Frequently Asked Questions

BGSU Mathematics & Statistics: Graduate Programs

Students FAQ

Contact the graduate coordinator, Dr. Craig Zirbel at zirbel@bgsu.edu. If you use the word "question" in your subject line, it will be less likely that your email will get lost.  Don't ever be shy about writing twice if you don't hear back soon!

Please ask any specific questions you have about your situation and your interests.  If you have questions about how your background matches up with our programs, it may be helpful to email a scan of your transcripts and your GRE test scores.  Note, however, that when you apply, you must upload those documents yourself.

It is OK to write directly to other faculty in the department, but they will just forward emails to Dr. Zirbel and you'll hear from him.  You do not need to have your application sponsored by a faculty member; that is not part of the application process.

Note that Dr. Zirbel will copy Ms. Anna Lynch, the Graduate Secretary in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, when he replies to you.  Her email address is arlynch@bgsu.edu.  She is an excellent resource for questions about the application process and status.

We offer both master's and Ph.D. degree programs:

  • MA – with concentrations in: Pure math, Statistics, Applied Mathematics / Scientific Computation
  • MS – Applied statistics
  • MAT – Master of Arts in Teaching
  • PhD – Mathematics
  • PhD – Statistics

We review applications holistically, looking at previous courses taken, grades, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and TOEFL/IELTS scores for certain international students.  For master's programs, we require a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA on a 4-point scale; for PhD programs, we require a minimum 3.2 master's GPA on a 4-point scale.  Students must have a master's degree before starting the PhD program; of course you can apply to the PhD program while you are completing a master's program.

Different programs need different backgrounds.  Here is a brief list.

  • MA in Mathematics.  Senior level courses in abstract algebra and real analysis; two semesters of each is desirable, but not always possible.
  • MA specialization in Statistics.  Senior level course sequence in probability and statistics, plus solid background in calculus and linear algebra.  A senior-level real analysis course is desirable.
  • MA specialization in Applied Mathematics / Scientific Computation.  Senior level course in real analysis, plus courses in ordinary and partial differential equations and linear algebra.
  • MS in Applied Statistics.  Senior level course sequence in probability and statistics, plus solid background in calclus and linear algebra.
  • PhD in Mathematics.  Master's level course sequences in real anaysis and algebra are perhaps most important.  Coursework in complex analysis, topology, and other areas of mathematics are also desirable.
  • PhD in Statistics.  Master's level course sequence in probability and mathematical statistics is very important.  A senior-level undergraduate or master's level course in real analysis is also desirable.
  • Q. How do I apply to your Graduate Program?
    • A. Submit the on-line application Submit all required application documents listed below
  • Q. What is your application deadline?
    • A. Applicants seeking assistantship and scholarship funding should complete their application by January 31 to start in the fall semester
  • Q. Can I apply directly to the Ph.D.?
    • A. Applicants finishing a master's degree can apply to the PhD program. Applicants with only a bachelor's degree must apply to a master's degree program
  • Q. Can I start my studies in the spring semester?
    • A. We encourage students to start during the summer or fall sessions. Many courses are two-semester sequences (fall & spring). Course availability for spring is limited without the required fall coursework.  In some cases it will work to start a master's program in the spring semester.  It almost never makes sense to start the PhD program in the spring.
  • Q. What application materials are required?
    • A. While filling out the online application, you will need to upload scans of official transcripts from each college or university attended, a statement of purpose, and self-report GRE General Test results.  You will designate at least 3 people to upload letters of recommendation for you.  You will need to have GRE General Test scores sent to BGSU.  Certain international students will also have to send TOEFL/IELTS/ELS reports.  You do not need to upload a resume, but you can upload a resume if you want, after you submit your application by visiting your application status page.
  • Q. Can you still process my application if I am missing required documents?
    • A. No
  • Q. How can I check the status of my application?
    • A. The online application portal will allow you to check the status of your application, and will send updates periodically.

It is very important to have informative letters of recommendation from faculty who know you well.  We require three letters of recommendation, and it is best to have all three come from faculty who have had you in classes, worked with you on a research project, or supervised you as a teaching assistant.  It is most helpful if they identify the specific classes they took with you, how you did in that class in absolute or relative terms, and what your prospects are in graduate courses.  For PhD applicants, it is more helpful to have three letters about your performance in classes than to have one of the three primarily address teaching.

