Are you interested in going to graduate school after you get your Bachelor’s degree? If so, you should start your preparations by the beginning of your junior year. A good first step is to take advanced undergraduate and/or beginning graduate courses at Northeastern. Another possibility is to study abroad in math-intensive programs such as the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics or Math in Moscow. Consult a faculty advisor to identify courses that are appropriate for you.
Try to gain some research experience through an independent study or research project with our faculty. Another option is to participate in an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program, typically during the summer after your junior year. Here is a list of REU sites in mathematics.
Another activity that you should consider is participating in the annual Putnam Competition. You won’t need to do this alone: every Fall semester the Department runs a series of workshops to prepare its team for the Putnam Exam; in Fall 2007, our Putnam Exam team placed 87th out of 516 teams!
In the Fall semester of your senior year, you should start the application process, which takes several steps:
- Take the GRE exams — both the general test (GRE) and the subject test (SGRE). A high score on the SGRE test is a very important selection criterion. There are only a few test dates offered in the Fall, so make sure to pick one in time.
- Talk to a faculty advisor about where to apply for graduate school, and how to put the application together.
- You will need about 3 letters of recommendation. These could be from math faculty who know your work, and also from faculty who would know you from an REU or study abroad experience (if applicable).
- Make sure your applications are completed before the deadline, which usually occurs some time in December or early January.
Many graduate programs offer financial aid through teaching or research assistantships, usually on a competitive basis. In addition, you may consider applying to the National Science Foundation for support under the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).