable to the curriculum of a mathematics major. Course work should include, at minimum, the following:
Calculus (at least one year)
Applicants to the Mathematical Biosciences and Computational Science specializations should also have course work in Differential Equations.
Applicants for the Math for Educators specialization should have taken additional courses in core mathematics.
Applicants for the Computational Science specialization should have further classes in applied mathematics as well as a background in a physical or engineering science.
The Ph.D. Program has no specialization tracks and no particular specialization is expected at the time of application. (In fact, it is expected that doctoral students to explore the wide range of research areas represented offered in our department settling on a topic). Specializations can be entered in the optional field on the application form but will usually not have a significant impact on admission decisions.
Applicants to the M.M.S. Program have to decide on one of the offered specializations and indicate the specialization as a "subplan" in their application as described in the Instructions .
Prior background in the respective specialization is not required. However, applicants should have a demonstrable interest in the chosen specialization.
Below an overview over the types of financial support offered by the department and university. All types of support include tuition costs in addition to stipends that well exceed the university's Estimated Graduate Costs. Costs of living in Columbus are generally below national average. In order to estimate what an OSU Ph.D.-entry salary translates to at your location go to Compare Cost of Living and enter your current location as "Destination".
Graduate Teaching Associateships (GTA)
The majority of current mathematics graduate students are supported by GTAs and all incoming students are offered GTA support unless already supported by fellowships. Stipends in 2012/13 for entering Regular-Ph.D. students are $2090/month and for entering M.M.S. and Ph.D.-Track students $1825/month, each for an academic year 9 month appointment. Advanced students currently receive $2200/month in stipends.
The work load of teaching associates involves 6 hours per week of student contact, plus preparation and grading. GTA positions are renewable assuming adequate academic progress.
University (Recruitment) Fellowships
In addition to GTA positions the university offers competitive University Fellowships to domestic and international applicants with excellent academic records and GRE general test scores. Standard University Fellowships support incoming students for their first twelve months of study without any teaching obligation.
For the most competitive files also two year (first and dissertation year) or three year (first, second, and dissertation year) fellowships are available.
Stipends are supplemented by the department so that they equal GTA salaries at the same level. In addition fellows receive an 'excellence bonus' of $3000/year for their first four years.
Graduate Enrichment Fellowships (GE)
GE fellowships are also competitive awards offered by the university with similar terms and stipend amounts for the first year. In particularly compelling cases support includes in addition the dissertation year. Eligible are domestic students (U.S.citizens only) from traditionally underrepresented groups (including Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, as well as Asian Americans).
Applicants who want to be considered for GE's will need to declare their race/ethnicity on the application and submit GRE general scores.
Departmental Fellowship Support
Beyond the beginning year fellowships that are awarded by the university during the admission process the department offers several funding opportunities for continuing students.
These include two types of semester-long fellowships, covering stipends and tuition without teaching obligations. Namely, about 15 to 19 "Special Graduate Assignments" (SGA) available to doctoral students each year as well as 2 to 3 "Rhodus Graduate Fellowships" (RGF) for students with computational aspects in their studies.
Depending on current external funding additional support may be available through the Mathematical Research Institute (MRI) and other departmental initiatives.
A variety of sources of support are available for the summer term. These included departmental Graduate Research Associateships (GRA's), GRA's funded by external funds of advisors, as well as several GTA's. In recent years this provided funding for the vast majority (>90%) students requesting summer support.
University Presidential Fellowships
The university offers over 30 competitive Presidential Fellowships each year to the strongest doctoral students on campus. Besides the great prestige this award carries full stipend and tuition support for a 12 month period during the dissertation year. In recent years mathematics students won on average between one and two Presidential Fellowships per year.
Each new graduate student at Ohio State is encouraged to accept an initial Headstart Summer Fellowship, which carried a stipend of at least $260 per week.
Tuition Waivers & Health Insurance Subsidy
All of the Graduate Associateship and Fellowship positions above include automatic fee waivers of instructional tuition fees. In addition students who held such positions during the academic year receive tuition support in the following summer regardless of holding a GA position or fellowship.
Moreover, for students on these positions the university covers 85% of their health insurance premium.
The department will start screening application late December and start the full review process early January. First offers may be made as early as late January. We hope to have the bulk of our admission offers decided on by early March although later decisions are possible.
In order to check the status and completeness of your records at OSU Graduate Admissions check the University Application Status (not applicable for pre-applications).
All graduate students at the Mathematics Department are admitted for the autumn semester. We do not admit students for any other semesters into any program.
All incoming students are required to participate in the Headstart program which begin in mid July and takes place in the five weeks before the first day of classes. The program carries a stipend of at least $260 per week and health insurance coverage.
International students are required to immediately apply for visas once they are admitted in order to make sure the visas are available in time before the Headstart program. International students may delay their arrival until 30 days before the start of classes in order to conform with visa requirements.
Yes - you would submit two applications following the Instructions. Please use the same account so that you will have a the same student ID on both applications. The two applications will be considered by two different processes and committees. It is a good idea to contact our Graduate Office if you plan a double submission. Also you still need to decide on one and only one subplan for the M.M.S. degree.
