Academic Opportunities

Summer Courses

Undergraduate Summer School in Mathematics

Summer Courses for Students Entering Graduate School

  • Nebraska IMMERSE IMMERSE is an intensive course for recent graduates who will begin graduate programs in the fall.
  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) is a program "with the goal of strengthening the ability of women students to successfully complete graduate programs in the mathematical sciences, with particular inclusion of women from minority groups."
Summer Internship Links
Off-Campus Study

Budapest Semester in Mathematics

The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program operates on the College International Campus of the Technical University of Budapest, located near the historic city center of Budapest, a city of two million and the nation's capital. Hungary has a long tradition of excellence in mathematics education, and the Budapest Semester provides students of mathematics a unique opportunity to study under the tutelage of eminent Hungarian scholar-teachers from Eotvos University and the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. More than 40 Grinnell College students have participated in this program since 1985. 

All courses are taught in English in small groups and comprise a wide selection in mathematics, along with non-mathematical options including European History, Film and Drama, and three levels of Hungarian language. Students take three or four math courses and two intercultural courses including intensive Hungarian. Housing options include either a homestay or renting a furnished apartment shared with other program participants. The cost of living is very low, and students normally find the extensive cultural life of Budapest, including music and theatre as well as restaurant meals, to be easily affordable. Budapest is well situated for travel throughout Eastern and Central Europe and students are encouraged to avail themselves of the reasonable fares and opportunity to travel throughout Hungary and neighboring countries.

More information is available at the program website.

A full list of off-campus study options is available through the Off-Campus Study office.

Awards, Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships

The Pamela Ferguson Endowed Prize in Mathematics

Pamela Ferguson was appointed president of Grinnell College in 1991 and served in that position until 1997. After stepping down from the presidency, she continued to teach as a professor of mathematics. In 2003, she was appointed the Breid-McFarland Professor of Science. Though she is best remembered at Grinnell College as a former president, Pam Ferguson has been described as a lover of mathematics. She published over forty papers in her area of group theory, most appearing in the highly regarded Journal of Algebra. Her work was strongly connected to the classification of finite simple groups, one of the landmark results of twentieth-century mathematics. The endowment supporting this prize was established by her husband, D. Roger Ferguson.

The goal of this merit prize is to recognize and encourage mathematical potential among students, particularly among women, who are traditionally under-represented in the discipline.

Up to two prizes will be awarded to the mathematics majors entering their senior year who are judged by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to have demonstrated the greatest achievement and promise, as measured by such criteria as performance in mathematics classes (particularly upper-level courses), independent research projects, posters and other presentations, publications, competitions, etc.


Linn Smith Prize for Excellence in Mathematics

Larned Linn Smith (known as Linn Smith) was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on October 17, 1899, to Effie and Elias E. Smith. He graduated from Sioux City High School in June, 1916, and was accepted to Grinnell College, which he attended from 1916 to 1920. At Grinnell, Linn Smith was a scholarship holder and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. Debate was a strong interest of his both at Grinnell and in high school. At Grinnell, he was Secretary of the Debating Union and tied for second in the Hill Contest in Extemporaneous Speaking. He was also on the staff of the 1920 Cyclone (Grinnell College's yearbook) and a sergeant in Grinnell College's Student's Army Training Corps. Particularly remarkable is the fact that Linn Smith published a mathematics paper while still an undergraduate. "A Construction of the Regular Polygon of Seventeen Sides" appeared in the July-September, 1920, issue of the American Mathematical Monthly (volume 27, pages 322-323). 

After Grinnell, Linn Smith went to Harvard University on a Charles Elliott Perkins scholarship for graduate study in mathematics. However, he completed only one year of graduate study; his untimely death on August 9, 1921, cut short a promising career. He was spending the summer of 1921 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, watching over the two young sons on Mr. and Mrs. Edward Burling. Edward Burling Jr. recalls him as "an unusually attractive young man." He also remembers the day: "Linn was swimming around the boat ... Suddenly I noticed that Linn was no longer in sight. ... I called out in terror." The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, not drowning. A sister, Genevieve (Mrs. Radford Dove), recalls "those hot August days" at the time of their brother's "enormous funeral and lines of flower cars, reporters, etc."

