Applying to Grad School

You're considering getting a graduate degree in math. That's absolutely lovely! The application process can be intimidating and confusing. We're here to help you through it. Here you'll find tons of resources to help you every step of the way.

The Basics

It's best to start preparing for the application process in the spring of your junior year. Getting ready involves writing essays, taking standardized test, asking professors for letters of recomendation, and filling out a lot of forms. Keep in mind, if you love math and want to go to grad school, you should apply. There is a program out there for you. For information on what math grad school is like, including stipends and benefits, and an overview timeline, see our Why Grad School page.


  • October: NSF GRFP due
  • December: Most grad program applications due
  • January-March: Decisions released
  • April: Deadline to choose a program
  • April: NSF decisions released
There are exceptions to these ranges. This is focused on US programs. International timelines are different. Sometimes acceptance letters will be sent out as late as the summer. Some programs allow you to apply on a rolling basis, or have two cycles (one in the fall and one in the spring). Since some schools use waitlists, decisions might be updated later on.

Required Elements

  • Letters of Recommendation (typically three)
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript
  • CV
  • GRE (general and subject)
  • IELTS/TOEFL scores
  • Fee (may be waived)
There are exceptions to these requirements. Some schools require additional essays like a diversity statement, or a broader impacts essay. The application fee varies a lot between programs, as do the waiver requirments. The cost of an application fee should never prevent you from applying to a program. If your fee waiver isn't approved, or you would like to apply to a program that doesn't offer a fee waiver, let us know!

On this Page

If you're still unsure if math graduate school is right for you, you can check out our Why Grad School page. Most of the information below is geared towards PhD programs in the US. If you're thinking about applying internationally, sign up for a mentor. You might also be considering getting a masters, instead of a PhD, or spending some time in industry before applying. There are many different paths to grad school, and you can learn more about other options here.

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