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I am entering my 4th year undergraduate BS math program next month. I am certain I will want to do a PhD program eventually but I am not sure if I should do a MA before it.

I have decent undergraduate non-math grades(8.8~) and pretty good math grades (9.8~). I also have done quite a few graduate courses(most of them self study) in various topics: Algebraic number theory, Algebraic topology(homotopy, homology, cohomology under a professor), Lie groups, Galois theory(introductory), Model theory(under a professor), Universal Algebra(under a prof), Set theory(under a professor) and Functional Analysis.

I also expect close to full on my gre subject test(from mock tests).

I am not sure how much value this adds and/or how to present it properly but this is all I have to show for my undergraduate years. Under these circumstances, what would the chances of acceptance into a very good PhD program be? I would like apply to an algebraic number theory/logic oriented program(like Berkley and UCLA). Also, what is the best way to make them aware of my self study? Do I mention it in my statement or should I ask my professors to mention it for me?

What are the benefits of doing a MA before PhD or vice versa?

Edit: In response to one of the comments, my career goals are to eventually get a research position in math(maybe academia, maybe elsewhere but definitely pure math oriented research).

marked as duplicate by Peter Jansson, JeffE, ff524 Jun 25 '14 at 17:40

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  • What do you mean by self study? What do you mean by "under a professor"? Does your transcript show you have done self study under those professors? Can you get recommendation letters from the professors stating that you have done self study under them? GRE mock test does not count. Only official scores count. – scaaahu Jun 25 '14 at 13:04
  • I have not taken the official yet and was only projecting scores. Under the professors is either a class under them or studying from materials supplied by them. I can get recommendation letters for this. Other self study is studying on my own from textbooks like Ireland(number theory), Stewart(Galois theory) etc and generally solving most of the exercises and going through the subject. – Asvin Jun 25 '14 at 13:07
  • There are at least three questions here: What are my chances? (Depends more on how well your statement and letters sell your potential for research than your grades.) What is the best way to make admissions committees aware of my self-study? (Specific, credible, technical detail in bot your statement and your letters.) What are the benefits of an MA before a PhD? (Answered elsewhere.) – JeffE Jun 25 '14 at 15:17
  • I think you need to clarify your career goals. Then the answers can be tailored appropriately. – Brian P Jun 25 '14 at 17:12
  • @BrianP My career goals are to eventually get a research position in math(maybe academia, maybe elsewhere but definitely pure math oriented research). – Asvin Jun 25 '14 at 17:32