Opportunities for Undergraduates

If you're interested in conducting mathematical research as an undergraduate then there are a number of programs you should know about. There are also several semester-long programs which do not necessarily involve doing original research, but will allow you to travel to a cool location and learn some interesting math that people normally have to wait until graduate school to get exposed to. I should note that much of the material on this page was taken from the awesome site that sarah-marie belcastro put together. For more opportunities for undergraduate math students, see this AMS website and this MAA website.

If you're an Oberlin student then you should consider participating in the math department's winter term group project: Research Experience in Math. As part of this project students read research papers and formulate their own related problems to attack. This project is open to anyone who has taken Math 220: Discrete Math or Math 232: Linear Algebra.

If you're interested in learning what it's like to do research in mathematics then you should definitely consider applying to a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. These summer programs are typically eight weeks long. During these programs students tend to work on research projects in small groups under the mentorship of a professor. It is fairly common for students to present their research at a conference sometime during the summer or following academic year. If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to go to graduate school then you should definitely apply to some REUs, as part of their mission is to give students a flavor of what graduate school is like. Basically, REUs are super fun programs where you can do mathematical research and meet other talented undergraduates that are excited about math. And they even pay you! For more information about why you should consider doing an REU, see the article Is an REU for You?

The application deadlines for REUs tend to be in February and March. Here is a list of REUs you should consider applying to. Something to keep in mind is that because REUs tend to have their funding come from the National Science Foundation (NSF), most are only able to accept students that are US citizens or permanent residents.

Carnegie Mellon University has a Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute program which you should consider applying to if you are interested in working on applied mathematics research projects. Applicants to the program should have just finished their sophomore or junior year. A major goal of the program is to give students a taste of what graduate school and research is like so that they can make a more informed decision when it comes time to decide whether or not to apply to graduate school. Applications are due in March. US citizens and permanent residents who are selected into the program will receive a stipend, housing, and an allowance for food. The program apparently also admits international students, though they will be required to pay a registration fee as well as be responsible for their own travel, food and housing expenses.

Every summer the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) has a three week Undergraduate Summer School (USS) program where students take courses on various advanced topics. This program is open to students at all levels (including students that have recently graduated), with some courses being aimed at students having taken only introductory math courses and others assuming more advanced coursework. The deadline for applications to the program is in mid-February. According to the program's website: "Students who are accepted to the Undergraduate Summer School receive full funding from PCMI, including registration fee/meals, lodging, and travel allowance. USS participants who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents receive a stipend of $1,100. (Due to National Science Foundation rules, USS participants must meet one of these criteria to be eligible for a stipend.)"

The Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics in Los Angeles has a Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) program where students to work in teams on a real-world research projects proposed by sponsors from industry or the public sector. The program is nine weeks long and provides students with housing, a travel allowance and a stipend. Applicants are expected to have taken some advanced math courses as well as some computer programming courses. International students are eligible to apply to RIPS. The application deadline is in February.

Opportunities for women


Every May the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has a Program for Women and Mathematics which is open to undergraduate students at the junior and senior levels. The topics covered in the courses vary from year to year but generally require having taken a first course in group theory and occasionally a course in topology as well. Applicants accepted into the program will receive support for shared lodging, meals and transportation.

Women who are graduating and will be beginning graduate school in the fall should consider applying to the EDGE Summer Program for Women.

Smith College has a one year postbaccalaureate program for women who would like to pursue a graduate degree in mathematics and would like to improve their background before doing so.

A number of other programs for women in mathematics are listed at the AWM's website.

Opportunities for non-US citizens


Unfortunately many US summer programs are unable to accept international students. This is the case with many REUs. It is still worth looking through the list of REUs linked to above since a few of the programs are able to admit a small number of international students. If you are able to finance your own travel and living expenses then it is worth reaching out to programs as some will therefore be able to consider your application. A few programs that regularly admit international students are:

Opportunities for freshmen and sophomores


The following summer programs regularly accept freshmen and sophomore students that have not yet taken advanced math courses like Algebra I: Group Theory or Foundations of Analysis.

Semester-Long Programs