Directed Reading Program

What is DRP?

The Directed Reading Program pairs experienced graduate students with motivated undergraduates to meet weekly and discuss a topic of their choice. This is a valuable opportunity for undergraduate students to learn material not offered in classes, and for graduate students to contribute their expertise and gain experience in outreach and mentoring.

At the end of the quarter, undergraduate students give a 15-20 minute talk about their work. We expect graduate students to help their mentees prepare for this talk - communicating knowledge is just as important as acquiring it!

The DRP is funded through the UCSC Department of Mathematics as well as the DRP Network (part of NSF DUE/EHR grant #1740143).

Talks from previous quarters: Winter 2018 Spring 2018

Please feel free to contact me (UCSC email alee150) with any questions.

Guidelines and Application

Graduate students apply here. Graduate student mentors in the Directed Reading Program should be enthusiastic about sharing their love of math. Mentors should be prepared to meet with your mentee once per week for at least an hour, and attend the end-of-quarter presentation night.

Undergraduates apply here. Undergraduates should be excited to learn, be prepared to devote at least 4 hours per week to their project, and commit to giving a short talk about their work. Please read the guidelines for the participation in the program, available here.

Possible Projects

The possible range of projects is completely open, and depends on the mutual interests and backgrounds of the mentor/mentee. The only prerequisites for undergraduates are completion of Math 19A/B and 20A/B. There is also the possibility of applied math/statistics or math education projects. Some suggestions from a subset of possible subject areas are:


The Contraction Mapping Theorem
The Lorenz System and dynamics
Poincare-Bendixson Theorem, Recurrence
The Cantor set and Lebesgue measure


Maxwell's Equations and Geometry
Matrix Groups/Lie groups and algebras
Projective Geometry
The Fundamental Group
Knot Polynomials


Modular Arithmetic/Fermat's Little Theorem
Braid Groups
Quadratic Reciprocity

Applied Math

Persistent Homology
SIR Models in epidemiology
Signal Processing, Fourier Analysis
PageRank algorithm and Markov chains
The Capital Assets Pricing Model
Public-key cryptosystems

For more complete lists of past topics/projects check out

The University of California, Berkeley

University of Chicago

University of Connecticut

Indiana University

The University of Maryland

Massachusetts Institute for Technology

Rutgers University

The University of Texas at Austin

Yale University