For students passionate about mathematics, choosing the right graduate school for advanced studies in math can be a challenging decision. With numerous factors to consider from program focus and ranking to location and cost, finding the perfect fit requires thorough research.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The top graduate schools for math in 2023 are MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, and Harvard according to recent rankings by US News & World Report.

In this comprehensive guide, we will examine the top math graduate programs across the country, key criteria to evaluate schools, insights from current students and professors, as well as provide a detailed overview of the application process and funding options available.

Top-Ranked Math Graduate Programs


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) consistently ranks as one of the top graduate schools for math in the United States. Known for its rigorous curriculum and esteemed faculty, MIT offers a wide range of math programs that cater to different areas of specialization.

Students at MIT have the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research and collaborate with leading experts in the field.

Stanford University

Stanford University is renowned for its prestigious math graduate programs. With a strong emphasis on both theoretical and applied mathematics, Stanford provides students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for various careers in academia, industry, and research.

The faculty at Stanford are leaders in their respective fields, and the university offers numerous resources and opportunities for students to excel.

UC Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is another top destination for aspiring mathematicians. The math department at UC Berkeley is known for its depth and breadth of expertise, covering a wide range of areas from pure mathematics to mathematical biology.

The program offers a collaborative and supportive environment, allowing students to engage in interdisciplinary research and explore their interests.

Princeton University

Princeton University boasts a prestigious math department that consistently ranks among the best in the world. The program at Princeton is known for its rigorous coursework and emphasis on problem-solving skills.

Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members who are at the forefront of mathematical research. The university also offers numerous funding opportunities and resources to support students in their academic journey.

Harvard University

Harvard University is synonymous with excellence in education, and its math graduate program is no exception. The department at Harvard offers a rigorous curriculum that encompasses a wide range of mathematical disciplines.

Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a supportive community of scholars. The program also provides ample opportunities for collaboration and networking, allowing students to build strong connections within the math community.

These top-ranked math graduate programs provide students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to excel in their mathematical careers. Whether pursuing academia, industry, or research, graduates from these institutions are highly sought after and well-equipped to make significant contributions to the field of mathematics.

What to Look for in a Math Graduate Program

Choosing the right graduate program for math can have a significant impact on your academic and professional future. It is important to consider several factors when making this decision. Here are some key aspects to look for in a math graduate program:

Faculty and Research Focus

One of the most important factors to consider is the faculty and their research focus. Look for programs that have renowned professors in your area of interest. Research the faculty members’ publications, awards, and collaborations to get an idea of their expertise and the opportunities for research mentorship.

A strong faculty can provide valuable guidance and open doors to research and career opportunities.

Curriculum and Course Offerings

Another crucial aspect is the curriculum and course offerings. Look for programs that offer a wide range of courses in various branches of mathematics, including areas that align with your interests and career goals.

Additionally, consider if the program provides opportunities for interdisciplinary study, as this can enhance your mathematical abilities and broaden your career prospects.

Career Outcomes and Alumni Network

Consider the career outcomes of the program’s graduates and the strength of its alumni network. Look for programs that have a track record of placing their graduates in prestigious academic positions, industry research roles, or other successful careers.

A strong alumni network can provide valuable connections and support as you navigate your career path.

Location and Environment

The location and environment of the graduate program can also play a significant role in your experience. Consider factors such as the proximity to industry hubs, research centers, and other academic institutions. Additionally, think about the quality of life and cost of living in the area.

A supportive and stimulating environment can greatly contribute to your academic and personal growth.

Cost and Funding Options

Finally, it is vital to consider the cost of the program and the availability of funding options. Look for programs that offer financial aid packages, scholarships, and assistantship opportunities. Additionally, consider the cost of living in the area and whether it is feasible for you.

It is important to find a balance between the quality of the program and the financial implications.

Insights from Current Math Grad Students

When it comes to pursuing a graduate degree in mathematics, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the top institutions that offer exceptional programs. To gain valuable insights, we reached out to current math graduate students to get their perspectives on the top graduate schools for math in 2023.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Unsurprisingly, MIT is often regarded as one of the top institutions for mathematics. With renowned faculty members, cutting-edge research opportunities, and a rigorous curriculum, MIT offers an outstanding environment for math students to thrive.

The program emphasizes both theoretical and applied mathematics, providing students with a well-rounded education.

2. Stanford University

Stanford University is another institution that consistently ranks high for its math graduate programs. The university boasts a vibrant math department, with faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields.

Students at Stanford have access to state-of-the-art facilities and ample opportunities for collaboration and research.

3. Princeton University

Princeton University’s math program is highly regarded for its strong emphasis on research and academic excellence. The department offers a diverse range of courses, allowing students to explore various areas of mathematics.

The close-knit community at Princeton fosters collaboration and provides a supportive environment for students to excel.

4. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, is renowned for its rigorous math program. The department is known for its distinguished faculty members and its commitment to pushing the boundaries of mathematical research.