Students who had already once been admitted by the OSU Graduate School are usually not able to submit a regular application through the OSU Graduate Admission online system From the point of view of the university students directly request from our program to transfer from another OSU graduate program or reenter the program.
At the program level, we treat all transfer requests from other OSU graduate programs and reentry requests of former students of our program (after absences of more than a year) the same way as we treat new applications. All application documents listed in Instructions need to be submitted directly to our Graduate Office.
Yes - it is, however, import to have completed course work in mathematics as described in the Prerequisites , and show a generally strong involvement with studies in mathematics.
TOEFL scores are valid within two years of the application date. For example, if you send in your application in November 2010 (for admission in fall 2012) you can use TOEFL scores from December 2008 or later.
GRE score are valid for five years from the application date. Particularly, for the subject score more recent scores are recommended though.
Information on the GRE Test
One reason we recommend the general test to all applicants is because it is a requirement by the university in order to be eligible to compete for various types of University Fellowships assuming certain minimum scores.
The general test is typically not used to assess mathematical ability since the quantitative part is largely at the level of high school mathematics.
The test (all parts of it) is, however, used as an additional indicators of reading comprehension and English skills. For this reason it is a requirement for international students applying from countries where English is not the spoken language.
The subject test encompasses about 50% calculus (up to multi-variable), 25% algebra (esp linear algebra), and 25% miscellaneous topics (logic, set theory, probability, complex variables, etc). Thus it test basic preparations at the college that are commonly expected from all mathematics majors.
Generally, a good command of basic undergraduate mathematics is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success in a doctoral program. That is, applicants with low scores on the subject test more often struggle with the initial requirements of a doctoral program, such as exams and courses. At the same time scores at the high end are not really a predictor of success in research at a later stage.
Thus for the most part the subjects score is used to reassure the committee of basic preparations and chances of mastering the initial requirements. It also indicates general test-taking abilities and fluency in certain skills apart from mathematical understanding. While the dissertation research is the ultimate goal of a doctoral student, exams and tests are a reality in nearly all graduate programs.
At the same time other criteria, such as letters and advanced course selections, weigh much more heavily when long-term academic prospects and research potential are evaluated. For this reason differences of scores at the upper end of the score scale usually have only minor influence on admission decisions.
The more obvious reason is so that the recruitment committee will have a common standard to measure undergraduate preparations of all applicants and be able to compare them. Finding standards for different sets of applicants for which different sets of data and information are available invariably create issues.
Perhaps more importantly, the requirement is maintained in order to avoid misleading applicants about the impacts of not submitting scores. For any reviewer or committee having reassurances of minimal proficiency (even if they are barely average) are almost always looked at more positively than missing information, for which a careful committee would have to assume the possibility of seriously lacking preparations.
Many programs that only recommend the subjects test thus review applications in separate batches and rounds depending on the availability of the subject test scores. This normally leads to significantly lower chances of admission for students without scores, although these may not be fully aware of the disadvantage they incur due to not taking the test.
On rare occasions we can waive the subject score. This has to be upon a formal request submitted by the applicant to the Math Graduate Office before the posted deadline. This option is generally reserved for students who are essentially already at the level of dissertation research, have records that largely cover our pre-candidacy requirements, and are thus expected to start work on their doctoral thesis within the first year.
In any case applicants should the previous explanations as a caveat and warning to have the subject score waived. Generally, applications without subject scores will raise doubts about preparations and take a backseat to the vast majority of our Ph.D. applicants that submit these scores. They will not be competitive unless they are unusually advanced and strong.
We typically have the bulk of our decisions done by early March and expect all admitted students to decide on offers by April 15th. Thus recruitment committee has ceased its work and has been disbanded by this time already, and it is impossible (and also unfair to other applicants) to reorganized admission lists at this time based subject scores submitted by late April.
Yes! We usually accept up to three test results per test type. Only the highest score of all attempts is reported to the committee. It is in fact recommended to try to take the test more than once.
It definitely makes sense to practice for the subject test. In fact this tends to be a highly practicable test and preparations usually have a very notable positive effect on test results (as well as the fluency of the student in basic concepts of calculus and linear algebra). There are many test questions freely available on the internet and additional exercise materials can be purchased.
As noted previously small differences in the high end range of scores usually do not have a great impact on admission decision so that excessive focus on the test at the expense of current advanced course work in mathematics may have an opposite overall effect.
At the same time walking into the subject test without any significant preparations is also a bad idea. To some extend this suggests a lack of seriousness about the graduate application which raises concerns (even with other strong indicators of mathematical ability).
There are no a-priori minimum scores for the test set by our program. However, admissions become rare below the 50th percentile. The distribution of percentiles of subject test scores of Ph.D.-applicants we admitted between 2009 and 2012 is depicted below.
The data over the four admission cycles includes 125 domestic (in red) and 129 international (in pink) applicants. The median percentile for domestic students is 67, the one for international students is 95.
Between a quarter and a third of those admitted accepted offers and joined our program, with medians for the incoming classes very close to those above.