I'm planning to apply to graduate school in applied mathematics, but I do not have any research experience. The reason being is that I did not become a math major until my junior year in college. How will a lack of research experience affect my application?

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    You're in the US, I guess. Sep 20, 2012 at 6:47
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    I have retagged your question with the graduate admissions tag. There are a number of questions with the [graduate admissions] tag that might already contain the answer to this question, for example, my answer to this related question. Research is a plus, but not necessary if you have strong grades & test scores and good recommendations.
    – Ben Norris
    Sep 20, 2012 at 11:48
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    @BenNorris ...unless you're shooting for one of the top departments, which generally require concrete evidence of research potential.
    – JeffE
    Sep 20, 2012 at 21:28
  • I've heard a lot of people say that research experience is important. However this answer (4th paragraph from the end) says otherwise.
    – Dan C
    Sep 21, 2012 at 6:40
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    @JeffE The phrase "undergrad research experience" typically means something like what most students get at an REU (and this is how I interpreted OP's "research experience"). Their problem is often clearly specified, and a semester-sized chunk is broken off. The author of that answer would be equally nonplussed by such an experience, regardless of if it was an REU, a senior honors project, or an undergrad helping in a lab during the semester. Very few undergrads experience more than this, because rarely do they possess the maturity and self-direction expected for a grad research experience.
    – Dan C
    Oct 1, 2012 at 5:54

1 Answer 1


Evidence showing a research experience is definitely a plus.

However, do not get discouraged if you have none. Show in your application that you know what you want and why, be persistent and proactive and see how you can stand out in a positive sense from the rest of the applicants.

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