Undergraduate Knowledge of the Mathematics Graduate School Application Process (Knowledge-GAP)
Effective Years: 2022-2024
This project aims to illuminate how undergraduate student knowledge about the graduate school application and admissions processes acts as a barrier to earning advanced degrees in mathematics for students historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines. The project will consist of a combination of exploratory research and professional development activities to advance the PI’s expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods. The project will survey undergraduate mathematics majors at colleges and universities across the country, and professional development activities will include mentoring from senior STEM education researchers, taking courses in research methods, and attending relevant conferences and workshops. This project aims to position the investigator to contribute knowledge about the STEM graduate school pipeline and to explore the historic inequalities built within that pipeline.
The goal of the project is to determine which factors affect undergraduate students’ interest in and knowledge about mathematics graduate school application and admissions processes. The project also seeks to determine how best to support students interested in applying to graduate programs in mathematics. The research will explore how undergraduate students learn about the graduate school application process and what aspects of their environment facilitate or hinder the acquisition of this knowledge. The project aims to answer several broad research questions: (1) What percentage of undergraduate mathematics majors are interested in going to graduate school in mathematics? What do undergraduate mathematics majors know about the graduate school application process? (2) What features of mathematics departments and universities contribute to undergraduate knowledge about graduate mathematics programs and their application process? (3) Do mathematics majors have access to the resources needed to apply to graduate mathematics programs? (4) Do knowledge of the graduate school application process and access to application resources differ by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender of the students? The evidence expected to be produced by this research could be used to create or enhance strategies for improving student access to knowledge about the graduate school application process and could broaden participation of underrepresented students in graduate mathematics.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.