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  • Learn to work independently through studying a topic of their choice, well-suited to their interests.
  • Establish relationships with graduate student mentors and receive a good deal of personal attention focused on their mathematical studies.
  • Gain valuable experience in mathematical communication by giving a presentation on their work to an audience of their peers.
  • Develop crucial skills and background useful for pursuing undergraduate research.
  • Prepares students for more advanced courses.
  • Gives students a chance to discover if graduate school is something they would like to pursue.


To Apply: Read the ‘Qualifications’ section below to determine whether you are eligible to participate. If you qualify, you can fill out the application when it opens. Applications for Fall 2022 are OPEN.


The application process requires the following:

  1. Fill out the application form by 5PM on August 8th, 2022.
  2. One reference (Note: they will not need to write a full letter, just fill out a form):
    • Your reference should be a previous math instructor or your major advisor


Qualifications: Applicants must be UNC undergraduates. They need not be math majors but must have a strong mathematical background and certain level of mathematical maturity. Applicants must have passed Math 233 (Calculus 3) or Math 381 (Discrete Mathematics) with a grade above a C. Applicants must be self-motivated and capable of sustaining an independent study project for the duration of the semester.


Considerations: We understand that many students might not know what interests them and recommend they look at our project ideas for inspiration. However, applicants are not exclusively limited to the aforementioned list and are encouraged to suggest projects that sound interesting to them if there is something they would like to pursue.

Before applying, please consider the four hour per week time commitment and be sure that it will not negatively impact your other studies. Space in the program is limited, we want to see all of our students grow and make it to the final presentations but not at the expense of other classes or your sanity.


Re-applying?: Applicants who were not selected but are still interested should re-apply whenever applications are open.

If you have participated in our program before, then you are welcome to re-apply. The goal of the DRP is to provide mentorship and to foster the mathematical interests of our undergraduates, but we discourage re-applying with the intention to read with the same mentor on the same topic. Here are some things you can do:

  • Re-apply to the program to explore a new topic
  • Ask your previous mentor if they might continue reading with you in their spare time
  • If you’ve advanced sufficiently far in your past projects and in the math courses, seek out a faculty member to read with or do research. Your participation in the program is intended to be part of the preparation in reaching this academic goal.