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The College Mathematics Journal: Guidelines for Authors

CMJ seeks lively, well-motivated articles that will enrich undergraduate instruction and enhance classroom learning, as well as expository papers that stimulate the thinking and broaden the perspectives of those who teach undergraduate-level mathematics. Articles involving all aspects of mathematics are welcome, including history, philosophy, problem solving, pedagogy, applications, computation, and so on.

See our Guidelines for Authors for more information.

Style Do's

  1. Write in an inviting, captivating style. If you fail to capture the reader’s attention in the first paragraph, it is unlikely that you will do so later on. Any of the following are desirable as an opening paragraph: a surprising conclusion, an especially exciting example, an easily understood enticing challenge, a simple figure that poses an interesting question, a relevant anecdote, or a shocking fact. Your first paragraph should motivate what you intend to do in your article.
  2. Provide a generous list of references (in the same style as those in a current issue of the CMJ). If appropriate, inclusion of a few exercises is encouraged. In general, articles should stimulate readers to learn more about a topic.
  3. Illustrations that capture the essence of a mathematical idea, as well as the reader’s attention, are especially encouraged.

Style Don'ts

  1. Avoid a ‘theorem-proof’ organization. Proofs in the CMJ should be presented as well-illustrated stories in which the plot stands out clearly.
  2. Avoid long, detailed calculations. Provide enough details and, when necessary, descriptive dialogue so that readers can follow your results. But omit easily verified, tedious calculations or those that can be found in readily available sources.
  3. Try to avoid specialized jargon and complicated notation. When technical terms are needed, define and illustrate those likely to be familiar only to specialists.


CMJ articles do not have an abstract, nor a section header called “Introduction.” Rather, they just start with that engaging opening section described above. There is a short summary printed at the end of each article. That short summary is used in various places to advertise your paper.  Therefore, it should entice the prospective reader into exploring the subject of the paper and should make it clear to the reader why this paper is interesting and important.  The summary should highlight the concepts of the paper rather than summarize the mechanics.  The summary is the first impression of the paper, not a technical summary of the paper.  Excessive use of notation is discouraged as it can limit the interest of the broad readership of the MAA.


The 48 articles of volume 43 (2012) have a mean length of about six pages (with standard deviation two). Also realize that journal pages are shorter than standard TeX pages.


Use the AMS standard abbreviations for journals, available here. Do not submit a separate BibTeX file, instead incorporate the references into the same LaTeX file as the article. For complete information on formatting references for all MAA journals please download our Reference Guide.

Web Supplements

While the print article needs to stand on its own, supplements available on the CMJ webpage are appropriate for applets, solutions to exercises, proof details, computer code, additional examples, etc.


It is best if you write your manuscript using LaTeX. LaTeX style files and template files are available here.

Double Blind Refereeing and Revisions

CMJ has long used double-blind refereeing, so be sure that your name does not appear on the manuscript. In practice, almost every paper requires careful revision by the author in response to referee suggestions, followed by still further editing for style and length.

Submitting an Article

Submissions of articles are required via the CMJ’s Editorial Management System, The system will cue the author for all required information. Questions concerning submission of papers can be addressed to the editor at [email protected].

Other Submissions

In addition to articles, CMJ publishes the following types of submissions, Classroom Capsules, Proofs Without Words, problems, solutions to published problems and Media Highlights. Letters to the Editor on any topic are also welcome, and all kinds of comments, criticisms, and suggestions for making CMJ more lively, entertaining, and informative. Letters to the Editor may be published at the editor's discretion.

A Classroom Capsule is a short (1–3 page) article that contains a new insight on a topic taught in the earlier years of undergraduate mathematics, preferably something that can be directly introduced into a college classroom as an effective teaching strategy or tool. Submissions of Classroom Capsules are required via the CMJ’s Editorial Management System, described above for articles.

Proofs Without Words supply visual understanding of a mathematical result in at most one page.  Submission is required through CMJ's Editorial Manager System,​.

Problems and Solutions aim to challenge students and/or teachers of collegiate mathematics. They can address any part of the undergraduate curriculum. Whenever possible, a proposed problem should be accompanied by a solution, appropriate references, and any other material that would be helpful to the editors. Proposed problems should be sent to [email protected]. Solutions of published problems should be sent to [email protected].

Media Highlights are short, approximately half-page, reviews intended to help CMJ readers monitor a broad spectrum of publications, web materials, professional activities, and instructional resources. Readers are encouraged to submit items that will be of interest to colleagues in the mathematical community. Media Highlights should be sent to [email protected].

Any other submissions and general inquiries should be sent to the editor at [email protected].