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Top Schools to Study Mathematics in the US


Mathematics remains one of the traditional academic subjects to study alongside Literature and the Sciences. As one of the first subjects available in many US universities, there are several esteemed courses and lectures that have been established in prestigious institutions over hundreds of years. With so many options to choose from it can be hard to know which schools are among the top options when it comes to studying Mathematics in the US. As well as considering the top 10 in the rankings table, it’s important to think about graduate and career opportunities, specializations, and location. Here we breakdown the most important things to consider when looking for the right school, as well as presenting the best options in the US and in the world.

Looking Beyond the Top 10

With most of the top 10 mathematics schools being amongst the Ivy League, you will face stiff competition in seeking to study mathematics at a high-ranking university in the US. This should not put you off, as it’s not impossible, but your application must be excellent to be considered for a chance of acceptance. The top schools in the US to study Mathematics include, Princeton University, Harvard University, and Columbia University. Two Ivy Plus universities (schools where students and alumni excel, with similarly prestigious courses and teaching staff) are also on the list. These schools are Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Keep in mind that Mathematics has such a historic place in many US universities that you have the opportunity to look beyond the top 10 ranked schools to the top 20 or 30, where you will still receive a great education at a world-renowned institution.

With hundreds of universities to choose from to study Mathematics in the US, the top 30 all offer excellent Mathematics faculties and teaching standards. Your options range from the Ivy League to other long-standing options such as New York University, and the University of California-Berkeley, both of which are ranked in the top 10.

You should not limit yourself solely to the top 10, as mathematics is a competitive course with a high intake every year. All colleges in the top 30 should be considered excellent options. When choosing to study a degree in Mathematics, it’s important to choose the best-fit university for you, whether this be because of its ranking, location, or course specializations.

Considerations When Earning a Degree in Mathematics

Some universities offer better undergraduate Mathematics degrees and others are better for graduate courses. Additionally, one university might have a great reputation for Applied Mathematics and another for Statistics. Therefore, it’s important to think about what you want from a degree in Mathematics and where you want your career to take you as a graduate.

Depending on the specialization you choose, your core classes will vary. However, here are some traditional courses Mathematics majors can expect to take:

  • Differential Equations
  • Calculus
  • Complex Variables
  • Foundations of Math
  • Linear Algebra
  • Math Structure for Computer Science
  • Modern Geometry
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Real Analysis
  • Research in Mathematics

Some universities focus on specific topics more than others, or offer specialist courses. For example, MIT focuses strongly on technology and engineering, offering great courses in Mathematics for Computer Science, whereas, Princeton offers excellent graduate courses in Research in Mathematics. Because of this, you’ll want to think about whether you’re just looking for a general undergraduate degree in Mathematics, or whether you’re planning to specialize in graduate study, or look for an academic career in Math.

Don’t Forget Price and Location

It might seem like the dream to study at an Ivy League university, but if the location and tuition costs aren’t right for you, they might not be the best option for you. You’re going to be studying at your chosen college for four of more years, meaning that the location should reflect your interests and comfort. Additionally, getting an Ivy League education doesn’t come cheap, and fees are often higher for international students. Always think about what you can afford, whether you need to apply for a scholarship, and whether studying at one of the more expensive institutions is attainable for you.

There are great options for studying mathematics all over the US. Think about what suits you best, beyond an excellent faculty. Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a big city? Or do you prefer small-town charm and a big student campus? There’s sure to be an option that’s right for you, whether it’s ranked 2 or 20 in the country.

If your dream is to study in New York, then New York University, Columbia University, or nearby Princeton or Rutgers, both in New Jersey, are great options. Other northeastern options include MIT, Harvard, Pennsylvania State University, The University of Pennsylvania, and Brown University in Rhode Island.

Heading northwest in the US, you’ve got the University of Washington. Or if you want to study somewhere in middle America, some options include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Michigan State University.

Alternatively, there are several options in the south including Texas A&M University, University of Texas, and Georgia Institute of Technology in the southeast. These universities are all in the top 30 for a degree in Mathematics, so your options across the US are plentiful. Consider which region is the right fit for you, as well as where you want to carry out an internship or apply for jobs or graduate study. This will provide you with a good starting point when exploring the top schools to study Mathematics in the US.

Some of the top schools based upon various rankings to study Mathematics in the US include:

  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • New York University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Chicago
  • Columbia University
  • University of Texas-Austin
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Texas A&M University-College Station
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Brown University
  • Duke University
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick
  • University of Washington
  • University of Pennsylvania

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