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I am looking for mathematical research opportunities, similar to the REU's in math, that are available for students that have already completed a bachelor's degree in Mathematics, but have not yet applied to a graduate program. I am not exactly looking for advice, but rather a list of research programs that will accept students who have already graduated.

I am attempting to strengthen my graduate application as well as get a taste of what it would be like to work in the field, but it seems that most everything is for undergraduates only (that have not completed a degree).

Edit: For clarification, I am a US citizen, and completed my bachelor's degree a few years ago. I have been working in industry as a government contractor (doing data analysis and math modeling type work) since graduation. I am, however, more interested in pure mathematics and I would like the pursue research opportunities in that area.

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migrated from Feb 8 '13 at 17:28

This question came from our site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields.

Are you a US Citizen? If so, check out NSF. You may also want to approach your university and inquire to see if profs have items they need help with. Regards – Amzoti Feb 8 '13 at 17:26
The country you're applying to will make a difference. In the UK the best thing to do would probably be to apply to a PhD programme with a taught component at the beginning, so you start doing some research but can still qualify for an MSc if you don't continue. – Matthew Pressland Feb 8 '13 at 17:28
(Or, if you don't have a master's degree, do one of those, and do a small research project as part of it). – Matthew Pressland Feb 8 '13 at 17:29
I am a little confused. Are you looking for a research area doable by a person with an undergraduate degree or looking for a way to engage in research, for example by starting a graduate program? – Vahid Shirbisheh Feb 9 '13 at 3:24

Doing a masters which includes some research could definitely be a good idea, but is likely to be expensive.

If you are prepared to go overseas for a few months, one option would be to apply for a scholarship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) to spend some time doing research in Germany. For example one of these. It would be a good idea to ask some mathematicians in the areas you are interested in to recommend potential supervisors in Germany.

I mention this because I spent six months in Germany on a DAAD scholarship in between my MSc and PhD (doing research in pure mathematics), mainly because I wanted to improve my German, but also because I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do my PhD on yet. It was a very worthwhile experience.

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Yeah it seems most PhD programs require you to know German or Russian, so that's killing two birds, so to speak. Thanks for the tip! – Shanna Feb 8 '13 at 21:59
No problem! Of course I guess they're reasonably competitive, but it's worth a try anyway. – Tara B Feb 9 '13 at 9:08
One further thing to note: master's programs in Germany have very low tuition charges (on the order of 300€ per semester or less). Your scholarship primarily is to pay for your living expenses while in Germany. So, if you can afford to have your living expenses paid for, then all you need at most universities is find someone willing to supervise your "non-degree studies." (I've done this before, but procedures vary from school to school.) – aeismail Feb 11 '13 at 23:10

The phase between the conclusion of the bachelor's program and the start of a PhD program is a very difficult one, as you indicated. Most companies don't want to higher recent graduates who they aren't going to be able to keep on for longer-term positions, so that makes that route much more difficult. Similarly, "structured" programs tend to be designed for younger students as well.

Your best bet, as one of the commenters above suggested, is to find a professor who can offer you a position through a program like the Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Most faculty members with a traditional NSF grant can apply for funding to support an undergraduate researcher (or at least this used to be the case, the last time I checked).

However, the most important part is to start early. Don't wait until you have your plans for next year completely lined up; ask people now.

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Do you know of any REU's that will accept students who already have a bachelor's degree? – Shanna Feb 11 '13 at 19:01
Sorry. Pure mathematics really isn't my field, so I don't know the state of affairs there. – aeismail Feb 11 '13 at 23:09

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