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How to Propose a Summer Graduate School at MSRI

Every summer, MSRI organizes several summer graduate schools (typically two weeks each), some of which are held at MSRI, and some of which are held at other locations around the world. 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 teaching assistants 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. The sessions with the teaching assistants are an important part of the students' experience, and should be planned carefully by the lecturers. It is not appropriate for them to take the form of additional lectures.

The material of the school should be something that is not routinely taught in most department -- for example, a school on Rudin Chapters 1-5 would not be appropriate. It should be an accessible topic that will attract a sufficiently large audience with reasonable level of preparation.

Proposals must be submitted by March 1st, October 1st or December 1st. All proposals will be considered by the Institute’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

Click HERE to download a sample proposal

A proposal should contain:

A list of organizers, lecturers and teaching assistants, including affiliations
In our experience, when there are female mathematicians within the group of lecturers and teaching assistants, it generates a diverse group of participants. This phenomenon is consistent with a large study conducted a few years ago by the American Mathematical Society. MSRI is dedicated to the training of the next generation of researchers and to fulfill this mission it is important that our summer schools be inclusive of women and minorities. For this reason, we expect that at least one lecturer and one teaching assistant be female or member of an underrepresented group.

Scientific Description
Describe the mathematical topics you plan to cover during the two-week long school. Two to three pages should suffice. If the proposal is for a school that is associated with an upcoming research program at MSRI, please briefly describe how the topics covered will relate to the upcoming program. A syllabus with a two-week schedule should be included. Carefully describe your problem sessions including how the students will be actively involved.

Carefully describe how the school will be well suited for an audience of students with a wide range of abilities and knowledge,

List the minimum requirements that students should be familiar with in order to benefit from participating in the summer school. This may include, for instance, a few chapters in a textbook that is commonly used in the first two years of graduate school.

Math Subject Classification and Keywords
The proposal should include primary and secondary Mathematics Subject Classification Codes, as well as several key words.

A high-resolution, non-copywrited image pertinent to the subject of the summer school. Please also provide a caption for the image.

Proposals can be submitted to the Director, Deputy Director, or any member of the Scientific Advisory Committee with a copy to proposals AT msri.org.