Testing Requirements

  • Q. What is the minimum Grade Point Average required for admission?
    • A. Master's = 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale Ph.D. =3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Q. Do you require the GRE General Test?
    • A. Yes. Applicants are required to take the GRE General Test. The subject test in mathematics is optional
  • Q. Can I substitute GMAT scores for GRE scores?
    • A. No
  • Q. Are Official GRE Score reports required?
    • A. Yes, you must have offiical scores sent to BGSU.
  • Q. What is the minimum GRE score required for admission?
    • A. The selection process considers all components of the application package, including application information, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, academic record, and test scores. We do not have a minimum requirement for the GRE.
  • Q. Do you require the TOEFL/IELTS for international students?
    • A. Yes, for students from countries where the language of instruction is not English.  See this link for a current list of countries.
  • Q. What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?
    • A. The minimum TOEFL score is 550 (PBT) or 80 (IBT).  The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.
  • Q. What are the institution codes for GRE and TOEFL scores?
    • A. GRE: Institution Code: 1069 Department Code: 0703
    • A. TOEFL: Institution Code: 1069 Department Code: 72

Admission

  • Q. How long does the application evaluation take?
    • A. Four weeks after all materials are received
  • Q. How will I be notified of a decision on my application?
    • A. You will be notified by the department via email as soon as the Admissions Team returns the admission recommendation. A formal letter of admission with the Dean's signature is sent via email approximately one week later
  • Q. What should I do if I need to defer my application/admission?
    • A. If you have been recommended for admission you are allowed to defer your admission once for up to one academic year. Submit your request to the Graduate Coordinator via email. Include your full name, and the academic term and year to which you wish to defer (i.e. Spring 2018, Summer 2018, etc.)
  • The Department of Mathematics & Statistics funds approximately 52 teaching assistantship positions, with approximately 20 new openings each year.
  • Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.
  • Most funded students have an aggregate GRE score (verbal plus quantitative) of 300, but higher is always better
  • Most students receiving a teaching assistantship teach either one 5-credit hour course each semester, or two 3-credit hour courses. Courses are coordinated by a senior faculty member
  • When you apply, check the box to indicate that you are interested in being considered for a graduate assistantship.
  • Assistantships are for fall and spring semesters. We also offer a summer fellowship program for new graduate assistants to learn valuable teaching tools prior to starting their teaching assistantship, and summer funding for continuing students.

This is an attempt to be comprehensive about expenses, because we don't want to hide anything.  Students with funding from the department say that they can live on the stipend, but of course it always would be nice if they were higher.  Here are the main expenses, from largest to smallest.  Numbers are current as of Fall 2017.  This illustration uses $12,500 for the master's stipend, $16,500 for the PhD stipend, and $1000 for summer funding, so $13,500 and $17,500 total.

  • Tuition costs $445.50 per credit hour in Fall 2018.  Students typically take 9 hours each semester.  Tuition scholarships cover this expense and are awarded on a competitive basis.
  • The non-resident fee is $332.85 per credit hour.  This applies to all international students and to US citizens who are not yet residents of Ohio for tuition purposes (which requires living in Ohio for 12 months among other things).  The non-resident fee is covered by tuition scholarships that are awarded on a competitive basis. 
  • Rent in Bowling Green is approximately $300 per month if you share an apartment, but could easily be more or less depending on your living arrangements.  Around $3600 per year.
  • The general fee is approximately $100 per credit hour, and that is always paid by the student.  First-year funded students usually take 12 credit hours in their first fall and spring, so the non-resident fee is around $1200 per semester.  Maximum of $3000 per year, around $2100 per year after the first year.
  • Health insurance is required and costs about $2000 a year.  International students see this page for information about costs.
  • Federal and state taxes plus Medicaid and Social Security are about $1450 for a master's stipend and $2250 for a PhD stipend.  You can use this tax calculator to learn more: http://us.icalculator.info/
  • Bowling Green City tax is 2%, so $270 for master's and $350 for PhD
  • That leaves food, phone, internet, travel expenses, and miscellaneous expenses.
  • Q. Where can I get information about tuition?
    • A. Office of the Bursar's website http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/bursar/
  • Q. How big is the University?
    • A. Approximately 18,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students
  • Q. How do I schedule a campus visit?
    • A. Contact Craig Zirbel, Graduate Coordinator, via email at zirbel@bgsu.edu
  • Q. Where can I get information about living costs at Bowling Green?
    • A. Visit the Bowling Green Ohio official website http://www.bgohio.org/
  • Q. How big is the city of Bowling Green?
    • A. Approximately 30,000 full-time residents