Need help Choosing for grad school


I got accepted to two math graduate programs. Both for masters and they only grant masters, not Ph.D. SUNY Potsdam (State) and University of Maine (Out of State). I was not offered TA-ship for UMAINE. Although, anything can change in the matter of next month. I was wondering if it’s worth paying for a master’s degree. How does FASFA work for grad students. I turned 25 years two months ago and when I was at CC and Four year I used to file for FAFSA but never got aid due to my Dad’s salary. I stopped getting a small aid in my second year of the four years. As most of you know, my dad’s job paid for the four-year university tuition. So the only debt I have is from Housing and meal plan. Not sure about the CC debt I think my dad has been paying that.
What are some things I should consider? Since I have the option to defer I will need to notify them I believe April for UMAINE (will double-check with the grad department) but for Potsdam, they are more flexible in terms of deadline.

SUNY Potsdam course loadout per semester (since I have to pay per credit hour tuition) :
Fall 2022: 2 courses
Spring 2023: 3 courses
Fall 2023: 2 courses; depending on what is offered I could take an extra course so in total 3
Spring 2024: 3 courses; if taken three in Fall 2023 I will only take 2

UMaine course loadout per semester (since I have to pay per credit hour tuition):
Unsure will update later today as I will be meeting with someone via zoom.

What’s the rationale for getting a masters in math? Seems to lack any value in the market, imo.

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My GPA is 2.92 and some Ph.D. programs won’t accept me so going to a master’s program first will be better. And since your master’s GPA will matter more than undergrad GPA it will make more sense to apply as a master’s .

With a sub-3.0 GPA, is a PhD a good idea?

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Math is different from other fields. If the OP got top grades in math, but poor grades in many of the required courses, they are still good to go for a math PhD. Math research is all about the ability to figure out an important unsolved problem and to find a solution to the problem. That ability is the only real thing that matters.

So a top-notch mathematician can still get a general GPA of 2.92 and have the abilities to do math research.

A Masters is a great time to figure this out.

@NASA2014 Never pay for an academic graduate degree. SO go wherever they are willing to give you financial support. So SUNY Potsdam. If you don’t have to respond now, wait until Potsdam requires a response, and see if U Maine finds the money for a TAship for you by then.

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I wouldn’t think it’s worth spending the time and money to figure out in this case.


How did you do in math courses, particularly the more theoretical and proof-heavy upper level math courses like real analysis and abstract algebra?

Price, of course, if you are funding this yourself. I think it’s best to keep costs low, and in some fields it kind of doesn’t matter where you get your MA for PhD program admissions. (In some fields it might, though - you should ask your undergrad math professors).

Since you are interested in a PhD down the line, you’ll want to see how often people from the MA programs go into PhD programs, and what kind of PhD programs they attend. You can talk to their departmental office to get more information about that, or perhaps the Director of Graduate Studies in the department.

That is why I also said that nobody should ever do an academics masters if they cannot get it funded. Sometimes reading to the end of a post saves one from the need to disagree with that post.

I did read your post. I thought, by “graduate degree”, you meant a PhD degree. A standalone master degree is highly unlikely to be funded anywhere (TAships still cost college money), especially at public universities. OP’s grades as an undergrad also make him/her even more unlikely to be awarded TAship.

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Someone from UMAINE said is very highly I will get a TA-ship. I hope to hear soon in late March or April. If not I can try again next year. I do have the option to defer for both schools I just have to let them know. I would rather go to UMAINE since the course selection is better for me.

My GPA last semester was I believe 3.78 with four A’s and one A- and one B (engineering elective course). I got two A’s in my math class and one A- (took three math courses). A professor did suggest I should have applied to the PhD program but I wasn’t sure if I was ready or even had a chance. Also, I applied really late so that is why I didn’t think of any Ph.D. programs. UMAINE had a January deadline and Potsdam didn’t have a deadline. For me going to a small university like UMAINE or Potsdam will help me grow and become a better math student. They said I should practice more on my proof writing. That is something I will be doing over the summer. Like I know how to write proof I just need more exposure since I only have taken two proof classes (Real Analysis and transformational geomtery).

I was surprised as well, but my S got a TA-ship for a Master’s at a public school.
Not sure what his undergraduate grades were like, but no Latin Honors on his diploma.

I would have to pay if I go to SUNY Potsdam. As I said, I’m not sure how FASFA works for grad students. Will I don’t have anything since I used all of my aid as an undergrad?

I got a C in real analysis but that is because I took over the summer. It was a 8 week course so not enough time to actually learn the material very well. I never took Abstract Algebra.

@nw2this my grades overall were very low in the beginning. When I was at CC, I was actually following what courses to take for the meteorology program at Penn State. So I took all of those I did okay. But it heavily impacted my GPA as time went on. When I transferred to SUNY Albany, I got my very first E (SUNY Albany calls it that for some reason is an “F” in every schools). I switched to math during the Spring 2019 semester and here I am. Very happy with my process. I’m sure If I had applied to one Ph.D. program I would probably get accepted.

I got the TA-Ship at UMAINE!! So happy :slight_smile: