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In the Department of Mathematics at CMU we want to help our students find opportunities to conduct research in various fields of mathematics. Here is some general advice for students interested in undergraduate research experience.
Many universities in the US host summer undergraduate research experience programs, known as REUs. For a list of mathematics REU programs and useful links visit the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) websites.
Our department hosts a similar summer program called the Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute (SUAMI). This program is slightly different from a traditional REU in that it seeks to emulate the graduate school experience by including both coursework and research.
To have a better chance to qualify for an undergraduate research program, we advice that you take advanced undergraduate courses (level 300 and above). This will help you narrow down the area of mathematics in which you are both interested and can succeed, as well as introduce you to the faculty who work in the area of your interest. Even if you do not work on research with your professor in the future, he or she can provide you with a recommendation for a research program and introduce you to colleagues working in the same field.
If you plan to conduct research with a faculty member in our department over the summer, there are funding opportunities available at the Undergraduate Research Office (URO) at Carnegie Mellon. Note that this site carries information about other opportunities, such as funding to support students presenting at conferences.
One of our mathematics courses, Undergraduate Research Topic (21-499), is a good place to obtain a first experience in basic undergraduate research. The content of this course is decided by the faculty member teaching it.
There are many great international summer research programs, such as Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. If you are accepted in such a program, you might be eligible for funding from the Jennings Family Brave Companions Fund for Mathematical Sciences.
If you are still perplexed on how to find the best research opportunities available to you, make an appointment with our undergraduate research director, Irina Gheorghiciuc. Students interested in doing research in biology, chemistry or physics should visit the Mellon College of Science Undergraduate Research website.