Department of Mathematics

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is the deadline to apply for Fall admission?

A: Applications wishing full consideration (consideration for College and University fellowships) are due Dec. 1 of the previous year. Otherwise the deadline is January 20 of the same year.

Q: Do you accept applications for the Spring or Summer semester?

A: No.

Q: Do you accept applications for a Masters Degree in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics?

A: No. We accept applications only for the PhD programs in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and the Masters program in Industrial Math. This Masters program is a two year professional program unrelated to the PhD program.

Current MSU Mathematics PhD students who wish to leave the program usually can earn a Masters Degree, (Meeting the degree requirements for these students is typically not difficult). PhD students at MSU in other programs (for example, Statistics) can apply for admittance to a Masters Degree program.

Q: Should I mail paper copies of my application materials to the Graduate School?

A: No. All materials must be submitted electronically. The Graduate School will not accept paper copies.

Q: What materials am I required to upload?

A: The following items will be needed:

  • Transcript(s). Unofficial copies are accepted for evaluation, official copies will be required if admitted.
  • Personal Statement
  • Academic Statement
  • CV or Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation, uploaded by your letter writers.
  • GRE General Test Scores. Unofficial copies are accepted for evaluation; official copies will be required if admitted. Scores must not be older than five years.
  • GRE Math Subject Test Score. Unofficial copies are accepted for evaluation, official copies will be required if admitted. Score must not be older than five years.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores. Unofficial copies of English proficiency examinations are required for non-native English language speakers. Official copies will be required if admitted.
  • If possible, choose an research area.

Q: Can I submit my application without the GRE Math Subject Test Score?

A: Yes. However we strongly recommend taking the GRE math subject exam. US citizens and lawful permanent residents with GRE math subject test score in the top 50 percentile will have the MSU graduate school application fee waived or reimbursed.

Q: Will my application be considered without the GRE Math Subject Test Score?

A: Yes. On rare occasions, we have accepted a student without the subject test, when we had sufficient proof of mathematical excellence. If you are applying without the subject test be sure to include copies of any research from a senior thesis, masters thesis or REU experience.

Q: My TOEFL speaking, reading or listening score is below 19 or my writing score is below 22 will my application still be considered?

A: No, we cannot accept an application with unsatisfactory TOEFL scores. If your TOEFL scores do not meet University requirements please retake the TOEFL exam.

Q: What is your institution code for the GRE/TOEFL?

A: 1465 = Michigan State University

Q: When will my application be reviewed?

A: Applicants that have submitted by Dec. 1 will be reviewed for University and College fellowships in December. If nominated by the department for such a fellowship the applicant will be accepted usually in January. We will carefully read the files of all applicants not nominated for University and College fellowships in January and February.

Q: When and how will I hear about a decision on my application?

A: Since we support all of the students we admit, the number we admit depends on the amount of money available to us. In December, we will decide on the students to nominate for University and College fellowships. In January and February we will start to inform students who we have accepted. We may accept more if some of our initial offers are declined, so the process may continue for some time. Applicants are notified of decisions via email.

Q: Do you provide any financial aid or scholarships?

A: We support PhD students only, with a living stipend and tuition waiver. In the first year, our students all have a teaching reduction fellowship; i.e., no teaching duties though there are some tutoring duties in the Math Help Room. Teaching/TA duties are required after the first year.

Q: How many students do you admit?

A: We admit 15-20 students per year.

Q: Can I visit your department?

A: Admitted students, residing in the US, will be invited to a campus visit in the Spring. Anyone is welcome to visit the department at their own expense.

Q: Where can I find your requirements for the PhD?

A: Requirements, including descriptions of basic courses and information on qualifying exams can be found in the Handbook for Graduate Students in Mathematics.

Q: Where can I find answers if I have more questions about the Department of Mathematics and your programs?

A: See our web page.

Q: Where can I find answers if I have more questions about the online application system or the Graduate School's admissions policies?

A: Please review the Graduate School's FAQ page, their admissions page, or contact the MSU Graduate School.


Doctoral Degrees in Mathematics

  1. Ph.D. Degree in Mathematics
  2. Ph.D. Degree in Applied Mathematics
  3. Dual Ph.D. Degree

The Master's Degree in Mathematics

  1. Master of Science Degree in Industrial Mathematics
  2. Master of Science Degree in Mathematics*
  3. Master of Science Degree with Concentration in Applied Mathematics*
  4. Master of Arts for Teachers Degree**

* These degrees are open only to students currently enrolled in a PhD program at MSU

** This program is currently being revised.


Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Road
C212 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 353-0844
Fax: (517) 432-1562

College of Natural Science