I am trying to choose between the MSc in Mathematics at Warwick and the ALgebra, Geometry and Number Theory(ALGANT) european integrated master program. The Warwick program lasts for one year while the ALGANT program lasts for two. My goal is to go on to a PhD in Mathematics in the USA, immediately after the MSc, and based on the offered courses I feel that I would get more out of the two year program. On the other hand, Warwick is a much bigger name in math. Thoughts?

Last edited by tmatija on Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Admission to US PhD depends on 2 factors.

1. Able to show breadth and depth of Math knowledge, esp performance in Grad level courses.

2. Popularity of LOR writer.

So, consider these two factors. I choose a program with more harder grad level courses and obviously some well known prof. working in my area of interest.

1. Able to show breadth and depth of Math knowledge, esp performance in Grad level courses.

2. Popularity of LOR writer.

So, consider these two factors. I choose a program with more harder grad level courses and obviously some well known prof. working in my area of interest.

bobn wrote:Admission to US PhD depends on 2 factors.

1. Able to show breadth and depth of Math knowledge, esp performance in Grad level courses.

2. Popularity of LOR writer.

So, consider these two factors. I choose a program with more harder grad level courses and obviously some well known prof. working in my area of interest.

Thanks for breaking it down to two goals.

I believe that I can get better references from Warwick, but then again how well can I get to know any professor since the beginning of the course in September until mid December when the application deadlines start to descend upon us .

On the other hand, ALGANT seems from afar like a true Math PhD preparation bootcamp, with many high level courses and enough time to go through them.

I am not really sure how much international students (non-UK undergrads) benefit from going to the UK for MSc, when most of them last for only one year, and you have references to get, and some new knowledge to accumulate to present in your application, hopefully. I am speaking only of Math students hoping for a PhD position here, obviously. Anyone with experience with this?

1 year MSc. do have disadvantages. Like you said, you can work with a Prof. for 3 months hardly before starting applications. So, it would be very hard esp. if you wish to continue in UK for Ph.D. (some where other than War), it might be hard to get funding if you are not from EU.

But there is an advantage, if you do extremely well, like all A's in say 4 grad level courses (atleast one of them should be very hard). Then most probably you can continue there for Ph.D. with funding.

Otherwise, if the other option gives you more exposure and time, I would say choose this one. Since you can work for 1.5 years with some potential letter writers. You can take more than 10 grad level courses (instead of 4). But the question here is, are you going to get LOR from reputed enough profs? [ This is more important incase if you want to go to Wisc, Mich, NYU,..]. May be you can look faculty profiles whom they are collaborating with in US.

But there is an advantage, if you do extremely well, like all A's in say 4 grad level courses (atleast one of them should be very hard). Then most probably you can continue there for Ph.D. with funding.

Otherwise, if the other option gives you more exposure and time, I would say choose this one. Since you can work for 1.5 years with some potential letter writers. You can take more than 10 grad level courses (instead of 4). But the question here is, are you going to get LOR from reputed enough profs? [ This is more important incase if you want to go to Wisc, Mich, NYU,..]. May be you can look faculty profiles whom they are collaborating with in US.

tmatija wrote:I am trying to choose between the MSc in Mathematics at Warwick and the ALgebra, Geometry and Number Theory(ALGANT) european integrated master program. The Warwick program lasts for one year while the ALGANT program lasts for two. My goal is to go on to a PhD in Mathematics in the USA, immediately after the MSc, and based on the offered courses I feel that I would get more out of the two year program. On the other hand, Warwick is a much bigger name in math. Thoughts?

There are two things which play very important role in PhD admission. First one is your coursework. How many grad level advanced courses did you take and what grades did you get in them?

Second, is recommendation letters. Try to get very good LORs from well-known mathematicians.

Also, I think you should take a look at the past placements of the masters students from Algant and Warwick. That'll also give you good idea.

bobn wrote:1 year MSc. do have disadvantages. Like you said, you can work with a Prof. for 3 months hardly before starting applications. So, it would be very hard esp. if you wish to continue in UK for Ph.D. (some where other than War), it might be hard to get funding if you are not from EU.

But there is an advantage, if you do extremely well, like all A's in say 4 grad level courses (atleast one of them should be very hard). Then most probably you can continue there for Ph.D. with funding.

Otherwise, if the other option gives you more exposure and time, I would say choose this one. Since you can work for 1.5 years with some potential letter writers. You can take more than 10 grad level courses (instead of 4). But the question here is, are you going to get LOR from reputed enough profs? [ This is more important incase if you want to go to Wisc, Mich, NYU,..]. May be you can look faculty profiles whom they are collaborating with in US.

This reads to me as if one year MSc is only good for staying at the given institution for a PhD.

I am curious why you mentioned Wisconsin, Michigan and NYU for the importance of LORs? I know they are excellent schools, did you mean that top schools especially value LORs?

mathfreak wrote:There are two things which play very important role in PhD admission. First one is your coursework. How many grad level advanced courses did you take and what grades did you get in them?

Second, is recommendation letters. Try to get very good LORs from well-known mathematicians.

Also, I think you should take a look at the past placements of the masters students from Algant and Warwick. That'll also give you good idea.

I took two courses with real analysis. Then there is graph theory, combinatorics, linear algebra and diff equations complete with formal proofs. All As. But I do have catching up to do in algebraic topology as that is my area of interest now.

ALGANT students mostly get PhD positions, but only a few at top US institutions (one at Caltech, U Chicago, UPenn each). http://www.algant.eu/algant_alumni.php

Can't find any similar record online for Warwick MSc.

Thanks for all the great input guys! Really helpfull.

tmatija wrote:This reads to me as if one year MSc is only good for staying at the given institution for a PhD.

I am curious why you mentioned Wisconsin, Michigan and NYU for the importance of LORs? I know they are excellent schools, did you mean that top schools especially value LORs?

Yes, Kind of. But if the school says you have to apply like all other applicants for Ph.D. You have to make sure that, you do very well in the first semester.

tmatija wrote:I am curious why you mentioned Wisconsin, Michigan and NYU for the importance of LORs? I know they are excellent schools, did you mean that top schools especially value LORs?

For Top tier like, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, UCB. It's hard to get into their programs without exceptional application (like very good scores in Putnam..). But for the next tier schools like I mentioned, if you lack some exceptional thing in your application but still you are exceptional candidate, the only way to convey that is through LOR, and works very well iff your LOR writer has some connections there. Without this connection, it's hard to get into these two tier schools. LORs are important. But almost all applicants usually come with very good LORs. So reputation of LOR writer matters.

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