I have been admitted to a 4-year B.S. in Mathematics program in an Asian country. The mathematics courses are excellent and at par with the finest universities in the United States and there will a generous number of courses from the humanities. All the same, there is a provision for taking 7 more single-semester courses, to get a minor (alternately, I could dabble in many other subjects other than math).

I was wondering if taking a total of 7 courses in English and Economics instead of courses like physics, chemistry and biology could seriously affect my application when I apply to grad school in the US for PhD in mathematics. I would almost certainly apply to good grad schools like UChicago and Berkeley depending on my interests.

Will taking no courses from physical sciences as an undergrad affect my chances of going to grad school for mathematics in the US?

1 Answer 1


If you're applying to a pure math program, then it's unlikely that graduate admissions boards will be expecting courses in a particular outside discipline. If you're doing applied math, however, it would be much more logical to expect to see some coursework in an outside discipline.

However, economics may be suitable as an "outside" discipline if you're taking advanced coursework with a mathematical bent to it.

But overall, demonstrating that you are a strong candidate will make a much bigger impact than the specific training you have. Research experience, a strong statement of purpose, and great letters of recommendation will increase your chances of admission much more than if your "off-subject" courses are in economics or physics.

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