Summer programs

General information on REUs

If you’re interested in learning what it’s like to do research then you should consider applying to a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. These summer programs are typically eight weeks long, during which students tend to work on research projects in small groups under the mentorship of a professor. Typically students get to present their research at a conference sometime during the summer or following academic year. If you’re on the fence about going to graduate school then you should definitely apply, as part of the mission of an REU is to give students a flavor of what graduate school is like. For more information, see the article Is an REU for you?

The following lists compile information on summer opportunities.

  • has a great, constantly up to date compilation of REU programs. It includes notes on whether a program accepts international students, application deadlines, program dates, and project topics.
  • AMS REU list: the American Mathematical Society (AMS) maintains a list of programs, mostly in the US and Canada.
  • NSF REU list: these programs are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and typically can only provide funding to students who are US citizens. However, some still accept international students who bring their own funding. More on this is below.

Application process

  • When to apply: applications deadlines are usually in February and early March
  • How to apply: each program will have its own process, but they will likely all ask for one or two letters of recommendation, personal statement of purpose or interest, and an unofficial transcript.
  • Asking for letters of recommendation: the faculty all see writing letters of recommendation as an important part of our jobs and we want you to ask us for letters. Things get busy though, so it’s important to give notice and be organized when asking. Everyone has their own expectations but here are some general tips:
    • give at least 3 weeks’ notice
    • send a reminders starting a week in advance
    • send information about the letter submission process
    • send a draft of the personal statement if it’s required for the application
    • send an unofficial transcript
  • Writing a statement: Here are some general things that you should include in a personal statement
    • what aspects of math/stat have interested you in the past
    • why the program you’re applying to seems like a good fit or what proposed projects are you most interested in
    • you should write something mathematical in the statement. It’s important to express your excitement, be specific, and show that you can communicate a technical idea succinctly.

International students

Using Lynk funding. A number of international students have used Lynk to bring their own funding to an REU which would otherwise not accept international students. REU sites often will not explicitly mention this, but many are amenable if you reach out.

The following REUs explicitly take international students.

First-years and sophomores

  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland will be hosting a seven week research program for undergraduates in the summers of 2018 and 2020. The goal of the program is to attract underrepresented students to mathematics by providing access to research typically only available to those who are already highly accomplished in the discipline. Applicants are required to have done well in Calculus I and II and to have not yet taken any advanced coursework in mathematics. Applications for the summer of 2018 will be considered on a rolling basis beginning in April 2018.

  • The PCMI’s Undergraduate Summer School (USS) frequently offers courses for students that have taken a minimal number of advanced math courses.

Research with MHC math/stat faculty

A number of faculty are on campus each summer working on research projects with students in a setting similar to an REU. You should get in touch with faculty in the spring semester if you think you’re interested.

  • When and how to apply: a Google form is usually sent out in March or April. Make sure to talk to faculty as well to get an idea of their availability and what kinds of projects you might work on.
  • Dates: 8 weeks or so in June and July; this is flexible.
  • Funding: Lynk funding can be used. Other funding sources might also be available.
  • Housing: campus housing is usually available, but you should get in touch with the housing office as soon as possible. In the past, people have also shared short term apartments in Amherst or other nearby towns.

Other programs

Semester long programs

There are several semester-long programs which do not necessarily involve doing original research, but will allow you to travel and learn interesting math that people normally have to wait until graduate school to get exposed to.

  • The Budapest Semesters in Math (BSM) program is a 15-week study abroad program in Budapest, Hungary. (The math courses are all taught in English.)
  • The Math in Moscow program is a 15-week study abroad program in Moscow, Russia. (The math courses are all taught in English.)
  • Every fall Penn State hosts the Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS) program. According to the MASS website, the program “combines advanced learning with research initiation and provides a highly charged interactive environment among a critical mass of talented and motivated students and a committed group of strong research faculty and top graduate students. For most of its participants, the MASS program serves as a spring board to graduate schools in mathematics”.

These programs are open to international students.

Graduating students

There are several programs which are meant to be a stepping stone to graduate school.