How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
seekingmastersadvice
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:09 pm

How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby seekingmastersadvice » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:24 pm

Hey,

I am interested in pursing a Math Masters Degree (hopefully an MS in Pure Mathematics), with no intention of continuing my graduate education and getting a PhD as well. The reason I want the Masters Degree is for teaching purposes. I would like to be able to teach at a community college (and that requires getting a Masters). Also, the reason I specifically want an MS in Pure Mathematics is because I find it a lot more interesting than Applied Mathematics.

I am curious as to the difference in difficulty getting accepted into a Masters program vs a PhD. My grades were subpar* and I have yet to take the GRE. Based on the posts I have seen in the forum, most people applying to graduate programs have much more impressive resumes than me, but they are also applying to PhD programs. I am curious if it is easier to get into a Masters program and if I have a chance of getting into a program at one of my top schools. Any information you guys can provide will be really helpful.

I greatly appreciate any help and please let me know if you have any questions for me.

*I know my grades were not great. I had no intention of going to grad school while I was doing my undergrad so I slacked off and let my grades slip. I also specifically never imagined going to Math graduate school so I cared about my math grades even less than my chem grades.

Background:
Undergrad Institution: UCLA
Major(s): Mathematics B.S. and Chemistry B.S.
Minor(s): N/A
GPA: Math: 3.2, Chem: 3.566, Cum: 3.34
Type of Student: DWM

GRE General Test:
Q: TBD
V: TBD
W: TBD

Program Applying: MS/MA in Pure Mathematics

ponchan
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby ponchan » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:31 pm

There are some terminal MA programs that might be a good fit. Check out Miami University in Ohio, Bucknell, or Wake Forest.

blahquaker
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:36 am

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby blahquaker » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:39 pm

It is generally not that difficult to get into a master's program, as long you meet minimum requirements. You might have to take the general GRE (this is usually a school requirement, not a department one), but the subject GRE shouldn't be required.

Getting funding can be harder, but it's still possible. Schools with funding for master's students are generally medium-large state schools who need teachers for gen ed level math classes. Schools without PhD programs are a good place to start, but also lower-ranked PhD programs will need more TAs than PhD students. Don't be afraid to email math departments and ask.

seven
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:36 pm

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby seven » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:36 pm

Hi! I had similar stats to you and I got into University of Oklahoma for their PhD program about 5 years ago. At that time, OU also accepted funded Masters students. I'm not sure if they still do though, but you should email the grad director, I'm sure he'd let you know. The degree is an M.A and it would be in pure mathematics. There's very few applieds profs in the department. It also seems like a good fit since you mention teaching at the college level. The math department offers a teaching credential for teaching college mathematics and the math department is well known for its RUME program (Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education).

athulyaram
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:51 pm

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby athulyaram » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:03 pm

I've usually found that it is far easier to get into a Master's program than a PhD. Its simply because most universities have a higher intake for Master's students and they are not required to provide you a full tuition waiver and a stipend.
But the problem you are going to face is that many good universities do not accept students for a terminal Master's program, or does not have a separate application process for MS/MA.

seekingmastersadvice
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:09 pm

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby seekingmastersadvice » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:19 pm

Hey, thank you guys for the replies. I got my general GRE scores back so now my stats are as follows:

Background:
Undergrad Institution: UCLA
Major(s): Mathematics B.S. and Chemistry B.S.
Minor(s): N/A
GPA: Math: 3.2, Chem: 3.566, Cum: 3.34
Type of Student: DWM

GRE General Test:
Q: 169 (96%)
V: 162 (91%)
W: 5 (92%)


I read a while back that if you have a low GPA but a good enough GRE score it might interest the people reviewing the application. Do you think my scores are good enough for this to be the case? I am pretty upset about the 169 since I know which question I got wrong and why (it was a stupid mistake).

Also, I am planning on applying to masters programs at the following schools: NYU, UIUC, UW, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Stony Brooks, Syracuse, University of Oklahoma, SDSU, Cal Poly Pomona, and CSUSM. Do you guys think that I have a shot at these schools? If not, what programs would be matches for me?

Thank you guys for all the help this far and any future assistance. I really appreciate it.

djysyed
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: How much of a difference is the between applying for a Masters Program and a PhD program?

Postby djysyed » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:22 pm

seekingmastersadvice wrote:I read a while back that if you have a low GPA but a good enough GRE score it might interest the people reviewing the application.


This is true for the Math GRE Subject scores. Almost no one looks at the general GRE scores unless your percentiles are well below 50%.




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