The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is the largest mathematical society in the world that focuses on mathematics for students, faculty, professional mathematicians, and all who are interested in the mathematical sciences; that is, mathematics at the undergraduate level. Our members include university, college, and high school teachers; high school, undergraduate and graduate students; and others in academia, government, business, and industry. Our core interests are Education, Research, Professional Development, Public Policy, and Public Appreciation. The student web pages cover topics in academics, careers, research/summer opportunities, meetings for students, and more. If you are not yet a member, we urge you to consider joining and ask you to visit our membership page. As a member, you can help the MAA fulfill our goals to benefit you, the student.
Advisors! You can find the latest MAA Student Chapter Newsletter here.
Student members of the MAA get benefits like:
- Math Horizons, an engaging full-color magazine written especially for students
- FOCUS Newsletter with current mathematical news and articles
- Career Information
- Add optional expository journals to your membership for an additional fee.
- Student programs/competitions at section meetings and national MathFest meetings
- Note your MAA membeship on job resumes and graduate school applications
- Enrollment in your regional MAA section, where you can catch up with professors and other mathematics students, hear some good talks about mathematics, give a talk yourself or participate in a special session for students.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is an annual contest for college students established in 1938 in memory of its namesake. Cash prizes for the top five teams in recent years ranged from $25,000 to $5,000. Recent cash prizes for the top five individuals have been $2,500 each. The exam, administered by the MAA, is held the first Saturday in December (Note: registration needs to be in the Director's hands by mid-October). More information (including how to register for the exam) can be found at the official site.
Mathematicians find careers in many diverse fields. The most popular career choice for Mathematicians is teaching, which many find to be very rewarding. At the same time, one of the top ten jobs every year is actuary, which applies statistics to determine the chance of risk and its financial consequences. Mathematicians work in operations research, computer science, cryptography, biotechnology, and more. Visit the MAA Careers page for more information.
Ready to look for a job? MAA Math Classifieds is available to help you find a career in the diverse field of mathematics. We invite you to explore this site to begin your job search.
For those interested in graduate school, check out our grad school opportunities on this page.
Over the last few decades, there has been an explosion in undergraduate student research. Much of this is being done through faculty-directed research within a department while others are done in summer research programs (see below). Student research is the ultimate in engaged learning. Sometimes the result of a capstone course, sometimes because a school requires a Senior Thesis, and sometimes resulting from an enthusiastic student approaching a professor and asking for help, these research experiences are proven to enhance the student's time in school. In a survey by David Lopatto of Grinnell College "students rated benefits such as 'learning a topic in depth,' 'developing a continuing relationship with a faculty member,' 'understanding the research process in your field,' and 'readiness for more demanding research' very highly." Undergraduate research can lead to speaking at local and/or national meetings or publication is research journals.
Budapest Semester in Math - A 15-week mathematics study abroad program in Budapest, Hungary. Students take mathematics classes taught in English.
Junior Year for Women at Smith College - For women in the junior year to attend Smith College to get intensive training in mathematics while building the skills and confidence needed to succeed in graduate school mathematics.
Math in Moscow - A 15-week mathematics study abroud program in Moscow, Russia. Students take math classes taught in English.
Penn State's MASS (Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters) Program - A fall semester at Penn State with advanced courses and beginning research.
Research Experience for Undergraduates- REU Programs are summer programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). REUs usually consist of two parts: intensive study of topics through lecture and interaction, and student research on a question/questions. Travel costs are paid for as well as room and board. A stipend is given to participants. These are all available on a competitive basis.
The list of Summer 2011 REUs is now available.
National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program - The NREUP is administered by the MAA through its SUMMA (Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement) Program and made possible via a grant from the Moody's Foundation, the NSF, and the National Security Agency. These research experiences are similar in nature to REUs, but are designed to reach out to minority students at the midpoint of their undergraduate programs.
