The Ross Program at the Ohio State University is an intensive summer experience designed to encourage motivated pre-college students to explore mathematics. During those six weeks, students are immersed in a world of mathematical discovery.
Dr. Arnold Ross founded this multi-level program at Notre Dame University in 1957. Its growth was then spurred by the launch of the Sputnik satellite and the subsequent surge of interest in science education. Arnold Ross’s Program has run every summer since then, moving to Ohio State in 1964. It is currently sponsored by the University.
The central goal of the Ross Program has always been to instruct bright young students in the art of mathematical thinking and to inspire them to discover for themselves that abstract ideas are valuable and important. First year participants take the basic course in number theory. For most students, this is the first time they are asked to consider entirely new questions, to develop methods that they have not seen before, and to justify every answer.
The value of a mathematics education lies not only in obtaining proficiency in computational tasks, but also in building a foundation for critical thinking. Students who have never asked why things work the way they do are not prepared to lead the way to future scientific innovation. It is precisely this independence of thought and questioning attitude that the Ross Program strives to nurture.
Ambitious pre-college students with interests in mathematics and science are invited to apply. First-year students range in age from 15 to 18 years old. (In rare cases, younger or older students are accepted.) Admission decisions are based on several criteria, including: the applicant’s work on some challenging math problems; essays concerning the applicant’s interests and goals; teacher recommendations; and school transcripts.
Undergraduate math majors are invited to
apply to be a Ross Counselor.
NOTE. The Ross Program cannot accommodate students who must arrive in Columbus more than two days after the start of classes. Unfortunately, this policy eliminates applications from students whose high school schedule prevents them from arriving by Tuesday evening.
Costs and Financial Aid
Fees for this program are determined the cost of six weeks of room and board and by various instructional costs. The Program’s fee for 2016 will be $4000.
Some financial aid is available.
Every year, the Ross Program application is posted by mid-January. A rolling admissions process will begin on March 1, with a final application deadline of April 1. Spaces do fill up quickly, so it’s best to apply early.
Ross Program Support
The Ross Program is supported in several ways. Partners in this mathematical enterprise include:
and several private donors.
Several other excellent summer mathematics programs are listed on the AMS mathcamps webpage. Two of them, PROMYS at Boston University, and the Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State University, are very close in spirit to the Ross Program since they are run by Ross alumni.