I am an international master student in Germany who wants to apply graduate schools in US or Canada. I have an unconventional background, I want to study mathematics but I don't have courses of basic analysis and abstract algebra. Due to language problem, I can't take the course in my university. Now if I get good grades in upper lever (graduate) mathematics courses, can it compensate that I don't have basic courses? Would it be a big disadvantage in Phd application?

  • Are you planning to take the mathematics subject GRE?
    – TimRias
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 7:52
  • Do you satisfy the entry requirements of the graduate schools to which you want to apply?
    – user2768
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 8:04
  • @mmeent Yes, this is required for most school
    – Ken.Wong
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 8:36
  • @user2768 Some of them do not state explicitly the background requirement,some of them said it is not ideal.
    – Ken.Wong
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 9:09
  • @Ken.Wong Doesn't that give you an answer?
    – user2768
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


It would look slightly odd, but good grades in advanced courses would generally be seen as sufficient to show that you understand the material. In the end, graduate admission committees aren't so much interested in knowing how you acquired necessary background knowledge than knowing that you have it. How that is demonstrated is secondary, and acing upper level courses is certainly one acceptable way to do so.

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