Admissions FAQs (Graduate)


Mathematics Department Graduate Admissions FAQs

Please also look at Graduate Division’s Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are an international applicant, please also check UCSD’s International Students and Programs Office website.





Academic Background


General Questions


Admissions Statistics


Application Questions


Required Test Scores


International Students


Application Fee




Application Status


Other Program and Admissions Questions




Q: What are the graduate programs that the Mathematics Department offers?

A: The Mathematics Department currently offers the following programs:


Q: How do I indicate that I want to specialize in CSME or Statistics for the Ph.D. program?

A: You will apply to the Ph.D. in Mathematics program. Within your application, there is a place to indicate your preferred area of research. If you are admitted, the official degree specialization takes place after completing the specialization coursework requirements.


Academic Background


Q: What should my academic background be in order to apply to one of the programs?

A: For admission to all of our graduate programs a minimum 3.0 GPA is required, and a Bachelors degree in Mathematics or a strong background in mathematics is highly recommended. In addition to a full sequence of calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra, we strongly encourage a year’s sequence in both abstract algebra and real analysis.


Q: My undergraduate degree isn't in Mathematics. What kind of background should I have before applying to one of the programs?

A: If you have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, you should still complete advanced coursework in fundamental areas of Mathematics. At a minimum, a year’s sequence in both upper-division algebra and real analysis is very strongly recommended. These two courses are essential to the study of Mathematics.

Our titles for these courses are: Abstract Algebra (100A, 100B, 100C) and Foundations of Real Analysis (140A, 140B, and 140C). Please look at the UCSD online catalog and read the description for the 100 series and 140 series to gain additional insight about what should be covered for these topics. The catalog can be found here.

If your undergraduate institution offers more than one sequence in these two subjects, select the more rigorous offering.


General Questions


Q: When is the graduate application deadline?

A: See the Application Deadline listed at How to Apply (Graduate).


Q: Can I apply for both a Masters program and a Ph.D. program?

A: No. You may only apply to one program within the Mathematics Department.


Q: Can I apply to more than one department at UCSD?

A: Yes. Applicants will be required to pay the application fee for each application submitted or to request a fee waiver at the end of the online application. 


Q: Does the Mathematics Department admit students all year long?

A: No. We admit for the Fall quarter only.


Q: I already have a Masters or Ph.D. Can I apply for a duplicate degree?

A: UCSD very rarely allows for the duplication of advanced academic degrees (M.A., M.S., Ph.D.). A professional degree at the Masters or Doctoral level is not regarded as a duplicate of an academic degree (Au.D., D.M.A., Ed.D., M.A.S., M.B.A., M.Ed., M.Eng., M.F., M.F.A., M.I.A., M.P.I.A., M.D., Pharm.D.).

If you are applying for a duplicate degree, contact to find out if you’re eligible to apply to one of our programs and what is required in order to do so.


Q: My undergraduate degree is a 3-year degree. Can I still apply to the graduate program?

A: Your 3-year degree needs to be equivalent to a 4-year undergraduate degree in order to be considered eligible for admission to the graduate program. Upon submission of your application, one of UCSD’s credential evaluators will assess your degree and coursework to determine if it is equivalent to a 4-year degree. If you decide to have your transcript evaluated before applying, UCSD will accept ICAP evaluations from World Education Services.


Q: My GPA is not on the 4.0 scale. How will it be evaluated?

A: Many institutions, particularly those outside of the US educational system, do not grade students on a 4.0 GPA scale. Our faculty is familiar with the higher educational systems of countries all over the world and evaluates an applicant's academic performance within that individual's local context.

When applying, you do not have to convert your grades to a 4.0 scale. Instead, please indicate your overall standing and the grading scale used in the fields provided in the online application.


Q: Can I complete my graduate degree part-time?

A: Our programs are designed to be full-time due to rigorous course material, university time limits, class and exam schedules, and TA commitments.


