Admissions Requirements

The Penn AMCS Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary program that offers training in advanced mathematics and its applications to problems in empirical science, medicine, and engineering. We offer both the Masters and PhD degrees.

We will begin accepting applications for the Fall 2024 academic year on October 1, 2024.  We typically accept PhD applications until January 1, and Masters applications until February 1.

Please note that the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences is responsible for managing Application FEE WAIVERS. Individual departments do not have the authority to grant these waivers. To apply for a fee waiver, please send a brief letter to Patricia Rea, Associate Director of Admissions, at The letter should state the reason for your request and your application should be in process or near completion. Please do not request a fee waiver if you haven’t started your application. Please keep in mind that you must demonstrate a clear and compelling case of financial hardship to be eligible for the waiver.

We welcome applications from interested and dedicated students who have done substantial work in mathematics, and/or its applications of superior quality as undergraduates. Applicants for admission are expected to have a mathematical background that is comparable to an undergraduate mathematics major.  All applicants are expected to take courses, beyond calculus,  in mathematical analysis (2 semesters), linear algebra (1 semester), probability (1 semester),  and complex analysis (1 semester). In general, the more advanced mathematics you have studied the better. While we are willing to consider applications from students in applied fields, with less complete mathematical preparation,  we need to have solid evidence of your aptitude for work in advanced mathematics.  Undergraduate Mathematics course grades should mostly be As or A-s (or the equivalent).

A written Preliminary Exam, which covers the foundational mathematics expected of all students, is given before the start of the first year.  Students who do not pass are expected to take foundational courses as necessary to bring their knowledge to the level expected.  Ph.D students not passing the prelim at the start must pass at the end of the first year.  Masters students get one additional opportunity at the start of their second year.

Applications must be submitted electronically.

GRE requirements: The Math subject GRE is required but not the General GRE Test.  Please take this exam in person at a test center.  Scores from a prior year are fine. If you cannot take the GRE subject test for some unavoidable reason, please state the reason in your personal statement.

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
See the end of this page if you are a non-native English speaker but have studied in the US.

The GRE and English language exams should be taken early enough for the scores to be received at Penn in time to be considered by the Admissions Committee. Note that it can take a month or more after taking the exam before the score is reported and that advanced registration is required for these tests.  To see that we receive your standardized test scores: For the GRE, use the institution code 2926. For the  TOEFL the institution code is 2926, and the Department code is 72.

Applicants are considered based on their courses, grades, letters of recommendation, test scores (basic and advanced GRE, TOEFL, and TSE), and other supporting material. Letters of recommendation should preferably be from mathematics professors, or faculty from another scientific discipline, who know the applicant well and can comment on the applicant’s abilities, accomplishments, and potential for research in applied mathematics and computational science.

Applicants are required to submit a personal statement with their application. This personal statement should address the applicant’s specific interest in AMCS and how the applicant’s interests align with the research interests of the AMCS faculty. Applicants should mention specific AMCS faculty members whose research is of interest to them. This personal statement will serve as a writing sample; no additional writing sample is required.

Applicants should indicate the final degree they hope to be awarded from the Penn AMCS Graduate Program (either M.A. or Ph.D.). Students who intend to obtain an M.A. on the way to a Ph.D. at Penn should indicate they intend to get a PhD. Masters students are not generally eligible to receive financial aid.

Please Note:

  • If you have graduated from a 4-year program in the US or other English-speaking countries, your TOEFL requirement is waived for purposes of applying to AMCS.
  • If you have graduated from a 4-year program in the US and wish to be a TA in some department at Penn, you must either pass Penn’s internal IPT or present a TOEFL of at least 27, or an IELTS score of at least 8.