Information for Prospective PhD Students

Information for Prospective PhD Students

Our jubilant graduates raise their caps on Graduation DayOur jubilant graduates raise their caps on Graduation DayPlease visit the Graduate School website for detailed information and guidance regarding the application process and its requirements. Prospective students are invited to use the online application to apply, which also provides directions for supplying required documents and other pertinent information.  

Prospective applicants who are interested in visiting the campus and meeting with a faculty member to discuss graduate and research programs are encouraged to contact Jean Radican, Senior Graduate Program Coordinator (401.863.2463).  

Frequently asked questions 

Q1: How do I apply?  
Information on the Graduate School application process can be found here:  Information for prospective graduate students in Applied Mathematics can be  found here:

Q2: When is the application deadline? 
Applications open in early fall.  The deadline to apply for the PhD program is January 4, 2021.  

Q3: If my application is missing materials, will it receive full consideration?
Applications which are missing materials will be considered, but may be at a disadvantage in regards to admission decisions.    

Q4: If I send my materials ahead of time, can someone assess my chances of admission or evaluate how I measure up to your standards for admission?
Admission to our programs depends on many factors. We cannot assess your chances of admission prior to reviewing your entire application. 

Q5: How are admission decisions made?
The Admission Committee reviews all aspects of your application, including personal statement, recommendation letters, grades, GRE scores, research experience and related original publications, etc.  There is no precise formula followed to make an admission decision, but a strong showing in the above components is likely to increase your chances of admission. 

Q6:  How does the Admission Committee view applications from alumni of University X?
The Admission Committee reviews all aspects of your application when making decisions. The fact that a candidate attended a particular University X (whether X is Brown or any other institution) does not mean that an application will be treated any differently from other applications.

Q7: When should I expect to hear results about the admission?
We expect to send the results to you before March 1. Our Graduate Coordinator,  Jean Radican, can be contacted if you need information prior to that date.

Q8: If I am admitted to the program, will I have the opportunity to visit the campus before I make my admission decision?
Yes, we will organize a common Visiting Day for all admitted students sometime in March, and make arrangements for a visit on another day, if needed, to accommodate any schedule conflicts.  

Q9: Are admissions made to a particular professor or group within the Division of Applied Mathematics?
Students are admitted to the Division of Applied Mathematics as a whole, and not to a particular professor or group. 

Q10: How many students enroll each year in your PhD program? 
Over recent years, the incoming PhD class has averaged about 12-15 students per year. The target and actual enrollment for our program varies each year based on a number of factors.  

Q11: How many international students do you admit? 
Each year, roughly half of the intake consists of international students. However, we do not have set quotas and decisions are made depending on the quality of the applicant. We are strongly committed to maintaining a fair and equitable admission process and to cultivating diversity in our student body. 

Q12: What can I do to improve my chances of admission?
Your chances of admission depend on many factors including test scores (both the TOEFL score and the regular and subject GRE scores), transcripts, recommendation letters, research experience, statement of purpose and research interests, as well as the general background of the students.  Improving any or all of these would improve your chances of admission. 

Q13: How can I find out more about a particular research group in the Division of Applied Mathematics?
Information about the research conducted in the Division can be found on the Division's webpages. If you have specific questions regarding a particular professor's research, you may e-mail that professor directly. 

Q14: I am having trouble uploading my application. I need other technical help with my application. Whom should I contact?
If you have any technical difficulties with your applications or any other administrative questions related to your application, contact  [email protected].

Q15: Do I need to have a Bachelors' degree in mathematics in order to apply for the PhD degree?
A Bachelors' degree is required, but the area does not have to be in mathematics.  Applicants are expected to have a strong background in mathematics. 

Q16: Do I need to have a Masters' degree in order to apply for the PhD degree?  
No, you only need to have a Bachelors' degree to apply for the PhD degree. However, you may also apply for a PhD degree after having completed the Masters' degree. 

Q17: What is the application fee?

A $75 application fee must be paid when an application is submitted. Applicants who want to be evaluated by more than one graduate program must submit a separate application and a separate fee for each additional program.

Q18: Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?
Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for fee waivers. (Please note that your completed application must be submitted 14 days in advance of the program’s application deadline in order to be considered for a fee waiver. Please choose the “Request a fee waiver” option as your method of payment on the payment information page.) Application fee waivers are not available for international applicants. 

Q19: Do I need to complete a financial aid application? 
Admission to our PhD program includes at least five years of guaranteed funding, including stipend, tuition, health services fee, and health insurance, for students who maintain good standing in the program.  

Q20: Are GREs required? 
For the PhD program, the GRE general test is required and the GRE (mathematics) subject test is highly recommended.  Please note that although the subject test is not required, the absence of a subject score makes determining the quality of your application more challenging.  Nevertheless, it is possible that other portions of your application, such as general GRE scores, grades, letters of recommendation, etc. may provide enough information for a decision to be made. 

Q21:  I have taken the GRE in subject area X (where X is not mathematics).  Should I include this on my application or not?

Answer:  Yes, it is in your own interests to provide as much information as you can.  The more information we have, the more likely that we will be able to assess your application accurately.

Q22: Is it necessary for me to take the TOEFL? 
Yes. The TOEFL cannot be waived unless you have completed an undergraduate or Masters degree at an accredited institution in which the medium of instruction is English in a predominantly English-speaking country (e.g., the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand). The IELTS exam can be substituted for TOEFL. 

Q23: What score on the TOEFL is needed to satisfy the admissions requirements? 
The minimum score for admission consideration is 577 on the paper-based test and 90 on the Internet-based test. For IELTS, the recommended minimum overall band score is 7. These exams should be taken early enough to allow the scores to reach the Graduate School by your program's deadline. Performance on the tests is one of many factors considered in making admission decisions. 

Q24:  I am concerned that although my GRE/TOEFL/GPA/ETS scores meet the criteria, they may be too low for me to be admitted.  Should I still apply?
Admissions decisions are based on many factors of which test scores are just one (see Q11).  It is your overall performance which will be considered, so your performance in any particular area need not preclude your application being successful.  

Q25: What are the average test scores of those admitted? We do not track and share average GRE or TOEFL scores.  

Q26: Are photocopies of GRE and TOEFL scores acceptable? 
Brown University requires official and original test scores sent by ETS.  You may self-report your test scores and  upload copies of your score report(s) into your application, prior to the reception of original test scores. 

Q27: What is the Applied Math code for GRE reporting?   3094

Q28: What is the Applied Math code for TOEFL reporting?  3094 

Q29: What is the Brown University code for ETS reporting?  3094 

Q30: Are English language tests for international students required? 
All international applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score.  Language proficiency exams are not required of those students who have earned a degree from a non-U.S. university where the primary language of instruction is English, or from a college or university in the United States, or in any of a number of countries.

Q31.  I am a senior at University X and will be applying to your program next year. Would you advise me on which classes I should take in my senior year before I apply to Brown?
We really cannot advise you on this or similar matters since we are not familiar with you or your history, and suggest that you contact an advisor at University X for advice about what choice of courses would be best for your specific circumstances. 

Q32: I am currently a PhD student at University X, and would like to transfer to the Applied Math program at Brown. How should I proceed? 
Transferring to the PhD program from the PhD program at another university happens only in very rare circumstances, and depends on many factors. It is unusual for a student's mathematical preparation to be sufficient to merit a transfer and in most cases, the student would need to start the program afresh as a new student. This is best accomplished by applying to the program as a regular applicant for admission in the following Fall.