I'm an Italian mathematics student who wants to apply for a strong PhD program in pure mathematics in USA. Of course, like everyone (I think), my dream is to get in a top school, just to make the idea, my dream school is UCLA. Of course, every PhD applicant to schools like that has a perfect GPA end high GRE/Toefl scores, therefore recommendation letters apart, I guess that the level of applicants is pretty uniform. My question is this:

Does holding a Master's Degree really help me to get in top schools like UCLA?

  • 2
    See this question. Short version: If you use your time in the masters program to produce publishable research, then yes; otherwise, maybe not. – JeffE Sep 20 '18 at 23:50
  • I get it. I'm asking because in Italy it's pretty unusual publishing papers before getting in a PhD program, masters in pure mathematics like mine are thinked just like a preparation to a PhD. – Vincenzo Zaccaro Sep 21 '18 at 0:47
  • My understanding is that it's relatively uncommon to publish even as PhD student in pure mathematics, see this answer. As such I have my doubts that not publishing during a masters program would be held against an applicant. In such an environment, managing to publish is likely an advantage. – Anyon Sep 22 '18 at 0:11

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