Q: What criteria do you use for acceptance into your programs?

A: The evaluation process for applications is extremely complex, taking into account all the materials submitted with the application. GPA, GRE General Test scores, TOEFL or IELTS scores (for international students), letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose all play a role.


Admissions Statistics


Q: Am I a competitive candidate for one of your programs? What are my chances for being admitted?

A: It is not possible to evaluate an individual's chance of admission without reviewing his or her file within the context of the peer applicant pool.


Q: How many people will you accept into your programs this year? Is there an average acceptance rate?

A: We do not have a pre-set number of people that we are planning to accept, nor do we keep the statistics on acceptance rates. These numbers are not important for you as an applicant. We review all the applications submitted and consider all the required materials.


Application Questions


Q: How do I apply and what are the required materials?

A: Review the information about your chosen program, the application requirements, and application process posted here.

When you are ready to apply, you will do so through our application portal.


Q: When and where do I send my official transcript(s)?

A: For applying to our graduate programs, uploading unofficial transcripts to your application is sufficient. If you are admitted to our program, then you will be given directions on where to send your official transcript(s).


Q: Should I mail any application materials to you?

A: The application process is paperless. All application materials must be uploaded to your online application.  If you cannot upload a document for some reason, please contact for more information.


Q: My letter of recommendation will probably not be uploaded to my application until after the application submission deadline. Will my application still be considered?

A: We understand that some applications will not have letters of recommendation uploaded until after the applicant submits his/her application. Because of this, we continue to review applications throughout January and February (for Ph.D. applicants) and into March (for Masters applicants) as letters of recommendation are uploaded to applications.


Q: When is the deadline to submit my application?

A: See the Application Deadline listed at How to Apply (Graduate).


Q: Will you accept my application after the deadline?

A: No. Due to a high volume of submitted applications, we only review those submitted by the application deadline.


Required Test Scores


Q: Is the GRE General Test required?

A: You are not required to submit a GRE General test score. If you are unable to provide the GRE Mathematics Subject test score, it is strongly recommended that you submit a GRE General test score.


Q: Is the GRE Math Subject Test required?

It is strongly recommended that you submit a GRE Mathematics Subject test score. Applicants who do not submit such a score will still be considered, and may be accepted if there is solid evidence of the skills that are included in the GRE Mathematics Subject test. In case you are unable to submit the GRE Mathematics Subject test results, please include a short explanation in your application.


Q: What is the minimum required score for admission for the GRE Mathematics Subject Test?

A: Our department does not have a minimum required score for the GRE Mathematics Subject Test.


Q: What is the latest date I can take the GRE Test?

A: The GRE Test is offered many times throughout the year at testing locations, and the At Home test is available 24 hours a day. We recommend that applicants take the GRE Mathematics Subject test no later than October in order to submit scores by the application deadline.

Please check the official website for specific test dates, test locations, information on the At Home test, and registration:


Q: How/where do I send my official test scores?

A: You will need to request that ETS send your official GRE Test scores to UCSD. The institution code to use is 4836. No department code is necessary. We will receive your scores as long as you use the institution code.


Q: How long are my GRE Test scores valid for?

A: Your GRE General Test scores are valid for 5 years after your testing date.


Q: I'm an international student. Do I need to take any English proficiency exams?

A: Please see the international student section below for answers on English Language Proficiency information.


International Students


Q: Do I need to take an English proficiency exam?

A: An English language proficiency exam is required for all international applicants:

  • Who are not native English speakers and
  • Who have not studied full-time for one uninterrupted academic year at a university-level institution where English is the language of instruction and in a country where English is the dominant language.

For more information on UCSD's English Language Proficiency policy, please go here.

Q: What language exams do I need to take?

A: UCSD accepts the TOEFL, the IELTS, and the PTE Academic. More information about these exams can be found here.


Q: What are the minimum scores I need for the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic?

