I will graduate with a BS in math in fall 2021 after 2.5 years, so I wish to enter a top math graduate program the next semester. However, after some Googling, it appears that there's no info about whether the top graduate math programs even have spring admissions. The closest I saw was a similar question about biology, but assuming that the info given there also applies word for word to math would be foolish.

Also, I heard that even if a university doesn't have formal spring admissions, you may be able to pull some strings. His reasoning, loosely paraphrased, is "if I was in charge of admissions, why would I wait before admitting a good student and admit everyone in one month?" If this is true, how should I pull the strings?

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    Why not pick one or two and send a letter of inquiry to the department? Jun 1, 2021 at 0:17
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    how should I pull the strings? You are aware that the dictionary definition of “to pull strings” is “make use of one’s influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially and unfairly”, right?
    – Dan Romik
    Jun 1, 2021 at 1:36
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    When you say you will graduate in fall 2021, do you mean near December of 21'? In that case, you will probably have to wait till the fall of 22 to start your program. But as someone who started an EE PhD in the Spring, I can tell you that you should probably start in the Fall even if you have a choice to start in the spring because there will be more basic courses in the Fall that are designed to support the courses offered in the Spring. Without that foundation, classes might feel a lot harder then they ought to be. At least, it did for me.
    – Paddy
    Jun 1, 2021 at 21:34

2 Answers 2


I think very few, probably none, of "top-50" math grad programs admit people for spring semesters (in the U.S. scheme of things). Orientation, placement, TA training, ... everything... takes place in the week-or-two prior to the beginning of classes in the fall term.

Many or most grad courses are year-long, so you'd be in an awkward situation...

  • Should I continue to take math courses, pursue research opportunities, and do some courses in a master's degree for 1 semester after submitting my application for fall 2022 then? I don't see any other options, but if I don't get into a graduate program, choose to continue and finish my master's in fall 2022, and reapply for fall 2023 graduate admissions, then I have a wasted semester (spring 2023) in which I've already maxed out my degrees and cannot continue. Jun 1, 2021 at 0:38
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    That is the sort of thing I would game out with an advisor at your own college. I would say it should depend on costs of the options. But research opportunities and grad classes will be good for your application (better than graduating quickly, in general.)
    – Dawn
    Jun 1, 2021 at 0:47
  • I have 2 grad classes already, will have another next semester, and can get a few more in spring 2022. The problem is that it may not be enough. Jun 1, 2021 at 0:56
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    @Displayname One thing you might want to do is take a step back and think about what you want to accomplish mathematically. Any research problems you want to work on? A subject within math you want to pursue more deeply? Good luck.
    – academic
    Jun 1, 2021 at 13:24
  • If you have some idea of whose work excites you, go and study with them. In grad school, you don't take courses so much as you take professors. And math is a field where it's really important to hang with people and talk shop. Who do you want to talk shop with?
    – jlawler
    Jun 1, 2021 at 15:12

Graduate schools generally don't admit new students in the Spring semester

You'll likely take all most or all of the top 50 schools if you apply for the spring semester. Instead.

  1. Study even more for the GRE.

  2. Get an internship and get paid.

  3. Get paid to do research.

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