MIT PRIMES: How to Apply
This page provides instructions for applying to MIT PRIMES, a research program for students living within driving distance from Boston. To apply to PRIMES-USA, a nationwide research program for students living outside Greater Boston, see How to Apply to PRIMES-USA page. To apply to PRIMES Circle, a math enrichment program for local students from urban public high schools, see How to Apply to PRIMES Circle page. For more information about MIT PRIMES, see MIT PRIMES program details page .
The deadline for receiving applications and letters of recommendation for the 2021 cycle was December 1, 2020. The admissions are now closed. Admission decisions are based on all components of your application. Admission decisions are expected by mid-January.
For the 2022 cycle, new problem sets will be posted and admissions open in mid-September 2021. You will have until December 1, 2021, to solve the relevant problem set(s). Applicants to the Math section must solve the Math problem set (typically, you need to solve at least 70% of the problems). Applicants to the Computer Science and Computational Biology sections must solve the Computer Science problem set (100%) and the General part of the Math problem set (problems G1-G7; at least 70%).
To participate in MIT PRIMES, you must be a high school student* (or a home schooled student of high school age) living in the Greater Boston area, so that you can come to MIT weekly (late afternoon or evening on a weekday or on weekend) in February-May.
In order to apply, you will need to fill out a questionnaire, ask for one or two letters of recommendation, and submit your solutions of the PRIMES problem set. The admission decision will be based on the consideration of all components of your application. There is no application fee.
We suggest a list of recommended readings as a preparation for entering PRIMES and as a background for further research. You may find it useful to consult
Math problem sets:
- 2011 and solutions
- 2012 and solutions
- 2013 and solutions
- 2014 and solutions
- 2015 and solutions
- 2016 and solutions
- 2017 and solutions Note: See the summary of student answers to the 2017 open-ended question. This problem gave rise to the CrowdMath project (joint with the Art of Problem Solving), in which everyone is welcome to participate!
- 2018 and solutions
- 2019 and solutions
- 2020 and solutions
- 2021 and solutions
Computer Science problem sets:
The details of the application procedure and the PRIMES 2022 problem sets will be posted on this website in mid-September 2021.
Female students, minorities, and students from underprivileged groups are strongly encouraged to apply. PRIMES makes a special effort to reach out to schools in disadvantaged areas. Sophomores and juniors from public high schools of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville are eligible for PRIMES Circle program. U.S. high school juniors living beyond Greater Boston are eligible for PRIMES-USA program.
*12th graders are allowed to apply. Even though Phase IV of the Program would overlap with their first semester in college, they would be encouraged to stay in touch with their mentor and to bring their work to publication.
Why It Makes No Sense to Cheat
PRIMES expects its participants to adhere to MIT rules and standards for honesty and integrity in academic studies. As a result, any cases of plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, cheating, or facilitating academic dishonesty during the application process or during the work at PRIMES may result in immediate disqualification from the program, at the sole discretion of PRIMES. In addition, PRIMES reserves the right to notify a participant's parents, schools, and/or recommenders in the event it determines that a participant did not adhere to these expectations. For explanation of these expectations, see What is Academic Integrity?
Moreover, even if someone gets into PRIMES by cheating, it would immediately become apparent that their background is weaker than expected, and they are not ready for research. This would prompt an additional investigation with serious consequences. By trying to get into PRIMES by cheating, students run very serious risks of exposing their weak background and damaging their college admissions prospects.
With questions, contact PRIMES Program Director Dr. Slava Gerovitch at email@example.com