A: The university-wide minimum scores are:

    • TOEFL: 85 for the Internet based test (iBT) and 550 for the paper based test (PBT)
    • IELTS: Band Score 7
    • PTE Academic: Overall Score 65

Our department also looks critically at the speaking scores of the TOEFL and IELTS. It is strongly recommended to have at least a 23 speaking score on the TOEFL and a 7 speaking score on the IELTS.


Q: How/where do I send my test score?

A: For the TOEFL, you will need to request that ETS send your official score report to UCSD. The institution code to use is 4836. No department code is necessary.

IELTS and PTE Academic scores can be sent to: Graduate Admissions, Mail Code 0003, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0003.


Q: Does UCSD give conditional admission for international students?

A: No. International students must meet the university's minimum requirements, which include passing one of the English language proficiency exams or being exempt from the English Language Proficiency policy.


Application Fee


Q: What is the application fee?

A: For U.S. citizens and permanent residents the application fee is \$120. For international applicants the application fee is \$140.


Q: How do I pay the application fee?

A: Once the online application is complete, applicants will be required to either pay the application fee or request a fee waiver before the application can be submitted.


Q: How do I get a waiver for the application fee?

A: U.S. citizens and permanent residents with demonstrated financial need may request a waiver of the application fee. Please refer to the Eligibility Guidelines set by the university's Graduate Division to see if you qualify for a waiver and how to request a waiver.




Q: Do you provide funding for your graduate students?

A: For Ph.D. applicants: Students admitted to the Ph.D. program typically receive financial support for a period of five (5) years during the academic quarters. The financial support covers tuition and fees, and is most commonly in the form of a Teaching Assistant (TA) position; however, Graduate Research Assistantship (GSR) positions and other fellowship support are sometimes available as well. Both TA and GSR positions also include a salary, in addition to tuition and fee remission.

For Masters applicants: There is no guarantee of departmental financial support for Masters students. Financial support should be sought out independently. The department may have a small number of TA positions available on a quarter-by-quarter basis, but Masters students should not depend on this possibility in financing their education.

UCSD graduate students who are U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for need-based aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Need-based aid is administered through the Financial Aid Office, not the Graduate Division or the Mathematics Department.

For more information on financial aid, funding, and fellowships, please look at the Math Department's financial support page and Graduate Division's financial support page.


Application Status


Q: I have already applied to one of the programs and am waiting to hear back. When will I know if I have been admitted?

A: Applicants are accepted and rejected on a rolling basis until mid-April. Every applicant will receive notice of acceptance or rejection to our program by the end of this period.


Q: Have you received all of my application materials?

A: We will begin to review applications in December for the Ph.D. program and in February for our Masters programs. If we discover that we need any additional information from you, we will contact you directly at the email address you provided on your application.


Other Program and Admissions Questions


Q: Do you offer graduate courses online?

A: Our department does not offer any courses online.


Q: Can I defer my admission?

A: If you choose to defer admission to our program, then your application will be saved for review and consideration in the next admissions cycle. Deferring admission does not guarantee you admission for the following Fall quarter.


Q: How do I arrange a visit to the Mathematics Department?

A: Our website is rich with information and designed to answer most, if not all, of your questions. We encourage you to first review all the information posted here and on Graduate Division's website.

If you still have questions regarding the graduate program or the admissions process, contact


Q: How do I arrange to meet with Mathematics Department faculty members?

A: You will need to arrange meetings with faculty members on your own. You can obtain our faculty members' contact information and areas of research here.

If you do contact any of our faculty members, please have a very clear reason for wanting to meet with that person. Our faculty members are busy teaching and conducting research. Please respect their time.


Q: Is there an open house or an interview process involved with applying to the program?

A: We do not hold interviews as part of the admissions process.

Our department usually holds an open house in the spring for those candidates to whom we offer admission into our Ph.D. program. If you are extended an offer of admission, you will receive information about the open house as well.


Q: How do I cancel my application?

A: To cancel your application, please contact