I'm at the tail end of a BSc in Electrical Engineering, and want to shift my academic focus more towards mathematics. I've enjoyed the engineering courses with a large mathematical foundation, and I want to further explore mathematics in a master's program.

My GPA is strong for the later years of my degree, average in my earlier years.

I've taken Calculus (I,II,III), Linear Algebra, ODEs, Stats, and Theory of Functions of a Complex Variable. I've continued to use all this math in signals analysis, control theory, and machine learning - but this is the extent of my scholastic math knowledge.

I would like to take some courses that would make me a more competitive applicant for an MSc in Mathematics. I'm assuming Linear Algebra II, PDE's, Analysis, Algebra 1, and Algebraic Structures are good choices. I have room in my schedule for 5 courses.

Any suggestions? Is this unusual? Would the Faculty consider a non-mathematics student for a graduate level math program?

  • What country do you plan to study in?
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 11:57
  • The culture shock will be in the focus on rigor over physical explanations. But both will serve you well. Good luck, and think about what you want for yourself post-PhD! Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


This is a US answer, as this likely depends on where you want to study.

In the US, this is entirely possible and even fairly common. The courses you suggest would all be good for the transition.

Note, however, that getting funding for a MS in the US is unlikely as most students are self funded and tuition can be high. If you have longer term goals for a doctorate in math, then it would be appropriate for you to apply directly to a doctoral program and there would be the possibility of funding, likely through a TA position, which covers tuition and modest living expenses. This, too, is the common path in the US. EE gives a fairly good background and the courses you have taken (and intend to take) will increase your chances. Get good letters of recommendation for any US study.

There are other places in the world, I suspect, where this would be less likely, but probably not impossible, especially if you take a bunch of those suggested courses and do well.

  • Raoul Bott made precisely the transition the OP plans. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Bott Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 17:40
  • 1
    I'm Canadian, tuition isn't as large a concern as in the US. I'm assuming that the US and Canadian academic systems are similar, and your advice is likely applicable here as well.
    – sgbradford
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 18:39

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