A few years back I had a student attend the MASS semester at Penn State. It was a fantastic experience for my student and it certainly helped him find a place in graduate school and I would wager it figured significantly in terms of his mathematical formation.

I currently have a student who is in an usual spot where he will graduate in the middle of the year. I know it is possible to apply for graduate school to begin in the Spring semester, but it seems it might be better for him to take a semester to attend some bridge program like MASS. From what I can tell, it appears MASS stopped in 2018 from their website.

Now, there is thankfully some flexibility in his future plans. It is possible to attend some bridge program either in the Fall or Spring terms of 2024-2025 and I am trying to give him guidance on seeking some REU experience in either summer 2024 or summer 2025.

Much like myself, this student found math in the midst of his undergraduate work, he has only recently understood that he would like to make math his career since, as most of us know, math is totally awesome.

My question is thus as follows, and I think this has relevance beyond my current student,

What are the best bridge programs for graduate math for a junior in math ? Let us suppose the hypothetical student already has basic proof techniques well under control and is seeking something like a token semester in graduate math. Partly as an opportunity to stretch themselves beyond the standards of their undergraduate institution, but also as an opportunity to network and forge relationships for future mathematical endeavors.

Again, MASS was such a program, but I am curious what else is out there ? Thanks in advance for your help in advising this student, and I hope this question can help others who are seeking such experience.

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    $\begingroup$ Not what you're looking for, but related: Smith College Postbaccalaureate Program in Mathematics. "The Postbaccalaureate Program is for women and gender minorities with bachelor’s degrees who did not major in mathematics or whose mathematics major was light." $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Tommi I mentioned Budapest to the student, he wasn't uninterested, I wouldn't rule out an international opportunity. Of course, domestic is easier. The tag is fine, I have no objections. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 3:47

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I see how it looks like they stopped in 2018, but you might at least contact PSU Math. Call the department secretary and ask for a point of contact. Perhaps they are still running it, after all there's still an application form on their website. Also, note that MASS runs in fall, but PMASS runs in spring. So if they are running PMASS, still, that would be ideal for your student. In addition to confirming if they've stopped MASS/PMASS, they might have a suggestion for an alternate for your kid (if they have stopped it).

I did a search for math semesters or years or summer programs and there wasn't much (some stuff in Budapest and Moscow):


The no such agency also came up as a sponsored link, so you could get the kid to look into that. https://www.intelligencecareers.gov/NSA/students-and-internships (bunch of options, so weed through it and probably have the kid contact them for more details).

Slightly joking, but kid could maybe double dip and sign up with NSA and have them pay to send him to Moscow math program. Hmmm... ;-)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer, you're probably right, I should contact Penn State to find out more. The NSA idea is intriguing, I'll mention it to him. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 3:48

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