Department of Mathematics
Frequently asked questions: applying to the program.
When are the deadlines for applying to the program and what is the process?
For Fall admission, the application deadline is generally May 1st. For Spring admission, the application deadline for degree students is generally November 15 the preceding Fall. Applications are processed as they are received, so applying early generally means finding out earlier and thus being able to plan better. The application forms and process, as well as the current official deadlines, are available at the CCNY Graduate Admissions webpage. Note that applications are not sent to the Department of Mathematics until they are complete, so make sure that all of the application components are sent in in a timely manner. Particularly, reference letters and official transcripts from other countries may take a while to arrange so plan ahead.
Applications for the M.S. program are submitted electronically, and the first step is to create an application on the Graduate Admissions webpage.
The application deadlines for non-degree students are later than those for degree students. Those are generally due shortly before classes begin each semester, and the application is much less involved, needing only a short form and unofficial undergraduate transcripts. Though the deadline is later, nevertheless it is a good idea to plan ahead to ensure that things go smoothly.
I missed the application deadline for degree students, what should I do?
One possibility is to apply to be a non-matriculated student and begin taking graduate courses for which prerequisites have already been met. Then apply again, to become a matriculated student in a later semester. Up to 12 credits of graduate coursework taken as a non-matriculated student may be applied towards the eventual graduate degree.
What are the various types of admission?
Students who are interested in the MS in Mathematics degree need to apply to become matriculated students. Matriculated means working towards a specific degree. Students who appear promising but who have not yet met all of the requirements for admission may be admitted conditionally, with the condition being that they complete the requirements, perhaps by taking suitable courses at CCNY. Students who miss the application deadlines for admission to the program or who need significant undergraduate prerequisites can apply as non-matriculated graduate students and begin to take courses, if accepted, with non-matriculated status. They will need to then apply again for admission to the degree program and, assuming they make progress towards the degree requirements, up to 3 courses (12 graduate credits) of graduate work completed as non-matriculated student can be applied towards the degree requirements for the MS in Mathematics degree.
Do I need to take the GRE?
No, our program doesn't require it. If you have taken the GRE exams, you may submit your scores but they are not required.
What do I need to apply?
For application to be a matriculated student, you need at least two letters of reference, official transcripts, a statement of purpose, a form, and possibly a TOEFL exam score.
For application to be a non-matriculated student, the procedure is changing to use the online system. We are working to find out more about how this will work. Formerly, you merely needed to fill out a one-page form available from the CCNY non-degree student page and to show undergraduate transcripts to a Mathematics Graduate Advisor. The one-page application form and instructions are available here and also somewhere on the Graduate Admissions webpages. There is also an online application available for non-matriculated ("non-degree") graduate students."
Do you have any other graduate programs?
Not at this time, but there have been preliminary discussions about developing a new graduate program in Mathematical Finance. We are gauging interest in such a program at this time and welcome input from potential students via email to a Graduate Advisor.
I'd like to apply, where can I get the forms?
The application forms and process are on the CCNY Admissions webpage.
Note that graduate applications are now electronically submitted, for the graduate program. Students applying for non-matriculated status still use the paper form, but that may change in the future. See this admissions page to begin the process for applying for matriculation. Non-matriculated students should use that webpage as well, but for the personal statement just put "Not Applicable" and also for letters of reference. The old non-matriculated graduate student application form and instructions are available here and also somewhere on the Graduate Admissions webpages.
What should I say in my Personal Statement?
The statement of purpose is your opportunity to address why you are interested in our program. If you have been away from school, or interested in something else, this is the natural place to explain why you are interested in getting a degree in mathematics. If there are particular aspects of mathematics that interest you, this is also an opportunity to mention those.
Whom should I ask to write my letters of reference?
The most helpful letters for evaluation are from mathematicians who know your mathematical abilities well. For example, recent instructors of courses where mathematical proofs are a large part of the course are generally the most valuable. If those aren't possible, letters from mathematicians from a while ago or letters from professional settings are a reasonable choice. Many of our applicants have been away from campus for some years, and a letter from a professor saying "I don't remember much about the student from twelve years ago but my records show that they did fine in my class" is that helpful, and a from a letter from a recent non-academic professional supervisor can be somewhat helpful but is less likely to be able to comment effectively on a student's current academic potential.
