I have a bachelor degree of Engineering and a Master of Economics and next fall want to apply for Ph.D. of Economics. I have checked some universities in the US and found out linear algebra and real analysis is important for getting an admission. Although I have verifiable background in calculus I have not passed linear algebra and real analysis courses. Considering that I can't take those courses, how much taking GRE mathematics Subject exam will help me to cover that incompleteness in my resume?

2 Answers 2


My best guess is that is the wrong approach. Unless the exam has been greatly watered down you would likely do very poorly. The exam is both very broad and very difficult. As a top math student in my last year (but long ago), I felt devastated when I walked out of it, though my scores turned out well. But I had completed almost all of the normal math courses of a major.

Note, however, that for doctoral study in the US, there is usually coursework at the start, even for someone with a masters as most programs have comprehensive exams and the coursework is preparation for them. You could probably arrange to take both a course in linear algebra and in analysis during this period.

But, and this is important, don't make assumptions. See if you can talk to someone both about your chances and your options. The econ department of somewhere you'd like to apply can probably put you in touch with someone who can give you advice.

But the math subject test is intended for mathematicians and those who wish to study it further.

  • My math is good. I have passed calculus with As. But my major was mechanical engineering and we did not have any course in linear algebra. Assuming I can get a really god GRE math (more than 90th percentile) is it worth it to take? Oct 21, 2023 at 13:05
  • @SadeghBirjandi I took the GRE math last month. No knowledge of linear algebra, analysis, topology, algebra, or complex functions will guarantee a score well below average, not to mention 90th percentile. Oct 23, 2023 at 21:18

To be honest, if you already have a Masters in Economics then you are probably okay. Other things such as LOR and GPA plus your general GRE score also play a big role. I'm currently a PhD student in Economics but do have a minor in Math.

  • My problem is that I did not pass linear algebra in masters neither and much of the universities I'm checking require linear algebra. My masters GPA is 4 but if I do not have the prerequisite of linear algebra then my application will not be considered. Oct 21, 2023 at 13:02

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