For current mathematics majors
Here are some of the many opportunities and activities available to mathematics majors at UMaine.
The Problem Seminar and the Putnam Competition
The Putnam Competition is an annual mathematics competition for undergraduates, taking place on a Saturday each December. Students compete both individually and as a school team by working on 12 challenging math problems. We offer a 1-credit Problem Seminar MAT 329 each fall semester to give students a chance to work on interesting math problems and help prepare them for the competition.
Pi Mu Epsilon
Pi Mu Epsilon is a national mathematics honor society, and the Maine Alpha chapter doubles as our Math Club. Each year at our awards ceremony, new members are inducted. Throughout the year, the society hosts activities of interest to mathematics students.
The Capstone Seminar
All math majors write a capstone paper about a mathematical topic of interest. This is typically done in the spring semester of the senior year in MAT 401. However, there is no reason to wait until your final semester to start thinking about your capstone project. If you take a class that you really enjoy, speak to your professor about possible project ideas!
Colloquium and Pizza Pi talks
The department normally has a colloquium talk on Wednesday afternoons, preceded by tea and cookies. These are a chance for us to chat and get to know each other outside the classroom, and enjoy a talk by a visitor or one of our own faculty. The level of these talks varies, but Pizza Pi talks (accompanied by pizza) are specifically aimed at undergraduates.
Awards and Scholarships
Thousands of dollars in scholarships are awarded annually to mathematics majors, thanks to donations from generous alumni and others. See here for the slides for the 2022 Ceremony.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
Some math majors take advantage of the many opportunities for research, both in the department and externally. The following pages list undergraduate summer research programs across the country.
See also our Links/Resources page.
Considering Graduate School
If you like math a lot, but feel as if you’ve only scratched the surface as graduation nears, you may wish to consider going for an advanced degree. One thing that some students may not realize is that many graduate programs including ours offer TA support to students. Teaching Assistantships cover the full cost of tuition and provide a living stipend.
The AMS maintains a page with lots of information about graduate school in mathematics. Doing a PhD normally takes 5-6 years. It is a big commitment and challenge, but for people who really love math and want to go deep, this is a rewarding venture. In addition to a very strong track record in your coursework, most PhD programs require the GRE, including the Math Subject GRE. The latter test is quite difficult, so you will need to study hard for it.
Many students opt instead to do a 2-year master’s program. This gives you the flexibility to test the waters, and then go into teaching or industry, or continue on for a PhD. The application procedure for our own MA program is quite painless, and we encourage you to apply in January of the year of graduation. Strong math students may wish to consider our Four-Plus BA/MA program.