Students at Berkeley benefit from a vibrant intellectual community and a wide range of resources.

5. Harvard University

Harvard University’s math graduate program is highly competitive and attracts some of the brightest minds in the field. The program offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers both foundational and advanced topics in mathematics.

Students at Harvard have access to world-class research facilities and a network of esteemed mathematicians.

These are just a few of the top graduate schools for math in 2023, as shared by current math graduate students. It’s important to note that the rankings may vary depending on individual preferences and research interests.

Ultimately, the best graduate school for math will depend on factors such as faculty expertise, research opportunities, and personal fit.

Tips for Applying to Math Grad School

Take Challenging Math Courses

When applying to graduate school for math, it is important to demonstrate your academic rigor and dedication to the subject. Taking challenging math courses not only shows your commitment but also helps you develop a strong foundation in advanced mathematical concepts.

Universities often look for applicants who have excelled in courses such as abstract algebra, real analysis, and topology. These courses will not only prepare you for the rigor of graduate-level math but also showcase your ability to handle complex mathematical problems.

Get Research Experience

Research experience is highly valued in the field of math, as it allows you to delve deeper into a specific area of interest and develop your problem-solving skills. Engaging in research projects, either independently or with a faculty member, demonstrates your ability to think critically and contribute to the field.

Additionally, research experience can lead to publications or presentations, which can greatly enhance your application and make you stand out from other candidates. Seek out opportunities to get involved in research, such as summer research programs or internships.

Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation play a crucial role in the graduate school application process. It is important to cultivate strong relationships with professors who can speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, and potential for success in graduate school.

When selecting recommenders, choose individuals who know you well and can provide detailed insights into your abilities and potential as a mathematician. A strong letter of recommendation can provide valuable support for your application and give admissions committees a clear picture of your strengths and potential.

Perfect GRE Scores

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test that many graduate schools require for admission. Doing well on the GRE can significantly enhance your chances of getting into a top math graduate school.

Prepare for the exam by reviewing sample questions, taking practice tests, and utilizing study materials. Aim for high scores in both the quantitative reasoning and analytical writing sections. While a perfect score is not necessary, it can certainly help to demonstrate your mathematical aptitude and ability to communicate effectively.

Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your passion for math and explain why you are a strong candidate for graduate school. Use this space to highlight your academic achievements, research experience, and future goals in the field of mathematics.

Be sure to articulate your specific interests and explain how the graduate program aligns with your academic and career aspirations. Additionally, make sure to proofread your personal statement carefully and have others review it for clarity and coherence.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of being accepted into a top graduate school for math. Remember to start early, stay organized, and present yourself as a well-rounded candidate with a genuine passion for mathematics.

Funding Your Math Graduate Degree

Pursuing a graduate degree in math can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity for those passionate about the subject. However, it’s no secret that graduate school can be financially demanding. Fortunately, there are various funding options available for prospective math graduate students to help alleviate the financial burden.

Teaching Assistantships

One common way to fund a math graduate degree is through teaching assistantships. Many universities offer teaching assistant positions to graduate students, providing them with valuable teaching experience while also offering a stipend or tuition waiver.

As a teaching assistant, graduate students may lead discussion sections, grade assignments, and provide assistance to undergraduate math students. This not only helps graduate students financially but also enhances their communication and leadership skills.

Research Assistantships

Another funding option for math graduate students is research assistantships. These positions allow students to work closely with faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Research assistantships often come with a stipend and tuition remission.

In addition to financial support, these positions provide valuable research experience, allowing students to contribute to the advancement of mathematical knowledge.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Many prestigious fellowships and scholarships are available specifically for math graduate students. These funding opportunities are typically highly competitive but offer significant financial support.

Some fellowships and scholarships may cover full tuition and provide a generous stipend, allowing students to focus solely on their studies and research. It is important to research and apply for these opportunities well in advance, as deadlines and requirements may vary.


While loans should be considered as a last resort, they can provide temporary financial support for graduate students pursuing a math degree. Federal and private student loan options are available, but it is important to carefully consider the terms and repayment options before taking on any debt.

Graduate students should prioritize scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships before resorting to loans to minimize the long-term financial impact.

Remember, funding options may vary depending on the institution and program you choose. It’s essential to thoroughly research and explore the funding opportunities available at the specific graduate schools you are interested in.

For more information on funding your math graduate degree, you can visit Peterson’s or Fastweb, which provide comprehensive databases of scholarships, fellowships, and other funding resources for graduate students.


Pursuing a graduate degree in mathematics opens doors to rewarding careers in academia, scientific research, finance, technology and more. While the top programs at MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton and Harvard are incredibly competitive, strong applicants from other colleges and backgrounds also have fantastic options.

By evaluating programs based on factors like faculty, curriculum, outcomes and funding, you can find the best math graduate school fit for your goals and interests. With meticulous preparation and passion for the subject, you can land a spot at an esteemed university for advanced math studies.

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