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National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics. Each year mathematical sciences faculty are invited to apply for a grant to host National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at their own campus over the summer. NREUP is structured both to increase undergraduate completion rates and encourage more students to pursue graduate study by exposing them to research experiences after they complete their sophomore year (at this point in their studies, students typically have a strong background in calculus and a course such as linear algebra or differential equations with some degree of exposure to the proof-based mathematics needed prior to undertaking a research project). NREUP is designed to reach minority students at a critical point in their career path - midway through their undergraduate programs. As course work becomes more abstract and students are required to work independently, many promising students are not able to adjust to the demands of a major in mathematics, but with a strong connection to a faculty mentor established through the NREUP, students are given the tools they need to succeed.

About the Program
About the Program
How to Apply
How to Apply
Previous Cohorts
Previous Cohorts
Contact Us
Contact Us




Support for this Mathematical Association of America (MAA) program is provided by the National Science Foundation, Award #DMS-1950644.



A fundamental problem at the undergraduate level is that Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native minority students complete college at lower rates than majority students and many of them change to non-quantitative majors along the way. These groups are even more underrepresented in the mathematical sciences.Many studies have established the need to attract minority students in the United States to careers in mathematics, science, and engineering and reinforced the notion that we will be unable to meet our nation’s needs unless we tap this population. We have a responsibility to members of minority groups, predicted to become the majority in America, to assist them in seizing opportunities in fields with high economic potential and a high degree of job satisfaction.

Since 2003, through the National REU Program (NREUP), the MAA has been helping faculty recruit and mentor undergraduate research students from traditionally underrepresented groups. The program began when the MAA conducted a pilot version of this project in summer 2003 using funds from the National Security Agency (NSA) that served eight students at three sites. Since then, NREUP has grown from the pilot program to a fully developed program, having received funding from the Moody Foundation, NSA and NSF.


The NREUP aims to:

  • Create opportunities for deep and meaningful undergraduate research.
  • Build faculty capacity and develop a workforce that can support and mentor all students.
  • Create a sense of belonging and community.


The MAA invites mathematical sciences faculty to apply for grants to host an MAA Student Research Program on their own campuses for at least seven weeks during summer. The faculty member should construct a program that will provide an appropriate and supportive research environment for undergraduate students, who are usually in their first research experience. In their proposal, the faculty member should discuss how they will build student ability and interest in persisting and thriving in the mathematical sciences, by making sure they can include details of both the mathematical research content and problems and the mentoring environment. A full list of proposal requirements can be found here

These grants will support stipends for one faculty researcher and a minimum of four local minority undergraduates, as well as costs for student room and board.

The budget:

  • can include up to $5,500 for a faculty stipend,
  • can include at least $3,500 stipend per student and up to $2,000 per student for room and board. At least four students must be supported at each site.
  • Direct costs for each grant will not exceed $27,500.
  • Indirect or F&A costs must be included in the budget in addition to direct costs.


To apply for an MAA NREUP Grant, you must submit an application through Amplifund, our online application portal. You will need to create a free account within the Amplifund system. If awarded, this account will be used to administer your award, so please be sure to enter all of your contact information correctly.

Currently, we are not accepting applications for NREUP. We expect the application portal to open for the 2021-22 cycle on or about November 2, 2020.


Applications are accepted from faculty at colleges and universities. Students may not apply; however, they can discuss this opportunity with their mathematics faculty to see if they would be interested in leading an NREUP.

The NREUP is designed to engage underrepresented students in mathematics, specifically ethnic minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders). However, there is no set of descriptors that can be entirely defining as a minority, and faculty advisors should make a case in their proposal if student eligibility is in question. Ethnic/racial identity is self-reporting, and for NREUP’s purposes, should follow the categories of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. White and Asian students are not considered “underrepresented groups” in mathematics. For the purposes of NREUP, the students must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or U.S. territories.   

Please note that PIs and institutions that have REU sites supported by National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences REU sites are ineligible to receive funding from the MAA NREUP grant. 


The MAA will select the best from competing proposals with advice from an external review panel. The project description of each proposal must include details on the research focus and two sample research problems. It will be strongly stressed to the student participants that they are expected to complete original research and write up their results individually or jointly in a format appropriate for publication, present the results in extramural venues, and submit the results to appropriate professional journals for publication. The project should provide them with training to be able to do this. The project description should describe how this encouragement and training will be provided.

The NREUP approach to undergraduate research training has been refined over the past 15 years. To advance the project goals, the MAA stipulates the following program structure at each NREUP site, which is now well-tested and effective:

  • Orientation and ramp up
    • Each student will generally begin the program by spending about the first two-three weeks in an intensive introduction to a research topic that is not a standard part of the undergraduate curriculum but that is accessible to students who have had some exposure to proof-based mathematics beyond calculus. The MAA already publishes a number of books that can be used as texts and resources for these topics, such as Robert McLeod’s, The Generalized Riemann Integral and David Barnett’s, Map Coloring, Polyhedra, and the Four-Color Problem.
  • Individual and collaborative research program
    • For the rest of the program, each student will work on an open-ended individual research project. Each project will be stated generally enough for the student to choose from a number of different directions of exploration. The students will be encouraged to share ideas and brainstorm together, but each will be held responsible for deriving the main results of the project on their own.
  • Mentoring
    • Students will work on their research projects under the close supervision of the faculty researcher. Each researcher on the project will supervise one or more students working in similar areas, providing guidance and encouragement as needed.
  • Research and career seminars
    • Where funds permit, a visiting mathematician will give a seminar talk on a subject accessible to the students and discuss options for careers in mathematics with them. A high proportion of these visitors will be minority mathematicians, with additional researchers sought who have demonstrated interest and success in working with underrepresented minority students.
  • Presenting results
    • Where funds permit, program students will attend one professional conference during the regular academic year at which they will present the results of their research. It may be possible for some of the individual researchers to budget funds for conference presentations and still meet the other budget constraints. A number of other such opportunities exist with the National Association of Mathematicians, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. The MAA has student paper and poster sessions at both national and regional conferences and an extensive portion of its MathFest conference each summer is devoted to student presentations and activities.

In addition to a project description that follows the above program structure, proposals will need to include:

  • A schedule for each week of activities
  • The names, email addresses, ethnicity, and home institutions of the minority undergraduates
  • Student pre-requisites and any other information that will explain the level and nature of work that will be expected of the students
  • Your expected outcomes and how you will assess the effectiveness of the project
  • Two-page CV of project director and co-project directors (as an attached document)
  • A budget with budget justification.
  • A letter of support (as an attached document)

In addition to the above requirements, renewal proposals must list all papers submitted for publication resulting from prior NREUP-funded projects, along with their status, as well as all extramural presentations and the venues. Renewal proposals must also show evidence of its previous participants going on to attend other undergraduate research experience programs.




For further information about the program, please contact MAA Programs.