I am located in the U.S. and the field in question is pure mathematics.

I am wondering, as a doctorata degree holder at a lower tier institution (AMS Group III), how much of a disadvantage will I be at when trying to obtain a postdoc and academia tenure track jobs at say a Group I/II school after graduation? How realistic is it to have such goals and are there anyone out there that has accomplish such feat?

If all hopes are not lost, are there anything I can do to improve my chances down the road (aka polish my CV)? Otherwise, should I drop out and reapply to another program?



2 Answers 2


I can only answer for my own job market (UK) and field (biology), but in general, what a good pedigree gives you, is second chances. If I was hiring a postdoc, I might take a chance on someone graduating from a good lab at a good uni without a publication under their belt, while from a less well regarded uni, or a research group I'd never heard of, I'd definitely want to see evidence of the ability to do publication quality research.

  • 1
    Excellent response, I like the "second chances" angle, very transparent. Apr 16, 2020 at 16:12
  • 3
    "Benefit of the doubt" would also apply...
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 16, 2020 at 17:05

In my own department it has happened that grad students at a lower ranked place get a postdoc at a higher ranked place. If you apply to places where the researcher reading your application knows your letter writers, that will help a lot.

(I'm a postdoc, not a grad student, despite my user name.)

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