I'm a computer science major at a prestigious university. I've consistently achieved top grades in all my courses and have developed a strong interest in mathematics. I've completed a year-long sequence in both real analysis and algebra, along with several graduate-level courses in Algebraic Geometry. Additionally, I'm actively involved in working with mathematics professors, focusing on formalizing topics in algebraic geometry and topology using Lean.

Given my background, I'm curious whether my limited coursework in mathematics might affect my chances of gaining admission to a high-quality math program with funding opportunities. If not, what would be the recommended path to success? I am graduating next year and I am wondering if I should extend my stay at my college to switch majors.

P.S. My passion for mathematics has been a consistent part of my academic journey. Prior to my focus on pure mathematics, I studied applied mathematics, which included graduate-level courses in applied statistics and probability.

  • What country do you want to study in?
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 3 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


I was in a related position when I was finishing undergrad. I was interested in both math and CS, ended up with graduate degrees in both (one math, one CS), and became a professor of both.

One thing you should know is that there are plenty of professors of computer science whose research is basically math. This includes some graph theorists, probabilists, data scientists, topological data analysis experts, category theorists, and logicians. Some computer scientists also work on proof verification and formalization of math.

You could go to a CS graduate program, learn lots of math, research something you're passionate about in the intersection of math and CS, and finish with a degree in CS. Currently, it's much easier to secure a tenure track job in computer science than in math, because every year more and more students want to study computer science, but people with CS degrees are getting poached into industry (meaning, fewer grad students, fewer PhDs, fewer professors). Since you already have top grades at a prestigious university, this would be my suggestion. In grad school you can take more math courses if you want, while working on your CS PhD (I did the opposite, getting a math PhD but continuing to take CS courses).

Of course, it's also possible to go to math grad school and do pure math research, but I do think careerwise you'd be wise to not give up CS entirely. It's also possible to get a math PhD and do research in the intesection between math and CS but the CS PhD would be more valuable from the point of view of getting a job. Also, CS professors tend to get paid more than math professors, and often have a lower teaching load. At the end of the day you should do what you're passionate about, but maybe look into CS professors who have done work related to formalization of math, like Jim Lipton at Wesleyan University (I took many courses from him).

  • Spot on advice, particularly regarding the market fundamentals. I think you can pull off an approach from a math department that CS depts may accept, but you have to follow the many-lower-quality publishing route.
    – user176372
    Commented Jun 3 at 15:38

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