LSU College of Science
LSU  | Mathematics

Admission Frequently Asked Questions

Contact


All inquiries about our graduate program are warmly welcomed and answered daily:
grad@math.lsu.edu

  1. When is the deadline for applying?
  2. What is the application fee and can it be waived?
  3. Is it necessary to have a master's degree before applying to the PhD program?
  4. Do I need to know my research area when I apply?
  5. What kind of information should I include in the Statement of Purpose?
  6. How are applications evaluated?
  7. What does the average successful applicant's profile look like concerning GRE scores, grades, etc.?
  8. What are the ETS code numbers for submitting GRE and TOEFL scores?
  9. When can I expect a decision on my application?
  10. If I am offered an assistantship, when will I have to give my decision?
  11. I have been placed on the wait list for an assistantship. When can I expect to learn more?
  12. I'd like to work with a particular professor. Can I be admitted as that professor's student?
  13. When and how do you choose an advisor? How difficult is it to switch advisors?
  14. How long does it take to get a PhD?
  15. Who is required to submit scores on the TOEFL or IELTS?
  16. Whom should I contact if i have more questions?

  1. When is the deadline for applying?
    The application should be completed, including all supporting documents, by January 15 if you wish to be considered for available math department financial aid (an assistantship or fellowship), The Math Department begins evaluating application files in late January. Applications completed after January 15 will still be considered for admission, and even for financial support, if it is still available. The Graduate School deadline for applying for admission for fall semester is May 15.
  2. What is the application fee and can it be waived?
    The application fee is $70 for international applicants and $50 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The fee must be paid via credit card through the online application portal. The fee is required by the Graduate School and it cannot be waived by the Math Department. It is important to note that your application is not seen by the LSU Math Department or the Graduate School Admissions office until the application fee is paid and the application has been submitted.
  3. Is it necessary to have a master's degree before applying to the PhD program?
    No, you may apply directly to the PhD program without a master's degree. If your ultimate interest is in the PhD degree, then you should apply for the PhD program. If you background is inadequate, you can be initially assigned to the MS program, and then switch to the PhD program after you have filled in the gaps in your background
  4. Do I need to know my research area when I apply?
    No. It is common the spend the first 2 years taking classes, passing the qualifying exams and developing your mathematical interests before committing to a research area and dissertation advisor.
  5. What kind of information should I include in the Statement of Purpose?
    The Statement is your opportunity to explain your reasons for pursuing graduate study in mathematics, and to let us get a sense of who you are. You may mention any relevant facts about your education or experience with mathematics that are not apparent in the other materials you submit. Please tell us about any special experiences you have had, such as participation in REU programs, study abroad, or research projects. You might want to note what kind of mathematics you find interesting and wish to pursue in graduate school, and what you plan to do after obtaining a Ph.D. It may include information about your background, interests, or career goals, and how LSU might help you meet those career and educational goals. There is no specific length, but one or two pages should be adequate.
  6. How are applications evaluated?
    The Mathematics Department evaluates applications for admission and financial aid holistically. We seek applicants with strong academic preparation and motivation for graduate study in mathematics. The letters of recommendation, transcripts and information on mathematics courses taken, and students' self--reported mathematical interests and experiences, including the statement of purpose, receive especially close attention.

    The Department has a Graduate Committee that represents all the broadly defined research areas of the Department. This Committee reads the application files closely, paying attention to the availability in the department of suitable research areas for each applicant, and to the overall balance of the incoming class.
  7. What does the average successful applicant's profile look like concerning GRE scores, grades, etc.?
    Decisions on applications and financial support are competitive, and quantifiable data are only a part of the evaluation process. That being said, the minimum GPA for admission is 3.0 (out of 4.0), there is no minimum GRE score, and for international students the minimum TOEFL score is 79 on the internet based test. We look at the entire application package, and although there are minimums (for GPA and TOEFL), the average values of successful applicants are higher. For recent classes, the averages of quantifiable data are:
    • GRE Verbal: 156
    • GRE Quantitative: 163
    • GRE Writing Test: 3.7
    • TOEFL IBT: 98
    • Undergraduate GPA: 3.6
  8. What are the ETS code numbers for submitting GRE and TOEFL scores?
    The LSU institutional code is 6373 and the Mathematics department/major field code is 0703. For reporting TOEFL scores, our department code is 72.
  9. When can I expect a decision on my application?
    There are two different decisions:
    • Admission
      The Math Department recommends to the Graduate School whether an applicant should be accepted. The Graduate School makes the formal decision on admission and will send out the notice of acceptance. The Graduate School will follow the Department's recommendation except in those cases where the applicant does not satisfy the minimum Graduate School criteria for admission (domestic criteria, international criteria).
    • Financial Aid
      Decisions on financial aid are made by the Department, and you will hear from us concerning an offer of financial aid. Our department normally sends its first-round offers of assistantships or fellowships during the month of February. At this time we will also place those deemed acceptable for admission on a waiting list for any possible additional offers of financial aid when some of those initially offered support decline our offer. You will be noticed by the Department if you have been placed on the waiting list.
  10. If I am offered an assistantship, when will I have to give my decision?
    All Ph.D. program offers have a due date of April 15, to decide about whether or not you will be accepting the offer. After that, the offer expires. This is the uniform reply date established by Council of Graduate Schools in the United States. Applicants should be aware that they do not have to reply to offers from other US Ph.D. programs until that date. But for the sake of other applicants, it is best to inform us, as well as any other programs to which you have been admitted, once you have made a decision about whether you will accept that offer. That way, another applicant can be offered your spot if you decline.

    If you are offered an assistantship after April 15, then the offer will contain a date by which you must decide to accept or decline.

  11. I have been placed on the wait list for an assistantship. When can I expect to learn more?
    Those who receive an offer of financial aid have until April 15 to decide if they will accept it. This is a date established by a Council of Graduate Schools Resolution to ensure that students have adequate time to compare offers from different schools. This means that decisions from recipients of our initial offers may not be received until early April, and until those decisions are final, we cannot make offers to those on the waiting list. Occasionally a late opening remains to be filled even after April 15th. Every year in recent memory, we have made offers of financial support to some applicants who were initially placed on the waiting list.
  12. I'd like to work with a particular professor. Can I be admitted as that professor's student?
    The LSU Math Department does not assign students to dissertation advisors when they are admitted. Instead, we assign a preliminary advisor,called a faculty mentor, and then after a student has passed qualifying exams (usually after one or two years in the program, but in rare cases some students pass when they first arrive), the student chooses a faculty member to be the student's dissertation advisor (with the advisor's consent, of course).
  13. When and how do you choose an advisor? How difficult is it to switch advisors??
    You will be assigned an initial academic advisor, called a faculty mentor, when you first come to LSU. This will most likely be someone in an area of mathematics that you have indicated as your area of interest. After you have completed your initial registration, and at any point in your academic career, you may change your faculty mentor with the consent of the faculty member selected. There is no formal process for changing mentors except that you need to notify the Director of Graduate Studies when a change has been made. After a dissertation advisor has been chosen, the dissertation advisor will serve as the academic advisor.
  14. How long does it take to get a PhD?
    The average time is approximately 5.7 years
  15. Who is required to submit scores on the TOEFL or IELTS?
    If your native language is not English, and you have not received a degree from an institution in an English speaking country, then you must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. For more details about this Graduate School requirement, see the prospective student frequently asked questions on the Graduate School web site.
  16. Whom should I contact if i have more questions?
    Please send all inquiries to grad@math.lsu.edu.