So, I completed my bachelor's in mathematics a month ago, and I'm planning to move to another country to continue my studies. I really love mathematics and I want to apply to a master's program in pure mathematics.

I am fluent in English and got a band score 8 in IELTS. So, I am planning to apply to a program that is taught in English.

I have applied to 8 Canadian universities. I passed their minimum requirements, but due to high level of competition, I've been rejected by two of them so far, and I am waiting for the rest. But I am worried that I will also get rejected by them too.

I was wondering if there are universities in other countries that are easier to get into. Like there are some requirements and if I pass them, I get admitted. I have checked the websites of many Canadian universities, and they all say the program is very competitive and admission is not guaranteed even if you pass the minimum requirements. And as I have understood, it is way more difficult for international students.

Unfortunately, my financial situation is also not good enough to pay 20k a year for grad school; so I am looking for a university that provides funding or waves the tuition.

What do you think is the appropriate country for me to continue my studies? If you could also provide the names of some universities that you think fits my situation, I'd really appreciate it.

Any other advice is immensely appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  • 3
    In the U.S., and, I think, Canada, you'd not be admitted on the grounds of having sufficiently good credentials. Graduate departments have limited capacity to adequately advise and mentor students. Not to mention limited funding and/or tuition support, etc., for students. It's all limited, no matter how wonderful the prospective students are. Mar 19 at 21:08
  • @paulgarrett What about programs taught in English in European countries like Germany?
    – Arfin
    Mar 19 at 21:19
  • I do not know much about the current situation in Germany... Mar 19 at 21:20
  • 4
    ... for that matter, I'd worry that if places admit all qualified students, that there'd most likely be inadequate mentoring/advising... Mar 19 at 21:21
  • 1
    Many/most Masters programs don't offer scholarships or waivers. If you need these things to study, consider a PhD program instead.
    – Allure
    Mar 21 at 6:20

2 Answers 2


Apply to countries other than Canada. For a variety of boring technical reasons there's a much bigger disparity between admissions for domestic vs. international students in Canada than in the US. Furthermore, due to some complicated political circumstances, right now pretty much every university you're likely to apply to in Canada is in a fiscal crisis and can't afford to be generous toward international students. Unless you can't get a student visa there for some reason, I think your chances are much higher in the US (I have less knowledge about and thus can't comment on other Anglosphere countries, but in all situations I know, they have much worse funding for international students compared to US universities).

EDIT: Buffy's comment below reminded me: don't apply for master's programs in the US. Apply for Ph.D. programs so you can get funding. Even if your goal is just to get a Masters.

  • 3
    Masters students in US are unlikely to be funded, though. Unlike doctoral students.
    – Buffy
    Mar 19 at 19:28
  • 1
    Professor Webster, thank you very much for your response. Actually, I also applied to Waterloo University, but unfortunately I was rejected due to the high level of competition. As you have mentioned, I guess the student visa process is also much harder in the US, but I guess I have to try my best. Thanks again for your time.
    – Arfin
    Mar 19 at 19:50
  • @Buffy Well, depends on the school, but yes, you're right. I had meant to say that in the US you should apply for Ph.D. programs (even if you want a Masters, start a Ph.D. program and then quit), and somehow it slipped my mind. Mar 20 at 2:24

You may well get admitted to one of the remaining places. But if they are all similar in some "ranking" then getting rejected by one means you are likely to get rejected by other similar places. The problem isn't the country. When you apply, cast a wide net of institutions, not just all top places (nor bottom).

In the US that would be a good strategy. Here, it is also the case that most math doctoral students are funded through Teaching Assistantships for which you assist in undergraduate courses by grading and holding study and Q/A sessions. But those aren't normally available to masters students. On the other hand, a masters isn't a requirement to begin doctoral study here. And it isn't likely easier to get into a US program than a Canadian one, and mostly for other countries as well.

But most countries have a range of institutions, any of which can and do provide a good education.

  • It's been noted that one of the secrets of top schools is that they try to admit the students who would get a good education anywhere -- despite the school, if need be.
    – keshlam
    Mar 19 at 19:12
  • Thank you very much for your response professor Buffy. The universities are not all in the same ranking; I guess I have to wait for the rest and apply to some US universities for the PHD program. The problem with this is that I plan to study a master's program to decide my favorite subject for the PHD more accurately. But I guess there is no other way.
    – Arfin
    Mar 19 at 19:43
  • 1
    In a US math doctoral program you will have a lot of time to decide on a sub-field. The first task is advanced courses to help you pass qualifying exams. They generally cover a broad range of areas.
    – Buffy
    Mar 19 at 19:48
  • That's very good to know; I didn't know that at all. But I guess the deadlines for the fall entry have passed? How many admission cycles are there in the US each year?
    – Arfin
    Mar 19 at 19:53
  • Usually only one. See the answer for the US here: academia.stackexchange.com/q/176908/75368
    – Buffy
    Mar 19 at 19:54

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