The Department of Mathematics graduate student association (GSA) runs two transition programs for doctoral students during their first year. These programs take place before the start of each semester. In August, there is a Bootcamp program, and in January, there is an Intersession program. Focusing on preparatory material for the qualifying exam courses, Bootcamp consists of real analysis, abstract algebra, and linear algebra, while Intersession consists of complex analysis, functional analysis, and topology. Bootcamp also includes logic and proof techniques since these are used routinely throughout mathematics.
The programs follow an active learning approach to instruction. Students work in groups and practice problem solving before presenting selected solutions to their peers and program facilitators for review and feedback. The programs are organized into multiple sessions each day, and the sessions are designed to be mostly independent of one another. Students attend as many or as few sessions as they would like.
The Bootcamp and Intersession programs aim to
1. Assist students in transitioning to Penn State.
2. Assist students in transitioning to a mathematics doctoral program.
3. Assist students in preparing for the qualifying exam courses.
4. Foster a sense of community among the first-year graduate students.
5. Welcome the incoming graduate students to the Department of Mathematics at Penn State.