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PRIMES-USA is a section of PRIMES open to high school juniors (or home schooled students of the same age) from across the United States. The students work on original research projects in mathematics provided by MIT faculty. Projects are mentored by MIT graduate students via teleconferencing, using software and hardware tools for online collaboration, or by local mentors chosen by PRIMES. Download PRIMES-USA flyer.


PRIMES-USA student Ritesh Ragavender, May 2013, MIT


In 2013, PRIMES-USA admitted the first five students. In 2014, already 13 students completed projects in this section. In 2015, the section expanded to 16 students; in 2016, to 17 students. PRIMES-USA has developed partnerships with faculty from Stanford University, the University of Illinois's Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL), City College of New York, and SUNY at Stony Brook.


  • Phase I, January 1 - 31:
    Reading period. In early January you will be assigned a research project and a mentor. The mentor will recommend background reading necessary for your project. You will conduct the reading independently in consultation with your mentor.
  • Phase II, February 1 - May 31:
    Active research period. You will discuss your project with your MIT mentor via teleconferencing twice a week for one hour. The day/time of your telecon session will be chosen to suit both you and your mentor. You will be expected to spend at least 10 hours per week working on your project. You will be encouraged to visit MIT for face-to-face meetings several times, depending on your distance from Boston. PRIMES-USA will provide a modest travel subsidy.
  • End of May:
    Annual PRIMES conference at MIT. You will travel to MIT to present your intermediate results at the annual PRIMES conference. An interim research report is due one week before the conference. Presentation abstracts and slides will be posted on the PRIMES website for free public access.
  • Phase III, June 1 - August 31:
    Independent research period. You will continue working on your project independently, staying in e-mail contact with your mentor. PRIMES-USA has a flexible schedule in the summer, allowing students to participate in other summer programs.
  • Phase IV, September 1 - December 31:
    Write-up period. You will complete your project and write a final paper summarizing your results. This paper may be submitted to national science competitions for high school students and/or sent to peer-reviewed academic research journals for publication. A penultimate version of the final research paper is due November 30; the final version is due December 31.

Computer requirements

Applicants must have access to a personal computer with administrator privileges, a webcam, and high-speed Internet access.


The students are selected on the basis of their demonstrated extraordinary mathematical ability, potential for conducting original research, and self-motivation for independent study. A small number of candidates is admitted, and a very advanced background is expected.

PRIMES-USA accepts applications for mathematical research only. Currently it does not accept applications for research in computer science or computational biology.

Applications for the 2018 cycle are open. The deadline is December 1, 2017. See How to Apply to PRIMES-USA page.

Female students, underrepresented minorities, and students with economically disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


With questions, contact PRIMES Program Director Dr. Slava Gerovitch at