Directed Reading Program
The Directed Reading Program (DRP) pairs undergraduate students with graduate students/junior faculty to undertake independent study projects. It is intended to help motivated students explore topics in more depth than possible in a classroom setting.
Each project is for the duration of one academic semester, which is roughly thirteen weeks. Undergraduates can apply for DRP positions in the beginning of each term and those who are selected will be paired with mentors according to their mathematical interests and availability.
The projects are based around the self-paced reading of a particular book or article with substantial guidance from the mentor, with the specific topic arrived upon by discussion of common interests between the mentor and the mentee.
In 2019-20, the program is organized by: Chris Kapulkin and Apurva Nakade, with invaluable support of Amar Venga of MaCAW.
What's expected of a student?
A student is expected to:
- meet with their supervisor for 1 hour each week;
- work on the project for an agreed upon number of hours between these meetings (including: reading, problem solving, presentation preparation);
- give a final presentation towards the end of the term.
Students will not receive course credits for their projects, which on the bright side means: no exams, no grades.
Benefits for a student
- Study an interesting topic without the stress of a usual course.
- Pursue a topic outside of the undergraduate curriculum.
- Develop independent study and oral communication skills.
- Connect with a graduate mentor and receive a good deal of personal attention.
Applications are now open for the Winter 2020 edition of the program. The application form can be accessed at
The deadline to apply is January 8, 2020 (Wednesday) at 11:59 PM.
The organizers will hold two meetings:
- for mentors (mandatory) on January 7 (Tuesday), 4:30 PM, in MC 106;
- for mentees (optional) on January 7 (Tuesday), 5:30 PM, in MC 108.
The first mentor/mentee meeting will take place on January 14 (Tuesday), 5:30 PM, in MC 108.
The final presentations have been tentatively scheduled for March 28, 2020 (Saturday). The exact schedule will be posted closer to the date.
The projects were:
- Szymon Adamus on Matroid Theory (mentor: Udit Mavinkurve);
- Jonathan Chang on Category Theory (mentor: James Leslie);
- Yeonjoon Choi on Feynman Diagrams and Matrix Integrals (mentor: Nathan Pagliaroli);
- Jacob Fabe on Universal Properties and the Yoneda Lemma (mentor: Luis Scoccola);
- Charles Hau on Kirchhoff’s Matrix Tree Theorem (mentor: Sergio Zapata);
- Paul Norton on Category Theory (mentor: César Martinez);
- Boyuan Pang on Surface Topology (mentor: Sergio Chaves);
- Mahima Siali on Public Key Cryptography: Diffie-Hellman, RSA, and ElGamal (mentor: Andrew Herring);
- Amar Venga on Chevalley's Theorem (mentor: Jeffrey Carlson);
- Timothy Yau on Tensors and Manifolds (mentor: Apurva Nakade).
The final presentations took place on November 30, 2019.