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Graduate Application FAQs

Graduate Application FAQs

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You will need to compose a CV/resume, statement of purpose, and list of upper-division (junior, senior, and graduate level) courses taken with textbooks used. You may want to inform the three individuals you have selected to provide recommendations that they will receive email invitations to submit letters of recommendation. Finally, you will need unofficial or official transcripts of academic work from all colleges or universities attended. This includes post-baccalaureate and non-degree-seeking work. Please note OSU's "unofficial" transcript requirements before submitting your transcripts.

All applications must be submitted online through the OSU Graduate School's online application system. We do not accept paper applications and we do not evaluate application materials sent by email.

Each year we receive between 100-150 applications. Applications are first reviewed by the department for completeness, and applicants with incomplete applications are prompted to submit missing documents. Next, every complete application is carefully reviewed by at least three members of the Graduate Committee, and a ranking order is established after discussion by the entire committee. About 15-20 applicants are accepted on a rolling basis following the ranking order, until all admitted students have accepted or declined to come. While some GTA offers are made before April 15, many offers are made after this date, as applicants typically apply to multiple programs and decide around April 15. See more at the graduate applications review page.

It is very important that you check the email listed on your application regularly. We may contact you several times during the application process regarding any of the following: application completeness, application clarification, Skype meetings or campus visits, fellowship/scholarship nominations, continued interest in our program, or acceptance information. Generally, if we do not hear from applicants, we assume they are no longer interested in OSU and move on to the next applicant in the ranking order; so please check your email frequently and respond promptly.

Application materials required for all applicants

  • Full completion of Graduate School online application
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV/resume
  • List of upper-division courses in mathematics, with brief course descriptions and textbooks used
  • 3 recommendations from qualified individuals
  • GRE general exam scores (optional)
  • GRE mathematics subject exam scores (optional)

Additional application materials required for international applicants

We look at the applications holistically, i.e., do not have/publish cut-off GPA/GRE/TOEFL scores. However, the minimum GPA requirements are posted on Graduate School's website. For TOEFL/IELTS, these are posted here.

Unfortunately, we cannot comment on the hypothetical success of your application. Questions of these sort are more appropriate for an undergraduate academic advisor or faculty mentor at your current institution. Please do not send CVs, resumes, transcripts, or other materials by email unless we ask you to do so. We do not evaluate ad-hoc requests for assessment of application success. We can answer only whether you meet the minimum requirements for application, and we will only review completed applications. Successful applications typically demonstrate multiple elements of strong academic success or potential among the several application requirements listed on our application instructions page.

If you have a Master's degree in mathematics, you should apply to the PhD program (OSU's Graduate School discourages a second Master's degree in the same field). If you do not have a Master's degree in mathematics, you should consider your long-term career goals as well as your preparation. If you are unsure about these, then your fit is better for the Master's. If you are sure, and your application demonstrates this, apply to the PhD program.

Typically we do not, since many of our introductory core course sequences are designed to run from Fall through Spring. Additionally, funded admittance in terms other than Fall is extremely rare. Those requiring admissions in Winter or Spring term for extraordinary and unusual circumstances are advised to discuss this with the Graduate Committee before applying by sending us an email.

For technical problems with the online application system, please contact Graduate Admissions. Questions specific to the Mathematics program should be directed to the Mathematics Graduate Committee.

It is possible to apply after the deadline of January 5, but priority consideration for admission, assistantships, and scholarships is given to applicants who apply before or on January 5. You should consider carefully before submitting a late application. In particular, applications submitted after April 15 are usually not successful.

The Graduate School offers many useful tips and resources for determining how to finance your education. OSU has a variety of scholarships and fellowships, including Graduate School awards and college-based fellowships. See the Graduate School's page for more details on scholarships, and please inform us if you believe you meet the requirements of any of these awards.

See also an explanation about a working scholarship, the Graduate Teaching Assistant appointments that our department offers to some students. How to apply? During the online application process, you will be asked to indicate whether you want to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship. If you indicate yes on either, you will be considered for an assistantship if you are admitted. There is no separate application.

Some scholarships for students of particular backgrounds are available from the Graduate School. Please inform us if you believe you meet the requirements of any of these awards.

The Graduate School and Mathematics Department are able to grant application fee waivers in some circumstances. If you are a McNair scholar, Project 1000 applicant, Gates Millenium scholar, or MARC* STAR Participant, please see this Graduate School page about requesting an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers must be completed prior to starting the application.

If you meet any of the Graduate School’s listed exemptions from the English language requirements, your TOEFL/IELTS requirements will be waived automatically. Please read the list carefully to determine whether you meet one or more of these conditions. If you are not eligible for any of these exemptions and do not meet the university requirements with your TOEFL/IELTS score, you are unlikely to be admitted to our program. We recommend you retake and improve your TOEFL/IELTS score until it reaches the minimum required score.

