Math Horizons is the undergraduate magazine of the MAA. It comes out four times during the academic year in print and electronic form (September, November, February, and April).
Audience and Level
We target undergraduate students who are enthusiastic about mathematics and have some mathematical training, but may be early in her or his college career. Imagine writing the article for a math-loving first-year student who is midway through the calculus sequence. Mathematics departments often buy the magazine in bulk and distribute it to their students.
Authors are free to—and are encouraged to—write about advanced topics such as topology, combinatorics, probability and statistics, linear algebra, and so on, but the author should assume that the readers don’t know that material. The articles should be self-contained, and all advanced topics should be defined and explained in a way that is understandable and interesting. This task is one of the most challenging for prospective authors.
Of course, every MAA member has free electronic access to Math Horizons, so many faculty members also read and enjoy the magazine.
The most important aspect of a submission is the quality of the writing. Articles should be written clearly in an inviting, lively, and informal style (not in the definition-theorem-proof-example style of mathematics journals). Presenting the mathematics at the right level is key. We want young students to enjoy and understand the piece, and we want experts to read it and nod with approval. It’s a challenging exercise in writing!
We are not a research journal in the traditional sense, so we do not insist on publishing only new mathematical results. An article could describe new mathematics, a new or surprising way to look at an existing result, an interesting application, an unusual perspective, a description of a forgotten piece of mathematics, a survey of existing results, and so on. We will not publish articles about mathematics that can be easily found elsewhere or that are too close to the mathematics in the standard curriculum.
We also publish articles about the culture of mathematics. We interpret this quite broadly. We welcome stories and interviews of mathematical people, the history of an idea or circle of ideas, applications, fiction, folklore, traditions, institutions, humor, puzzles, games, book reviews, student math club activities, and career opportunities and advice.
Read the Magazine
Perhaps the best advice for a prospective author: Read the magazine. The majority of rejected submissions are completely inappropriate for the magazine—they are too long, or too technical, or too advanced, or too elementary. Any reader of the magazine would know that such submissions are not a good fit. To see some examples of good Math Horizons articles, read winners of the MAA’s Trevor Evans Award (an award given to authors of exceptional Math Horizons articles) or some of the sample articles on the MAA website. MAA members can access all past issues (1993–present) through the MAA website. All past issues are also available at Jstor.
The magazine is 36 pages long. So space is limited. We print very few articles more than four pages long—typically this means 2,200 words or fewer (although a lot of factors go into the length of an article—such as the number of images). Single-page items like book reviews and the Aftermath editorial are typically 650–700 words. The student-written View From Here column is typically two pages, or approximately 1,200–1,400 words.
Math Horizons is full color on every page. We love colorful images. The submitted manuscript can have artwork embedded in the document, but after the article has been accepted, we will ask for the artwork to be sent separately. We accept all common file formats—e.g., JPG, EPS, PNG, TIFF, and PDF—but we require high-quality images. The magazine prints at 300 dpi, so, for example an image that is 300 pixels by 600 pixels would be inch-by-two inches in the magazine.
Before publication you must secure permissions to use any artwork that you did not create yourself, is not in the public domain, or is not licensed for commercial use (Math Horizons is a commercial publication). Generally, the MAA will not pay for permissions.
Each article ends with one 25- to 30-word bio for each author. Feel free to make it fun or funny or to connect it to the content of article. We include the author’s email address unless requested otherwise.
Math Horizons articles do not contain abstracts. Your submission need not have one.
Occasionally articles have supplementary material, such as videos, data, and printable documents. Such content can be housed on the Math Horizons web page.
We generally follow the Chicago Manual of Style with some exceptions for house style. All articles will be edited and copyedited for length, content, and style.
We strongly urge authors write in a way that forestalls the need for footnotes—or to use as few as possible. We prefer to put citations in the text. References are formatted generally according to the MAA style guide.
We prefer submissions prepared in Microsoft Word, but we accept all formats.
Manuscripts may be submitted electronically (preferred) to editor David Richeson (email@example.com). If submitting by mail, please send a hard copy to:
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Feel free to contact the editor with any questions about Math Horizons or with any article ideas.
Submissions to the Problem Section
The Playground features problems for students at the undergraduate and (challenging) high school levels. All problems and/or solutions can be submitted to our Problem Section editor, Gary Gordon, at the following address:
Easton, PA 18042
Electronic submissions (preferred) may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, email address, and school affiliation, and indicate if you are a student. If a problem has multiple parts, solutions for individual parts will be accepted. Unless otherwise stated, problems have been solved by their proposers.