Summer opportunities for math majors!
Many undergraduate mathematics majors seek employment during the summer to assist with the cost of their education. But rather than working as a clerk in a department store or flipping burgers in a fast food chain, you may be able to get paid the same or more to continue your education through a summer research program or internship. It is a pretty sweet deal – they pay you to continue your education, learn some new math, and possibly gain fame by publishing your research!
Summer Research Programs for Undergraduates – REU’s
The NSF funds numerous summer research programs for undergraduate mathematics majors at university campuses across the nation. These are known as Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REUs. REU’s vary a lot from school to school but at a typical REU you will work with a faculty or graduate student advisor who will teach you about an area of mathematical research and guide through a successful research project. Some REU’s will have you do your own individual project while others will have you work collaboratively in groups.
The goal of an REU is usually for you to be able to publish an article in a journal that explains the results of your summer research. Such an article can be very valuable to have on your resume if you decide to apply for graduate school after graduation. You may also be provided with funding to present your research in a talk or at a poster session at a major national mathematics conference.
A typical REU program will last about seven to ten weeks and pay a stipend of around \$2000-\$4000 in addition to providing free housing at the host university. In addition to being a great way to earn money and learn some mathematics, it can provide an opportunity to visit and explore a new location far away from home for the summer. An REU may have from eight to twelve students in attendance and it is commonplace for them to schedule weekend activities to local places of interest. It is a great way to make friends and socialize for a summer with students who have a similar interest.
- REU Programs – at the NSF website.
- REU Programs – a similar list at the AMS website.
- Is an REU for you? – a nice article at the MAA website.
In the past, undergraduate math majors from the University of Scranton have attended the REU programs at Penn State, Lafayette, and Oregon State.
Summer Research Opportunities at the University of Scranton
Undergraduate mathematics majors at the University of Scranton also have several different avenues for doing undergraduate research right here under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Some of these opportunities are unfunded but provide transcript recognition at no cost and the same sort of benefits that doing research at an REU provides in terms of education, publication, talks, and improving your resume for graduate school.
This is also an internally funded research fellowship program available where you can receive \$3000 stipend plus \$500 travel money and free housing on campus for a ten week research project at our university. This is called the Presidents Fellowship for Summer Research. We have had several mathematics majors who were awarded the Presidents Fellowship in the past.
To participate in one of our internal research programs over the summer, you should first find a mathematics faculty member who is willing to mentor you on such a project. After that you can apply for the Presidential Fellowhship or FSRP program as indicated by the instructions at the links below.
- Presidential Fellowship – instructions for applying for summer funding to do research with a faculty mentor here at the University of Scranton.
- Student Research at the University of Scranton – an overview of the programs we have to offer.
Summer Internships in Mathematics
In addition to the research opportunities mentioned above, several government agencies and corporations offer undergraduate internships for math majors. These vary a lot from one internship to the next, so the best thing to do is shop around and read about them at their website.
- Summer Internships in Mathematics – a list compiled by the AMS
And finally, if you are a University of Scranton math major and have additional questions, feel free to contact me.