Directed Reading Program

The Directed Reading Program (DRP) pairs undergraduate students with graduate student mentors to undertake independent study projects of various sizes and scopes over the course of the spring semester. The projects can take the form of reading and working through a mathematics text, reading research papers, or even doing research.

The goal of the DRP is to enable undergraduate students to study mathematics in greater depth than is possible in a classroom, to increase interaction between undergraduates and graduates, to give undergraduates an opportunity to practice explaining mathematical ideas in conversations and in presentations, and to give graduates an opportunity to share their passion for mathematics.

For questions about the program, please email mathdrp@brandeis.edu.

Structure of the Program

Selected students are expected to meet with their mentors for at least one hour each week to discuss their progress, put in at least four hours of independent work between meetings, and give 20-minute presentations on some aspect of their work at an end-of-semester gathering for all participants.

Undergraduate Students

Any sophomore, junior, or senior who has taken 15A (applied linear algebra) and 20A (calculus of several variables) is eligible to apply. First-years who have seen this material are considered on a case-by-case basis. Acceptance into the DRP is determined by previous coursework in mathematics (including final grades) and availability of mentors. Up to five pairings are made. Students receive a small budget for textbooks used, but no course credit is awarded. Students with heavy or challenging course loads should think carefully before committing to the DRP.

Graduate Mentors

Any graduate student who has passed the teaching apprenticeship program can apply to be a mentor. Each mentor is expected to guide his or her student through the study of a topic. This means helping the student come up with a study plan. This also means meeting with the student every week to answer questions, point out subtleties, explain the big picture, and have the student present material. Each mentor is also expected to assist with the presentation at the end of the semester by helping with the outline of the talk, having the student give practice talks, and helping with LaTeX if the student wants to give a beamer presentation. Mentors are modestly compensated for their work.

Spring 2019 Program

There are eight graduate student mentors offering eight projects. Up to five projects will run. Each participating student will give a 20-minute presentation on their project on Monday, May 6, 2019, from 5pm - 7:30pm in Goldsmith 317. Pizza and other refreshments will be served; all are welcome to come.

Project descriptions, Spring 2019