Graduate Frequently Asked Questions
Application and Preparation
How much mathematics and statistics should I know to qualify for admission?
Students who apply should have the equivalent of a mathematics minor. They should have taken two semesters of single variable calculus in high school or college, and it is essential that they have taken full courses in multivariable (vector) calculus and linear algebra and done well in them (B or better). Additional courses in mathematics and statistics are desirable. These can be as varied as additional mathematical courses (e.g. Differential Equations, Number Theory, Complex Variables) or courses in another discipline that have substantial mathematical content (e.g. econometrics, operations research, game theory). Applicants should also know elementary concepts of statistics, at the level of a general introductory course for non-specialists.
I am not sure how well I am prepared for the course work. What do you recommend?
You can email (firstname.lastname@example.org) us a list of relevant courses that you have taken. Please tell us your grade and when you took the class.
I have only taken Calculus I and Calculus II. Can I get admitted to this program?
You should not submit an application at this time, but rather contact us to tell us your level or preparation. A good way to get prepared for the program is to take these courses at a local college before applying. Many community colleges offer these courses at convenient times. Georgetown University also offers these courses through its School of Continuing Studies during the summer. We’ll work with you to prepare a plan. You should also refresh your Calculus knowledge before enrolling in these courses, e.g. by going over your old notes or by spending some time working with a Calculus textbook.
I am currently taking Linear Algebra at a college nearby. Can I apply for admission before I have completed this course?
Yes, please advise us by email of your plans and your progress. You may end up getting provisionally admitted under the condition that you complete this course successfully (e.g. with a B+ or better).
I took Econometrics in college, and we did a good deal of matrix algebra in that course. Am I prepared adequately?
Ordinarily this is not sufficient preparation. Please contact the program by email, and submit some of the material or a syllabus from the course so that we can make a detailed assessment. You will still need to know Multivariable Calculus to enroll.
Is there a minimum GPA for applicants?
The Graduate School expects a B-average (3.0 or better) for applicants. We want to make sure that entering students can meet or come close to this requirement. For a successful application, evidence of success (A-grades) in advanced mathematics or statistics courses is even more important. If the application shows this, a student with a slightly lower GPA may still have a chance of admission.
Planning Your Courses
How many courses can I take at a time?
Three courses per semester is the normal load for full time students. Part time students may take either one or two courses per semester. Working full time and taking three graduate courses is not permitted.
How long can I take to complete the degree?
Graduate school rules state that students admitted to a master’s degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree. Talk to your advisor if you think you might take longer, since there are ways to get an extension.
Will there be advisors for graduate students?
Entering students will be advised by the Director of Graduate Studies in the first semester. After the first semester each new student will be assigned a permanent advisor.
Does the department offer graduate courses during the summer?
We usually offer an elective course during the summer, alternating between courses in statistics (odd years) and applied mathematics (even years). The summer course typically meets twice a week in the early evening for eight weeks in June and July. You may also find electives that are offered by other departments during the summer and you can take summer courses through the Consortium.
I plan to continue working full time. How long can I take to complete the degree?
You are expected to complete the degree within three years from matriculation. If this becomes difficult, talk to your advisor, because there are ways to get an extension. The coursework can be completed by taking one or two courses per semester for three years.
How easy is it to take courses in other departments?
In most cases, there are some barriers for Mathematics & Statistics graduate students who wish to take courses in other departments. Departments may have rules that restrict access to their courses. You should always contact the instructor to request permission to enroll in a course offered by another department and to find out about prerequisites and restrictions.
Is it possible to take the Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics courses out of sequence?
We strongly recommend that you take Probability Theory first and then Mathematical Statistics. Also, it is recommended that Mathematical Statistics be taken soon after Probability Theory.
Is it possible to take the Math 502 Deterministic Models and Math 504 Numerical Methods courses out of sequence?
It is preferable for most students to take Math 502 Deterministic Models first.
When are the core courses offered?
Probability Theory (Math-501) is offered in the fall and Mathematical Statistics (Math-503) is offered in the spring. Deterministic Models (Math-502) and Numerical Methods (Math-504) are offered each semester. No course can ever be completely guaranteed, and cancellation is possible if enrollment is insufficient.