I'm an international student. What are the TOEFL requirements?
The program has absolute minimum TOEFL score requirements. The TOEFL exam is available in several forms, and the absolute minimum scores are 500 on the written exam or 61 on the internet based exam. See the CCNY Admissions requirements webpage for more information. The TOEFL is not required for students from countries where English is the official language, for permanent residents of the U.S. or individuals who have been granted official refugee or asylum status, or for students who have a degree from an institution in a country where English is the official language. Note that this is an absolute minimum score- communication in English is an important part both of understanding the mathematics in our program and in completing its work, and students whose English skills are weak often are not accepted if they do not have excellent mathematical preparation.
I'm an international student. My primary language of instruction wasn't English. Can my reference letters be in that language?
No, the letters of reference must be in English or English translations must be provided as well.
The application fee is $125, that seems like a lot. Do I have to pay it?
We agree that the fee is high and in fact do not know of any other mathematics programs outside of CUNY with an application fee that high, including doctoral programs and programs at private institutions. If the fee is a hardship, you can ask to have it waived. As far as we know, every time that someone has asked for the fee to be waived, it has been waived.
I see the information about the Rich Award scholarships. What do I need to do to apply?
Nothing. Students who apply for admission are automatically considered for the Rich Graduate Fellowships, $5000 awards for full-time students. If you anticipate being a full-time student, it may be helpful to let the graduate advisors know as that information is not requested on the graduate application forms.
I am expecting to be admitted conditionally at best, as I have not yet completed a full year of undergraduate real analysis courses. Will I be competitive for a Rich Graduate Fellowship?
Those Barrett and Jean Holland Rich Graduate Fellowships for new incoming graduate students generally go to students who are admitted unconditionally and who have demonstrated excellence in their mathematical records.
I need to take some undergraduate real analysis courses to catch up. Are those courses offered during the summer?
Generally not, as the summer course offerings at CCNY are focused on lower-level courses such as calculus. There are math education courses offered during the summer but those are not appropriate for mathematics students. Sometimes Hunter College of CUNY offers their Math 351 course during the summer, which is somewhat comparable to our Math 32300 and it may be worth checking their schedule. Students interested in improving their undergraduate probability and statistics expertise for prerequisites to the graduate class may be interested in taking those during the summer, if offered at CCNY or other CUNY campuses.
I was conditionally admitted. Can I start taking graduate courses right away or do I need to wait?
Yes, possibly. There may be graduate courses offered which have the courses you may need to take (typically 32300 and 32404) as prerequisites which would not be good to take, but there may also be some graduate courses which do not require them or where it may be possible to take 32404 at the same time, as a co-requisite.
I was conditionally admitted. How long do I have to satisfy the conditions of my admission?
As should be stated on your acceptance letter, you have one year to satisfy the conditions of your matriculation, so do not postpone taking the required courses and doing well in them.
I am a newly admitted student. What do I need to do?
There are several steps. You should claim your CUNY First account if you do not already have one, and record your EMPLID as that is your student identifier. You will need to meet with one of the graduate advisors before you can register for class, so check their webpages for office hour availability. To plan your courses, you can consult the CUNY First classes page, then by selecting “CCNY” “Fall 2015” “Mathematics” “Course number contains a 0” and deselecting “show open courses only" to see the available times and courses. It is also sometimes helpful to look up what textbooks were used in your advanced undergraduate courses before meeting with a Graduate Advisor as those can be helpful with assessment of your preparation.
I took some graduate mathematics courses already at another institution. May I transfer those to count for a CCNY M.S. degree?
No, you may not. Though it is possible in some situations for undergraduate courses to transfer from one institution to another to count for credit and meeting degree requirements, that is not possible for graduate courses at CCNY (with the possible exceptions of CUNY courses via the epermit process taken with a CCNY advisor's advance permission.) It is sometimes helpful to take other courses at other institutions which may fulfill prerequisite requirements for later courses at CCNY, but it is never possible to have such non-CUNY courses count towards CUNY graduate degree requirements.