“Ph.D. programs are generally interested in highly specialized applicants, so a low math score, for example, won’t necessarily hurt your chances of acceptance to great humanities and social sciences programs,” Curtis wrote in an email. “I recently worked with a student who was accepted to a top history Ph.D. program with a math score in the 40th percentile. He had numerous publications and extensive teaching experience, the benefits of which far outweighed his poor performance in math.”