The MIT mathematics department offers a directed reading program (DRP) in mathematics during the IAP period. Undergraduate participants will be paired with graduate student mentors to read a selected math book.

Who is Eligible

The program is aimed at MIT undergraduate mathematics majors, but could also be suitable for MIT undergraduates with mathematical interests who would like to further explore the field. Applicants must have completed, or be in the process of taking, two .100 level classes (or higher) in course 18. We particularly encourage applications from women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

Why Should I Take Part?

  • You've always wanted to learn about (insert random math topic here ) but have never had the time to do so.
  • You like math and have considered a mathematics major, but want to learn more about what math "is".
  • Directed self study is far more effective than traditional classroom learning: you really have to understand something to be able to explain it to someone else.
  • Boston Januarys are cold, and math is typically an indoor sport.
  • You get free math books out of it - and they can be expensive!

Program Format:

  • Late November : undergrad participants and grad mentors will be paired. The mentor and mentee will agree on an appropriate reading project, and books will be ordered. A list of suggested topics can be found here.
  • During IAP : Participants will meet with their mentors on campus at least 3 times per week, and present/discuss the material they read. The graduate student mentor will be able to clarify points of confusion, highlight subtle points, and explain how things fit into the "big picture."
  • End of IAP : Participants and mentors will submit online feedback forms to help improve the future development of the program.

The DRP student is required to meet with their mentor 3 times/week during IAP to discuss progress towards the goal of the project. All but 3 meetings should be in person; 3 meetings can be over zoom to accommodate travel. Approximately four hours of independent work by the student is expected between meetings.

DRP Event Schedule:

  • DRP kickoff event, Thursday, Dec. 14th. Mentors arrive at 5:00 pm, Mentees arrive at 5:10 pm, Room 2-290.
  • Tea, every Friday during IAP at 4:00 pm, Room 2-290
  • Student Symposium, Friday, February 2nd.


January 2024 DRP student application

January 2024 DRP mentor application

The application deadline is Wednesday, November 15, 2023


DRP Faculty Advisor is Prof. Lisa Piccirillo.

DRP Organizers are Alex Pieloch, Josh Wang, Natalia Pacheco-Tallaj, and Catherine Wolfram.

Program Coordinator is André Dixon ()

With questions, please contact the DRP Organizers here.