I have just completed my 4-year undergraduate studies in mathematics (my overall grade is 9.62/10) in Greece and I'm about to enroll in the M.sc. programme of my current university. I feel like I have what it takes to be admitted in a good institution and I'd like to pursue a Ph.D in pure mathematics somewhere in Europe, however my professors are highly discouraging; they say that it is very hard finding a Ph.D. position in Europe, the vacancies are very few and that the competition is extreme. They advise me to take the GRE exams and consider studying in the U.S. However, I feel that they are a little prejudiced because of their personal choices as students.

I am unsure on how to confirm this information. The sites of the universities that interest me are not very helpful, since they only say that Ph.D. vacancies are anounced when available.

P.S: For those familiar with mathematics academia, my interests currently lie in operator theory, dynamical systems & ergodic theory, complex analysis and harmonic analysis. I have only seen a few things from each subject therefore I have not yet decided precisely what I'd like to focus on. I am also starting a side-project on an algebraic topic, Quiver representations, so this is another possible interest of mine. Also, the universities I've been considering are KU Leuven, Lund University, Stockholm University and NTNU.

closed as off-topic by Enthusiastic Engineer, corey979, Buzz, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Jon Custer Feb 10 at 0:44

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  • For KU Leuven in particular, you may consider to keep an eye out for this call in the future: wis.kuleuven.be/methusalem-pure-math/jobs/phd-positions – G.S. Feb 8 at 23:37
  • @Justdroppedin It's worth pointing out that many SE users don't use their full name to maintain semi-anonymity - for example so that their SE activities don't come up in a google search for their name. This is compromised if another user then gives their full name. Having said that, I have no idea what are the attitudes of the author of the comment above to privacy and anonymity. Good luck with your studies in any case. – Shane O Rourke Feb 10 at 9:36
  • @JustDroppedIn: I don't mind if you send me an email to get some further info. But actually I would appreciate if you edited my full name out of your comment, for the reasons that Shane mentioned. – G.S. Feb 16 at 12:38
  • @G.S. Of course; I am terribly sorry for this, I just assumed that since your name was displayable on math SE, you wouldn't mind If I mentioned it on academia SE, since it is the same network. I'll probably contact you soon. Again, I'm honestly sorry. – JustDroppedIn Feb 16 at 19:44

While the advice of your advisors is probably good, and you should consider it, the only real answer to your query will come from actually applying to a few programs that interest you. Yes, the competition will be fierce, but the case for admission is yours to make. If you don't apply then you are guaranteed not to be admitted.

But if the cost and effort involved in application is reasonable for you, then just do it. Get good recommendation letters, write a good SOP that shows your likely success, think and write about your goals. Then submit a few applications.

The competition will be tough in the US also, of course, as it is everywhere.

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