Summer Program for Women in Mathematics - Hosted by George Washington University, this intensive five-week program is for women who have finished their junior year of college and may be considering graduate work in the mathematical sciences.
Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute - Held at the Center for Nonlinear Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, in addition to a stipend participants receive credit from Carnegie Mellon for this 7-week learning and research experience.
Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry Undergraduate Fellowship Program - This program focuses more on chemistry and physics, however those with strong math and programming skills are welcome to apply.
Park City Math Institute Summer Program for Undergraduates - A 3-week summer program where students learn about an advanced topic and work on an individual project.
Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) Summer Program - This program involves applied mathematics problems from industry.
University of Nebraska Summer IMMERSE Program - A six-week summer program to help prepare students who are about to enter graduate school in mathematics.
EDGE Summer Program for Women - For women who are entering graduate school or who have completed one year of graduate studies.
Other opportunities - An excellent source of summer programs and other opportunities can be found at the AWM's site.
Meetings are an important part of the educational process. These are where you can meet other people with your same interest in mathematics. It's where you can listen to talks on your favorite subject, see a panel discussion on careers, and relax watching Math Jeopardy.
Sections Meetings – the MAA divides the U.S. and Canada into 29 sections, each of which have at least one meeting per year. There could be one near you soon.
Regional Mathematics Undergraduate Conferences - The MAA helps fund several RUMCs per year. These meetings are devoted to undergraduates and their research. The list of this years conferences can be found at the RUMC page.
Ohio State Young Mathematicians Conference - Held every August since 2003, the YMC, features hour-long talks by well-known mathematicians and short talks by undergraduate researchers.
Joint Mathematics Meetings - The JMM is a combined meeting of the MAA along with the American Mathematics Society (AMS) and others, held every January. This is a large gathering, drawing more than 5000 participants per year (including hundreds of students like you). It sounds intimidating, but there are many things for undergraduates to do. One highlight is the Undergraduate Student Poster Session, where undergraduates present their research. An article covering the 2009 Poster Session has been published in MAA Focus. The MAA also publishes a brochure for students on how to get the most out of the JMM and MathFest.
MathFest - The large national summer meeting of the MAA. Its concentration is on students, some talking about their research they have been involved in throughout the year and the summer, others enjoying Math Jeopardy, and still more taking advantage of activities such as a session on math and origami. While not as big as the JMM, it is a great end-of-summer/beginning-of-school-year event. Additionally, there are funds available to help with the travel cost of those who will be speaking. Click here for advice about applying for travel funding.
Graduate School Fair
Since 2008 the MAA and the AMS have hosted a Graduate School Fair during the Joint Mathematics Meetings. Representatives from graduate schools throughout North America come to show off their programs to prospective students and talk to interested undergraduates. Hundreds of students have used this opportunity to talk to spokespersons from universities in which they are interested. Take advantage of this unique gathering this coming January in San Francisco!
Perhaps you've found a favorite subject that you want to investigate more deeply. Maybe you wish to add to your undergraduate degree and make yourself more marketable. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of options for Master's degree programs. At most of them, you'll qualify for a Teaching Assistanship or Research Assistantship which will help pay for the program. It's an investment which can have a big return. According to the Census Bureau, a Master's degree is worth almost $500,000 more over a working lifetime than a Bachelor's alone.
Professional Master's Degree
What is a professional Master's? It is a degree which is not meant to feed into a PhD program, but is capable of standing on its own. Terminal Master's degrees in mathematics can be found with concentration in fields such as Biology, Finance, and Operations Research. For a good list of subjects, and schools with professional Master's in that subject, go to the AMS page.
A PhD in mathematics usually brings to mind a career teaching at a university. While this is true, there are a lot more opportunities available. Operations research analyst, statistician, biomathematician, and more are available. AMS has put together a good presentation on finding an industry job. For advice on both non-academic and academic jobs, check out the AMS's Advice for New PhDs.