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Some students of mathematics enjoy participating in math competitions. For such students the Department hosts an optional weekly Problem Solving Seminar where they may train to compete in several local and national mathematics competitions, including:

The William Lowell Putnam Competition

The Putnam examination is a nationwide mathematics competition sponsored annually by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). All full-time undergraduate students may participate and each year about forty Michigan students compete. The competition consists of an examination on topics common to the undergraduate curriculum and is given in early December. The emphasis is on ingenuity rather than knowledge. There are both team and individual prizes, including a graduate fellowship.

The University of Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Competition

The University of Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Competition is held towards the end of the Winter semester each year. The test, which is open to all full-time undergraduates on the Ann Arbor campus, typically consists of ten mathematical problems that students have three hours to solve (with proof). The difficulty of the problems may vary from easy to extremely hard, but on average they are quite hard. The competition offers substantial cash prizes that vary from year to year depending on financing.

The Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest

Initially conceived as a regional preliminary contest to the annual national Putnam Competition, the Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest has been sponsored each fall since 1979 by the Mathematics Department at Virginia Tech. More than 130 colleges and universities participate each year. Contestants at each participating school take the two and one-half hour exam on their own campus under the supervision of one of their own faculty members. Individuals compete for $750 in regional prizes for which any contestant is eligible and $250 in local prizes for which only Virginia Tech students are eligible.