I'm an applied math/econ major in the U.S. and am looking into pursuing a masters degree in applied math. This term curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take abstract algebra and I am not doing well at all in the class. Somehow my professor convinced me to stay and now I am heading closer to C territory after two atrocious midterms. I am wondering:

  1. How will applied math grad schools look at a C in this class? I mean I've gotten 1 other B but the rest of my grades are all A's. In fact I am doing better in Real Analysis than in this class! (shocking, i know.) A few professors I talked to have said that since this is a pure class and it takes some people some time to understand these concepts so admissions might just shrug it off if everything else looks great.

  2. If I do get a C how can I compensate for this grade? I'm taking a grad class in quantum computing concurrently and doing really well. if I take another grad course that uses abstract algebra (i.e. model theory) will it be enough to demonstrate to admissions that I am still worth considering as an applicant?

  3. I have quite a bit of research experience, studied math abroad and did well and will continue to do more math next term. But if I don't get into a grad school of my choice how can I repair this grade if it tanks in the future?

Please offer some suggestions as I am literally putting in every ounce of energy to resuscitate this grade...

  • 3
    Apply to an applied math department which is in a feud with the pure math department at the same university. Your C will be an mark in your favor :-). But seriously, I think how they view this really depends on the department. – Peter Shor Nov 23 '14 at 13:23
  • When you mean "in a feud" do you mean that they are in two different departments i.e. Columbia's which has applied math in engineering and pure math in separate department, Northwestern's which has the same thing"? If not can you clarify? And why would a C be in my favor? – mathstri Nov 23 '14 at 18:59
  • It was partly a joke; however, I do think applied math departments which are separate from pure math departments are less likely to care about grades in algebra. Also, one C on your record (no matter what class it's in) is probably not enough to get your application rejected if the rest of your grades are A's. – Peter Shor Nov 23 '14 at 19:09