How to Propose a Summer Graduate School at MSRI
Every summer, MSRI organizes several summer graduate schools (typically two weeks each), most of which are held at MSRI. Attending one of these schools can be a very motivating and exciting experience for the students. Participants have often said that it was the first experience when they felt like real mathematicians, interacting with other students and mathematicians in their field.
Students are nominated by their Director of Graduate Studies and are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so their knowledge levels and backgrounds may vary significantly. Because of this, it is often advisable to have two tracks running in parallel. For example, a format which has worked well is two lecturers who give related courses, one at the beginning level and one at a more advanced level. Each course meets once a day in the morning, there is a break for lunch, and then TAs run problem sessions and/or help the students on projects. This is only a skeleton outline; there are many variations that have worked well.
MSRI strongly favors schools that are taught by 1 or 2 lecturers, assisted by 1 or 2 teaching assistants. We have learned that staying away from “conference” type schools is best for our students. The budget for each school allows for this model. It does not allow for several speakers.
To be considered for the summer of year n+1, proposals must be submitted by October of year n-1. All proposals will be considered by the Institute’s Scientific Advisory Committee.A proposal should contain:
- A short summary of what is going on in the field; especially what makes it suitable for a summer school aimed at graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds.
- A detailed description of the planned activities (e.g. lectures, problem sessions, lab sessions, evening (if applicable) work sessions, etc.). This description should specify how you intend to create a program that is appropriate for different levels of students.
- A list of organizers, lecturers and teaching assistants
- Any known information about other recent or proposed workshops or programs in the same area