I hesitate to call this page frequently asked questions .
Here are some questions I have been asked in connection with the math
summer undergraduate research
Q: Where can I find a list of summer REUs?
A: The AMS website has a listing.
Q: I am an international student. Can I get funding for an
A: The US REUs typically do not offer funding for international
students. However, Brown does have a program whereby they will
give you a stipend as you participate in a US summer internernship.
You have to compete for the money, through. See
Q: What opportunities are there, at Brown, for undergraduate summer
A: One option is to arrange with one of the professors to work, in
a supervised way, on a research topic. If you are lucky, the professor
will agree, and may even be able to support you with a modest summer stipend.
You have to talk to the individual professors to see if this is possible.
Another option, much more competitive, is to apply to Brown's new
math research institute,
Q: Is it necessary to get a Master's Degree in
math before trying for a PhD in math?
A: No. Strong undergraduate math concentrators
often go directly into a PhD program.
If you want to continue your studies in math
beyond the undergraduate stage, you should
definitely talk to your professors, or to the
concentration advisor, about what would
be a good plan for you.
Q: How to I apply for graduate study in math?
A: Here is the procedure, roughly:
also a good idea to bear in mind some of the major
graduate funding opportunities such as the
National Science Fellowship Graduate Fellowships.
- Pick out a handful
of places where you would like to apply, and then
get their applications. You should do this early
in the fall of your senior year.
- Line up at least 3 professors who can write you
- Schedule a
time to take the GRE, especially the math subject
- Send in the apps. sometime around October
or November. The deadlines probably vary somewhat
from year to year, and from place to place.
Q: How do I decide which graduate schools to apply to?
A: This isn't so easy to answer. A good rule of thumb is that,
if you are one of the top 5 math graduating math concentrators
at Brown, you can expect to go to a graduate school that
is about as good as Brown. In general, you should try to
pick a few places you have a decent chance of getting
accepted to, and then supplement the list with a few
safety schools and also a few schools that might be
slightly out of range.
Q: How do I find out which calculus class I should take when
I come to Brown?
A: Go to the
calculus placement page
Q: I got a 5 on my AP BC calculus test, which supposedly
gives me credit for Math 0100. However, I don't feel
comfortable with what I learned in high school and want
to retake the class. Can I do this?
A: Prior to this year (2012), the answer was basically yes.
you would talk about this with the
math department chairman and, with permission, you could
formally relinquish your AP credit and then retake the
class. However, just this year the registrar changed the
rules so you cannot do this. However, it is still possible
to ''vagabond'' the class, which is to say informally sit
in it. I think that the new policy of the registrar is a
stupid one and I hope it is changed back.
(These are very specific questions, but you should be able to
see the general principles from the answers.)
Q: Can I use Physics 30 as a class for the combined concentration?
A: No. Physics 30 is a lower level class. The only classes,
outside of mathematics, that apply towards a combined
concentration in math
are those that are roughly at the same level as those
upper level math classes that comprise the concentration.
Q: Can I use Physics 30 as a prerequisite for the combined math concentration.
A: No. For the combined concentration, you need to take the pure math
prerequisites, such as Math 52. The idea is that these classes are very
helpful for understanding the classes that comprise the actual
Q: Can APMA 33-34 be used in place of M111 for the concentration requirements?
A: No. While APMA 33-34 and M111 both deal with
ordinary differential equations,
the mathematical level of this series does not
compare to that of our upper-division classes.
Q: Can I use PHYS 0070 and ECON1130 towards the science requirement
in the math BS.C. degree?
A: Yes. Any reasonable science course, with a
fairly strong math content (e.g. calculus-based
physics like PHYS 0070) would count towards this
requirement. If the math content of the
course of interest to you is far below that of
our calculus series, I would need to
examine the course before approving it.
Q: How do I go about doing an honors thesis?
A: You usually start this in the beginning of your senior year,
through you may have started the work for it earlier. It is
important that you find a math professor in the department
to sponsor your project, even of you work very independently.
Q: When/where should I turn in my honors thesis?
A: Turn it in before May 1 to your faculty sponsor and
also give a copy to the director of undergraduate studies.
Q: What goes in an honors thesis?
A: There are several possibilities. One possibility is for
you to read some interesting and substantial piece of
mathematics and then give an exposition in your own style.
Your exposition should be of a high quality, and should
shed some real light on the subject matter. The other
main possibility is that you work on an independent
research project, and then write up what you have worked
out by the time the thesis is due. Often, your faculty
sponsor will help guide you towards an interesting and
Q:I took some advanced math classes (e.g. multivariable calculus) at another
university WHILE I was in high school. Can I transfer these credits?
A: The answer depends. If you used these classes to fulfill some requirements
for your high school degree, then you cannot. If you did not use these classes
for that purpose, you still need to speak to
one of the deans about getting transfer credit
and the dean will evaluate it on a case by case basis.
In general, the bar for this kind of transfer is high.
Q: Can I get transfer credit for a class I have taken over
A: No. Brown does not allow this.
Q: Can I get transfer credit for an independent study class I have
taken at another university.
A: No. There is not a formal rule about this, but it hasn't been
done in the past, and it seems like a bad precedent.
Q: Can I get credit for Math 90 based on my
performance on the math department placement exam?
A: No. The math placement exam is an informal
and self-graded exam whose purpose is to give
students a rough idea of which class to take.
Q: I would like to spend a semester studying abroad. Can I
get transfer credit for the classes I take while abroad?
A: The classes you take will transfer provided that they
pretty well match classes which we offer, in terms of
content and level. You should check with the D.U.S.
in advance of making plans, to make sure that the classes
you want to take will indeed transfer.