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SPUR and SPUR+

2018 SPUR/SPUR+ Program

SPUR, the Summer Program in Undergraduate Research of the MIT Mathematics Department, is a program for MIT undergraduates founded in 1997 by Professor Hartley Rogers. SPUR faculty advisors are Prof. David Jerison and Prof. Ankur Moitra. The program director is Dr. Slava Gerovitch.

SPUR is open to all MIT undergraduates, not just math majors. Up to 10 undergraduates are supported each summer, the majority in the summer after their first or second year at MIT. SPUR is often their first taste of mathematical research. Past participants are not eligible to apply in subsequent years. To qualify, students are expected to be fluent in mathematical reasoning and to possess a lively interest in mathematics and a serious desire to try out and develop their research abilities and skill at communication.

Students in the program work full time for six weeks on original individual or joint research projects, depending on their preferences and availability. They are matched with a mathematics graduate student mentor with compatible interests. The graduate student mentor devises a research project, often in consultation with an MIT faculty advisor. Students meet with their mentors for about an hour each weekday. Each week during the program, the entire group of undergraduates and mentors meets for a seminar and discussion with a faculty member. In the final days of the program, the undergraduate writes a short paper (about 10 pages) describing his or her progress (to be posted later on the SPUR website) and presents a 20-minute talk to the mentors, to the other undergraduates in SPUR, and to a panel of faculty members.

SPUR+ (short for SPUR + 3 weeks) is a program designed to increase diversity. It is aimed at students showing great promise in mathematics, but who have been underserved in mathematical education. It starts with three weeks of guided reading in preparation for research, before the actual 6-week SPUR program. SPUR+ students will work on projects in teams of two. If you would like your SPUR application to be considered also for SPUR+, please check the appropriate box on your SPUR application. Students in the SPUR+ program meet with their mentor three times a week for 1.5 hours during the guided reading period. Starting June 28, SPUR+ operates in the same way as SPUR. Up to four undergraduates will be supported under SPUR+ this summer.

Program Dates

SPUR: June 28 – August 6, 2021
SPUR+: June 7 – August 6, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the program will be conducted online.

Application

See a general description of our admissions process.

We are still awaiting guidance from upper MIT administration about supporting work outside the US. We will accept applications from students who plan to stay abroad during SPUR, but their eligibility might be subject to some constraints. As soon as we receive guidance on that point, we will post information on the SPUR website.

The deadline for full consideration was February 14, 2021. Late applications will be considered if space is available. The first round of offers is expected in early March, final decisions by late March.

Past Projects

Browse a listing of abstracts and papers from past research projects and participants by year.

Rogers Prize

After the final presentation, the faculty panel awards the Rogers Prize to the best student-mentor team or teams. The prize was funded in honor of Professor Rogers by his family. A list of past award recipients can be found on the graduate student awards page.

Stipend

In 2021, each undergraduate SPUR participant will receive a stipend of $4,700. The SPUR+ stipend is prorated for 9 weeks for the total of $7,050.

Contact

With inquiries, please contact Slava Gerovitch at slava@math.mit.edu