The Linn Smith prize for Excellence in Mathematics was first awarded in 1924, although the original name of the award was the "Linn Smith Scholarship for Excellency in Mathematical Study." College records indicate that the prize was established by an anonymous gift of $1000, but Edward Burling Jr. remembers his father making the gift: "Dad would whip off another anonymous gift to Grinnell at the drop of a hat." A much larger contribution from Mr. Burling went for Burling Library.


The Robert N. Noyce Senior Student Award

Robert Norton Noyce, scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on December 12, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa. He received a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Grinnell College in 1949 and a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953. On April 25, 1960, Dr. Noyce was granted a patent for his invention of a "Semiconductor Device-and-Lead Structure" -- an integrated circuit. This discovery made the microchip possible and launched the modern electronics revolution. For his scientific achievements he received the National Medal of Science from President Carter in 1980, the National Medal of Technology from President Reagan in 1987, and the Charles Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering in 1990. Grinnell College's computer center was named in his honor in 1984.

Dr. Noyce was co-founder and president of Intel Corporation. In 1988, he was appointed chief executive of Sematech, a consortium linking government and private electronic manufacturers. He also served for many years as a trustee of Grinnell College and as chair of the Board of Trustees. Robert N. Noyce died on June 3, 1990, in Austin, Texas, at the age of 62.

The Robert N. Noyce Senior Student Award was presented to the senior student who, in the judgment of the Selection Committee, made the greatest contribution to the use of computer-based technology while a Grinnell student. It recognized not only individual accomplishment, but the breadth and depth of the student's contribution. Beginning in 1984, the Noyce Award was given annually at first, then irregularly. In 2002, the fund supporting this award was diverted to the development of technology-related curricular projects at the College.


Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly competitive full-cost awards for full-time graduate study and research in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

More information:



Gilman Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad.

More information:



Marshall Scholarships

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

More information:



Mitchell Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former US Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

More information:|%20US-Ireland%20Alliance.html



Rhodes Scholarships

Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international educational fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford.

More information:


Activities and Organizations

Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminars (MASSS)

The Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminar series is a forum for undergraduates to present talks on topics of general interest in mathematics and statistics. These seminars are at Noon in room 2517 in the Noyce Science Center (unless otherwise noted) and are open to everyone in the Grinnell College community. Each seminar is typically a talk of forty to sixty minutes, including questions from the audience.

The faculty sponsor and organizer of the Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminar series is currently Professor Chris French

Spring Seminars: 

Monday, May 5, 2014 
A Basic Introduction to Lie Algebras 
David Brown '14, Ben Drabkin '14, and Peter Dixon '14 

Monday, April 28, 2014 
An Introduction to Differential Geometry 
Ananda Guneratne '14 

Monday, April 21, 2014 
Determining Primes and Integers in Generalizations of the Integers 
Ethan Ratliff-Crain '15 

Monday, April 7, 2014 
Predicting the Internet’s evolution: modeling graph connectivity dynamics using ensemble learning 
Cuong Nguyen '14 

Monday, March 3, 2014 
What do integrals have to do with prime numbers?
Paul Savala, University of Iowa  

Monday, February 24, 2014 
Measurement Error Models: Applications to Nutrition Data
Brenna Curley '09, Iowa State University 

Fall Seminars: 

Monday, November 25, 2013 

Symplectic Transformations as R-Lagrangian Subspaces 

Brennan Langenbach '16 and Chris Hellman '16  

Monday, November 18, 2013 

Enumeration and Projection Dependence of 1-Singular Knots 

David Brown '14 

Monday, November 11, 2013 

Careers in Math 

Math SEPC and the CLS  

Monday, November 5, 2013   

Knots and the Concordance Group 
Kate Kearney '05  

Monday, October 7, 2013 
The Broken Ptolemy Algebra: A Finite-Type Laurent Phenomenon Algebra 

Abby Stevens '14  

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 
A new class of rank 6 association schemes 

Ben Drabkin ‘14 

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013   

Nationwide, On Your Side: an information session on the actuarial field 
Steve Mueller, Pricing Supervisor, Mark Easler, and Eric Smith, Senior Pricing Analysts at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines 

Monday, September 2, 2013 
The abc-Conjecture: A Snapshot of the World of Pure Mathematic 
Professor Jen Paulhus