Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters

The Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS) program started in the Fall of 1996 and is held during the Fall semester of each year. The program combines advanced learning with research initiation and provides a highly charged interactive environment among a critical mass of talented and motivated students and a committed group of strong research faculty and top graduate students. For most of its participants, the MASS program serves as a spring board to graduate schools in mathematics.

The Program

The program consists of three courses chosen from major areas in Algebra, Analysis, and Geometry respectively, specially designed and offered exclusively to MASS participants, and a weekly working seminar. Additional features include colloquium-type lectures by visiting mathematicians and mathematical projects involving research and creative use of computers.


Participants are selected from applicants who will be juniors or seniors in the following academic year (sophomores may be admitted in some cases). All participants are expected to have demonstrated a sustained interest in mathematics and a high level of mathematical ability and to have mastered basic techniques of mathematical proof. The expected background includes a full calculus sequence, basic linear algebra, a transition course with proofs (such as discrete mathematics) and advanced calculus or basic real analysis. The search for participants is nationwide. International applications are invited as well. Each participant is selected based on academic record, two recommendation letters from faculty, and an essay (international applicants should demonstrate their mastery of English).

Financial Arrangements

Successful applicants currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities will be awarded the Penn State MASS Fellowship which reduces the tuition to the in-state level. Best efforts will be made not to increase their out of pocked expenses.

Contact Information

MASS Program
Department of Mathematics
The Pennsylvania State University
107 McAllister Building
University Park, PA 16802 Phone: 814-863-8730
FAX: 814-865-3735