I am wondering if I can get into a PhD program in mathematics with my background.

  • I graduated from high school in 2008 and began community college majoring in computer science.
  • I took most of my lower division math at this college (single and multi variable calculus, and linear analysis (a combined linear algebra/differential equations course)).
  • I ended up taking a couple more years at this college instead of transferring right away.
  • Here I completed my general education requirements as well as the lower division prerequisites for several engineering majors.
  • In fall 2011 I applied to UCSB, UCSC, and the two Cal Polys for computer science with math as a backup.
  • I got accepted to UCSB for math; accepted to Cal Poly Pomona and UCSC for computer science, and rejected by Cal Poly SLO.
  • In 2012 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had two brief stints in a mental healthcare facility before we figured out a good fit with medications.
  • I ended up basically taking a year off to figure stuff out.
  • I reapplied to Cal Poly SLO (and nowhere else since I wanted to stay close to my family) for a math major, and was accepted. I enrolled in Sept 2013.
  • I graduated in December 2015 with an average record getting mostly Bs in my math classes, one or two Cs, and one or two As.

I don’t have any research experience. I am now working full-time as a software QA tester at a local tech company not really doing anything related to math.

I am quite bored in this current state, and would like to do something with my math background. One of my interests would be to enter into a graduate program and study more math and eventually become some sort of applied mathematician. I haven’t taken calculus for many years (since community college) and I understand that that’s a big part of the Math subject GRE, so I have been studying that subject out of the Princeton Review Math GRE book, as well as out of my Stewart Calculus textbook. Next I plan to review abstract algebra, some analysis, and learn something about Complex Analysis (which I never studied in school). I plan to take the Math GRE in October, and apply to some University of California PhD programs. If I don’t do well, I’ll take it again next April and hopefully do better, and then reapply to the UC programs again.

My question is, do you think my background would prevent me from getting into a PhD program? Should I apply to other schools, maybe even out-of-state, in order to increase my chances of acceptance? Is there more I can do with my free time to make myself a more viable candidate?

Thank you for reading, and let me know if you have any questions (I tried to be thorough).

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