UCLA Department of Mathematics


Frequently asked questions:


For students:

Does the DRP run every quarter?

The DRP runs every quarter of the academic year. If there is sufficient interest, it also runs during the summer.

When can I apply for the next quarter?

We try to open up applications for the upcoming quarter's program about a month before the quarter begins.

I have a prior agreement to start/continue a project with a mentor. Do I still need to submit an application?

Yes. Students must submit an application in each quarter of the DRP if they wish to participate.

I submitted an application but I have not heard back by the date of the pairing announcement on the calendar.

If you do not hear back by the date of the pairing announcement, your application has unfortunately been declined.

Why was my application declined?

The DRP Committee does not decline any applications off hand - all applications are sent to the participating mentors for consideration. Students are directly chosen by the mentors, each of whom have their own reasons for selecting one particular student over another. Mentors typically consider various factors including: (1) interest in areas the mentor is willing to do a project in; (2) completion of fundamental/core coursework; (3) other prior coursework, especially in areas relevant to the mentor's interests; (4) specific mathematical interests stated in the student's personal statement. Furthermore, there may simply be too few mentors available to do a project in a given area in a particular quarter relative to the number of applicants who wish to do so.

What can I do to improve my application?

We certainly invite all applicants to continue to submit an application each quarter. For students relatively early on in their mathematical education, the best course of action is likely to complete the core mathematics coursework, such as the 115 and 131 sequences, as many mentors consider these to be prerequisites. At the same time, it is a good idea to explore some of the various specializations in mathematics through the various upper division courses, and begin to develop a sense of what specific things you are interested in studying. Finally, mentors do pay close attention to the personal statement, and in particular if a student expresses any specific mathematical interests.

Is the colloquium presentation mandatory?

Strictly speaking, the colloquium presentation is not mandatory, primarily because it is virtually impossible to schedule the colloquium at a time that every participant can attend. However, barring time conflicts or other extenuating circumstances, we strongly recommend all participants to give a presentation, as presenting mathematics to an audience is an important skill with rather few opportunities to acquire. For more preparing the presentation, please refer to the resources page.


For mentors:

I am interested in being a mentor. What qualifications do I need to participate?

Graduate mentors are required to have passed the basic exam and at least one area qualifying exam. In some quarters, if we feel we have enough mentors, we may require passing both area qualifying exams. (If you have not passed your exams, you should prioritize them over the DRP.) Mentors are also required to have completed, or be currently going through, the TA training seminar.

I'd like to mentor a particular student, can I?

Yes! You are free to agree to work with a particular student. However, we still require the student to submit an application for the DRP, and in their application they must mention that they have agreed to work with you. At the same time, during the pair selection process you must mention that you have agreed to work with this student. Once this is done, you will be paired automatically.

I want to get involved, how can I help?

The DRP Committee welcomes additional helping hands, especially from younger students (3rd year and below). Please contact the DRP Committee either in person or by email.