Combinatorics and Algorithms for Real Problems

FAQ (Frequencly Asked Questions - and their answers!)

  • Q: What is the most common mistake applicant make?

  • A: The statement of purpose should mostly be about which projects they want to work on, why they are interested, and why they are qualified. Stuff about their life experiences is okay but should not be the main focus.

  • Q: What is the stipend, housing, food, travel situation?

  • A: $6000 stipend, free housing in dorms, Food money, and travel will be reimbursed.

  • Q: I am a non-citizen. Am I eligible to apply?

  • A: The NSF which funds most of our students cannot be used for non-citizens. However, we may have other money around that can be so used. In addition some schools (yours perhaps?) have grants for this purpose where they would pay the stipend. We can often come up with money for the housing. In your statement of purpose explain your situtation as well as telling us about the projects you want to work on, etc. In ANY case you getting a degree at a school in AMERICA.

  • Q: You require a course in X (e.g., Discrete Math). I have not had such a course but I have done Y (say one a Fields medal for work in Ramsey Theory). Can I apply?

  • A: Yes. In your statement of purpose you can tell us your situation. We may decide that you are qualified, or we may decide you are not, but thats our job. No need for you to pre-judge.

  • Q: Is it okay if I apply and get in to turn you down?

  • A: Yes! If we accept you we will give you a date you must decide by (which can be extended). Saying NO is FINE. Saying YES is FINE. Not responding is TERRIBLE!. Saying YES and then changing your mind to a NO is TERRIBLE.

  • Q: Another program has accepted you and I still do not know about your program. What do I do?

  • A: Email me ( and I may give you an early decision. Note that it might be no.

  • Q: Is the program hard to get into?

  • A: Yes. In 2022 we got around 200 applicants for 19 positions. Hence we advice you to apply to all REU's that you are happy to go to.