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I'll be applying to graduate schools in the fall but so far don't have any real clue what area I want to focus on. As such, I hope to attend a very large math graduate program with a lot of varied research going on so that there are many avenues I can explore. I also worry that if I attend a small or midsize graduate school, I may come to find out that my true passion is in an topic for which there are no suitable advisers. I also think I'd fit in much better in a larger department.

I'm interested in a list of PhD math programs by number of students. So I've done some googling, but I can't find any relavant results. What are the largest math graduate programs in the US?

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In general, the state universities have much larger programs. There is a very strong correlation between the size of the school, the size of the math department, and the size of the math graduate program. For example, Ohio State has over 60 000 students over all their campuses and if I remember correctly, nearly 200 grad students in math and faculty in nearly every area. Look up the largest universities, and they will be very likely to have the largest programs.

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  • Thank you for the suggestion, I'll look into this. It didn't occur to me that there would be such a strong correlation. – MajoringInUndecided Mar 8 '15 at 14:01
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    @MajoringInUndecided to understand why there is such a strong correlation, note the number of TAs and faculty required to teach calculus to over 5,000 students each year! – WetlabStudent Mar 8 '15 at 23:15
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The AMS has this help for those searching graduate schools. For "size" you can use the statistic "Number of PhDs awarded in the last 3 years" which is included. For example, I found that the champion was U.C.Berkeley, with 83 PhDs

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As has been pointed out by Johanna, there is a strong correlation between the size of a university and the size of the math department (because basically every student in a university has to take some kind of math course), and by consequence with the size of the graduate program. But the better correlation is actually between the size of the engineering program of a university and the size of its math departments because engineering students have to take multiple math courses.

This explains why universities such as Ohio State, Michigan State, Texas A&M, etc, have such large math departments -- they are very large engineering schools. A general rule of thumb is that in most states, the University of X has a larger liberal arts program and a smaller engineering program, whereas the X State University has it reverse (due to their heritage as land grant universities). The names of the X State University are not always uniform (as in the case of Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech) but often are (in the cases of Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, for example).

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    This seems misguided. For instance, the University of Michigan's math department is not smaller than Michigan State's, the University of Texas's math department is not smaller than Texas A&M's, etc. – Andy Putman Mar 9 '15 at 3:35
  • Similarly, University of Colorado has larger a Math (and Applied Math) program than Colorado State University. Similarly for Oklahoma, California, etc. – Jed Mar 9 '15 at 4:11
  • Hm. The University of Texas math department has only about 2/3 the number of TT faculty than Texas A&M's math department. It is true that the number of graduate students is roughly the same. I will not try to verify the numbers for the other states and take your words at it. – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 9 '15 at 4:56
  • Besides what others have mentioned many schools named "The university of X" are in fact land grant and many that are X state university are not. For example University of California and University of Florida and University of Georgia. "The university of Ohio" doesn't even exist so how is Ohio an example of anything you mention? – WetlabStudent Mar 9 '15 at 7:14
  • @WetLabStudent There is an Ohio University: ohio.edu – Ben Webster Mar 9 '15 at 15:32

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