Application procedure for Penn's Graduate Math Program
Applications to Penn's graduate mathematics program should be submitted electronically. We no longer accept hard copy application forms.
The application period runs from October through December 31, for admission the following August. During that period, the electronic application form for the Graduate Mathematics Program can be accessed here.
(1) Applicants should check that their applications are complete and correct before submitting them, since the online system does not allow changes to be made after that. Complete applications contain the following items:
Transcripts (can be unofficial at this stage)
Statement of purpose
Letters of recommendation (at least 3, at most 5)
The application form consists of these sections:
No additional writing sample is needed in the application.
Applicants should submit scores for the GRE math subject test and the TOEFL (unless exempt from that). Scores on the basic GRE test are also requested. Exemptions from the TOEFL are granted to applicants whose native language is English; to those who did their entire undergraduate studies in the United States or Canada; and to those whose spoken English skills have been adequately demonstrated to our admissions committee.
Transcripts are uploaded to the Academic Background section, after entering the other requested information there. The transcript can be unofficial. Those applicants who are admitted will be required to submit an official transcript prior to matriculating in the Penn Math Graduate Program.
If necessary, additional materials can be sent by email to the Mathematics Department's Graduate Coordinator, Reshma Tanna.
(2) The deadline for submission of applications is December 15, in the case of applications that request financial support. If some of the material related to the application (letters of recommendation or score on the GRE or TOEFL) is received a few weeks later, the application can still be considered. But since the Admissions Committee reads the files during January, and then meets near the end of January, material must arrive by then in order to be considered during the admission process.
If supplementary application materials are submitted after January 1 (whether or not financial support is being requested), a follow-up email message should be sent to the Mathematics Department's Graduate Group Chair, indicating what has been submitted. This includes letters of recommendation.
(3) In order to submit an on-line application, it is necessary to list at least three people (generally mathematics professors) as writers of letters of recommendation. Once your application is submitted, you cannot arrange for any additional letter writers (beyond those you listed in your application) to upload letters directly to the online system. Instead, if you wish to get additional letters beyond those you indicated on your application, you can ask the additional letter writers to email their letters to the Mathematics Graduate Coordinator, Reshma Tanna. In their message they should state that this letter is for your application to the Mathematics Graduate Program and that the letter should be uploaded to your application.
(4) Admissions decisions are made by the Mathematics Graduate Admissions Committee, and not by individual professors. Therefore, requests for admission should not be sent to individual members of the faculty, and instead should be submitted as indicated above. Nevertheless, applicants may wish to contact specific professors with whom they may have a particular interest in working, in order to discuss the possibility of applying and in doing research in their area (but should not send mass emails to professors).
(5) Applicants cannot be considered for possible admission (and no admission decision can be made) until an official online application form is submitted by the applicant and is received by the Mathematics Graduate Admissions Committee.
(6) Applicants may wish to visit the Penn Math Department in person, to get a better sense of the department and the graduate program. Such visits can be helpful to applicants in deciding where to apply and what offers to accept (but are not part of the Admissions Committee's decision process).
(7) Those who are admitted will be notified by email and letter. Those who are rejected will have their status indicated on the online application website. While some decisions will be made in February or early March, others will not be made until close to the uniform reply date of April 15, since our admissions committee must wait for replies from those admitted in the first round before being able to make offers to those on our waitlist.