Waivers may be requested in extremely rare circumstances, when applicants are able to provide verifiable evidence of single-author publications in English or extensive teaching with English as the language of instruction. The Mathematics Graduate Committee may also consider interviewing applicants via Skype to determine their proficiency. In the unlikely event that applicants are able to demonstrate proficiency higher than the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score, they may be accepted under conditional English admission (which requires in some cases up to one year of English study to develop proficiency). More information about this situation is available from International Graduate Admissions. Please note that waivers are not a priority for the department, and will be pursued only when an applicant has a strong application with an excellent fit to our program.

We advise applicants who have tested below the required university scores not to apply directly to our program before retaking and improving their TOEFL/IELTS, as their applications have a very low chance of success. However, while we do not expect these applications to be successful, all applications completed before the deadline will be considered.

Applicants with strong backgrounds in the mathematical sciences are typical; but we can (and have) admitted students from other fields who have demonstrated proficiency or potential for proficiency in mathematics. In particular we look for applicants who have taken core upper division mathematics classes in introductory real analysis such as OSU’s MTH 311 & MTH 312, Advanced Calculus and introductory abstract algebra such as OSU’s MTH 343, Intro to Modern Algebra. We also look for familiarity with linear algebra such as that given in OSU’s MTH 341 & 342, Linear Algebra I & II.

No. You may upload copies of your official transcripts, which are considered unofficial by OSU. However, if you are admitted to OSU, you will need to send official transcripts to the Graduate School. During the application process, an unofficial transcript will suffice. The unofficial transcript must include your name, the college or university name, the degree(s) earned or in progress, and a transcript key with grading scale, and must be a copy of an official transcript. Please note that a web printout (such as an unofficial transcript you have accessed and printed online) is not considered an unofficial transcript; the unofficial transcript must originate from your institution(s). Please contact Graduate Admissions if you are unsure whether your unofficial transcript meets these requirements.

Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded directly to your online application. If you are unable to upload a copy of a transcript, your official transcript must be sent directly to OSU. Please have it mailed to

Graduate School
Graduate Admissions
Heckart Lodge
2900 Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331-2106

Recommendation letters from outside academia are not recommended unless the individual recommending has firsthand knowledge of your mathematical and academic abilities.

Submission of GRE scores is optional. If you do have GRE scores to submit, you may submit photocopies or PDF reports of GRE scores instead of originals, as long as the reports show your name, the date the test was taken, and all scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing, and any relevant subject scores). We reserve the right to request official scores if there is any concern about score validity.

All GRE scores are considered by the Graduate Committee.

A score on the GRE subject exam in Mathematics is optional.

Your personal statement should include an explanation of why you want to study math and why you want to study math at OSU. Many applicants mention the fields of mathematics that interest them; this helps to determine your fit to the program.

A writing sample is not required for application, but you are welcome to include one.

First check with the department that hosted your classes: they may provide syllabi that includes textbook information. If this request is unsuccessful, you should contact the Graduate Committee for advice on how to proceed. We may contact your undergraduate department(s) to secure this information if you cannot provide it.

During the online application process, you will be asked to indicate whether you want to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship. If you indicate yes on either, you will be considered for an assistantship if you are admitted. There is no separate application.

Any time after your application is submitted, you may send an email to or to request that your application be canceled or deferred.

You may check your application status through the online application system at any time. You may also send an email to the Graduate Coordinator. Keep in mind that you will hear from OSU as soon as a decision has been made on your application. If we are able to provide further information, we will try to send occasional updates as the process continues.

You will be notified in writing when a decision on your application has been made. Application decisions begin in January and continue through Spring term, but the decision process may extend later in some circumstances. The deadline of April 15 for acceptance of financial support offers is held by OSU and many CGS member institutions; further offers may be issued shortly after that date.

You can upload PDF files/copies of your test scores and such when you apply. As stated at Graduate School Process website, If admitted you will be required to submit official documentation of all academic work attempted or completed prior to registration for courses. This includes all official transcripts/academic records, degree statements, test scores, etc. A list of required documents will be included on your formal letter of admission from the Graduate School. See also statement above about transcripts.

Unfortunately, due to a large volume of applications, at this time Graduate Committee is not able to organize visits of students who have not yet been accepted to our graduate program; this includes students who have not yet applied. Of course, anyone interested in visiting Oregon State can visit campus.

Some applicants whose English skills are not strong enough to take TOEFL and GRE, can consider Graduate Pathways for MS in Mathematics. See the INTO program website.

For any questions not answered above, contact us at any time at (541) 737-5133, or by email.