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UG Track to a PhD

NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,702 Senior Member
D, who is a rising sophomore has always had the goal of PhD. She is a Math major who will double in either CS or Chem, with the other being a minor. Of course, we both know she might change her mind between now and her final year but what should she be doing now to line herself up for that goal?

End of year GPA is 3.95 and she is doing a 10-week faculty/student collaborative research project this summer to ensure that she enjoys doing research. Other than doing research and an internship and maintaining a GPA over 3.5, are there particular things she should be focusing on?

Replies to: UG Track to a PhD

  • halcyonheatherhalcyonheather Registered User Posts: 8,987 Senior Member
    She should develop relationships with professors so they can mentor her and write good, specific recommendation letters. In my limited experience (I'm a junior math major), it helps to focus on professors who are active researchers and have connections with other schools. I'm attending a math research program this summer, and I think I was accepted partially because my mentors are familiar with my recommender's work and saw that I was interested in it.
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,702 Senior Member
    Thank you halcyonheather. Would you mind disclosing the math research program you are doing? Is it within your current ug school?
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    She should take several higher-level, or even graduate-level, math classes and do well in them. If she has to sacrifice the double major and/or minor to do so, she should do that. (The CS one will be useful; the chem one, maybe not so much unless she has specific interests).

    Here's a list of summer NSF REUs in the mathematical sciences: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.jsp?unitid=5044

    It's also good to start thinking about a potential area of research, but I hear that it's difficult to do that in math because you don't know enough math yet before you finish college.
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