What is the typical enrollment in a graduate class?
Enrollment ranges from about 20-30 students in popular sections of core courses down to about 10-15 students in certain elective courses.
Will I be able to get a seat in the course I want to take?
We are trying to make sure that this is always possible, subject of course to a student satisfying the prerequisites for a given class. Some core courses (Math-501 and Math-503) are offered in multiple sections, and at least one of these sections will have room. Other core courses (Math-502 and Math-504) are offered every semester, and you may have to wait a semester to take one of these courses if it is currently full. We will help you plan your studies around such bottlenecks and will make sure that your graduation is not delayed. As in all universities, schedule conflicts are inevitable. Although the program attempts to avoid conflicts by constructing course schedules for the most typical students, courses will sometimes conflict and force the students to make a choice.
Can I take elective courses before completing the four core courses?
Yes, this is possible, depending on the prerequisites for the elective course. Usually, there is at least one elective course each semester that is accessible to new students or to students who have only been in the program for one semester. Please contact the instructor of the elective course if you have questions.
I have taken graduate courses elsewhere. What are the rules for transferring credit?
The graduate school allows students to transfer up to 25% of the curriculum for qualifying graduate courses from other institutions. It is important that you contact us by email to determine which of your courses qualify. We will require details such as a syllabus, information about the textbooks that were used, etc. Only courses that are legitimately graduate level, as indicated by the corresponding school bulletin, and have not been used to satisfy requirements for a previous degree are available to transfer.
There is a course at another university in the Washington DC area that I would like to take. Can I do this?
Students enrolled in a Graduate School degree program may enroll for graduate level courses through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, provided the courses are not available at Georgetown University. You must obtain permission from this program, the Georgetown Graduate Dean, and the visited institution, and you cannot register for a Consortium course during Early Registration. Detailed rules are available on the Graduate School webpage. If you took a class at another area institution directly (not through the Consortium), you can ask for transfer of credit, subject to the 25% limit on transfer credit. The total of all transfer and consortium courses may not exceed 25% of the curriculum that is counted towards graduation. In addition, transfer and consortium courses do not count toward the Georgetown grade point average.
Can I take courses in the Biostatistics and Epidemiology department to satisfy the degree requirements?
The Biostatistics courses BIST-510 (Probability and Sampling) and BIST-511 (Statistical Inference) may be taken instead of the core courses MATH-501 (Probability Theory) and MATH-503 (Mathematical Statistics). In addition, courses such as Statistical Modeling I and II may be taken as electives. Contact the instructors of these courses before enrolling. Other elective courses offered by the BIST program may also satisfy requirements for our program. Look at the Courses webpage for details.
How does an internship actually work?
An internship takes place off campus, at a location and in an environment that is usually not connected to Georgetown University. Summer internships are usually full-time and normally last about eight weeks. They may continue into the academic year on a part-time basis. Internships during the academic year are usually part-time. The graduate program will help students find internships with external partners, according to their interests and time constraints. Students are also encouraged to find internships on their own. Internships do not carry academic credit.
Will I be able to choose between different internships?
Yes, students have had choices between internships in the past.
Can I get paid for an internship?
Interns are usually paid for their work. However, there is no guarantee. Keep in mind that the financial benefit of an internship may come later – when you apply for a job and can point to past experience.
What kind of financial assistance is available for students?
The program offers a few scholarships, that is, reduced tuition. There are some opportunities for student employment.
Can I become a teaching assistant?
We do not have formal positions for teaching assistants, but we do hire a few teaching assistants on an hourly basis.
What other possibilities are there for student employment?
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics regularly hires graders and tutors. There are also other opportunities for student employment, ranging from work in the library to work for an administrative department at Georgetown University.
Will I receive an automatic offer of financial assistance when I get admitted?
We can only offer scholarships to a few candidates for admission, not to all.
If I don’t receive an offer for a scholarship upon admission, will I have another chance once I am enrolled?
We may offer limited additional scholarships to students who do exceptionally well after enrolling in the program and did not receive a scholarship upon acceptance. These students will be contacted individually.
Where can I find out more about financial assistance?
Georgetown University’s Office of Student Financial Services (new window) has information for graduate students.