MASS 2007

Department of Mathematics of the Pennsylvania State University runs a yearly semester-long intensive program for undergraduate students seriously interested in pursuing a career in mathematical sciences. The Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS) program started in the Fall of 1996 and is held during the Fall semester of each year.

The principal part of the program consists of three core courses chosen from major areas in Algebra/Number TheoryAnalysis, and Geometry/Topology respectively, specially designed and offered exclusively to MASS participants, and a weekly MASS seminar.

Additional features include colloquium-type lectures by visiting and resident mathematicians and mathematical research projects.

The following courses will be offered in the Fall of 2007:


  • Computability, Unsolvability and Randomness
    Instructor: Steve Simpson, Professor of Mathematics
    Teaching Assistant: Jonas Kibelbek
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING, MWRF 10:10-11:00
  • Surfaces: Everything You Wanted to Know About Them
    Instructor: Anatole Katok, Raymond N. Shibley Professor of Mathematics
    Teaching Assistant: Vaughan Climenhaga
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING, MW F 11:15-12:05
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING,   R  1:25-2:15
  • Topics in Probability Theory
    Instructor: Omri Sarig, Associate Professor of Mathematics
    Teaching Assistant: Arseny Egorov
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING, MW F 1:25-2:15
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING,   R  11:15-12:05
  • MASS Seminar
    Instructor: Sergei Tabachnikov, Professor of Mathematics, Director of MASS Program
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING, Tuesday 10:10-12:05
  • MASS Colloquium
    Instructor: Multiple invited speakers
    113 McALLISTER BUILDING, Thursday 2:30-3:30

Course Outline

Math 497D - MASS Interdisciplinary seminar

Instructor: Sergei Tabachnikov

T - 10:10-12:05pm


This seminar is designed to focus on selected interdisciplinary topics in algebra, geometry and analysis to coordinate core courses and to prepare students to MASS Colloquium. Seminar sessions may include presentations from student research projects.

Typical Readings: N/A

Math 497E - MASS Colloquim

Instructor: Multiple visiting speakers

R 2:30-3:30 pm

Covers selected topics in mathematics.

Typical Readings: N/A

Calendar of Events

Arrival Day  
MASS Welcome Party & Orientation August 27
Classes Begin August 27
Labor Day September 3
Midterm Exams October 3-5
Thanksgiving Holiday November 19-23
Study Period December 4-7
Final Exams December 10, 12, 14
MASS Graduation Ceremony December 15


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).

Candidates should submit:

  • Application Form
  • Transcript
  • Record of Mathematics Courses
  • A short essay describing their interest in mathematics
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Financial disclosure form
  • Transfer Protocol form

Application materials may be retrieved off the web, or requested by mail, fax, or e-mail.
Applications should be submitted through, ID: PSUMASS or sent by mail, fax, or e-mail to

MASS Program
107 McAllister Building
Department of Mathematics
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-8730 / Fax:(814) 865-3735

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. See the Financial Information for more details.


All participants not enrolled at Penn State will be provided an opportunity to live in one of the residence halls on campus.


The program elements total 16 credits, all of which are recognized by Penn State as honors credits and are transferable to participants' home universities. Students will also receive a certificate from the MASS Program at Penn State. Additional recognition may be provided through prizes for outstanding performance and for best projects.


The overall supervision of the MASS program is provided by the Scientific Advisory Board which includes senior members of Penn State's mathematics faculty, and several outstanding mathematicians from other institutions.

The program is managed by the Director Sergei Tabachnikov.

Stephanie Zerby is the Administrative Assistant for the MASS program.

Participants are chosen by the Selection Committee headed by a member of the Scientific Advisory Board.