Our department recognizes that many Middlebury students wish to integrate study abroad into their undergraduate programs. For mathematics majors, the keys to a successful experience are early planning and consultation with their departmental advisors.
The following three advanced courses are requirements for our major: MATH 302 "Abstract Algebra" and MATH 323 "Analysis", and MATH 704 "Senior Thesis Seminar." We strongly advise our majors to avoid leaving all three of these courses for the senior year. Therefore, students wishing to study abroad will ideally complete one of MATH 302/323 before leaving for study abroad. Students who arrive with advanced placement may reach one of these courses during the sophomore year, though historically most students have begun them during the junior year. In practical terms, this will usually mean that a semester abroad is preferable to a full year.
Non-English speaking programs. It can be difficult for students and their advisors to ascertain the true content of a technical course that will be taught in another language. Also, students studying in a Middlebury College program abroad have sometimes planned to take mathematics courses at nearby institutions, only to find upon arrival that those schedules had changed. We are therefore extremely hesitant to approve an application for study abroad if the student's ability to complete their mathematics major depends critically on a particular offering to be taken while abroad. (This highlights again the need for early planning!) On the other hand, we recognize that a semester abroad can often enhance a student's program of study broadly defined, such as a minor or other demonstrated curricular interest in a foreign language. We are happy to approve applications for a semester abroad when the student has already done sufficient mathematics course work to ensure smooth completion of the major upon return to Middlebury.
English speaking programs. In recent years, a number of students have found opportunities for taking advanced mathematics courses while abroad. The London School of Economics offers a broad range of applied mathematics and statistics courses that extend or complement what is available at Middlebury. Other students have completed excellent pure and applied courses at the University of York, the University of St. Andrews, and the University of Otago (New Zealand). Students need to be aware that in the British system (including institutions in Australia and New Zealand), undergraduate courses with similar titles to those at US institutions tend to be more advanced. Therefore, we would reserve approval to students who have already demonstrated mastery in some upper level courses at Middlebury.
There are two high-quality advanced mathematics programs. One is the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. This program is expressly developed for US and Canadian students who wish to devote an entire semester to advanced mathematics. Read a summary of students' experience at Budapest here.
The second program is Math in Moscow. This program is open to students from the US, Canada and Europe, and exposes them to the Russian tradition of teaching mathematics. Admission to both programs is based on a competitive application process.