The Putnam contest is a North American mathematics competition held in December each year. It is a one-day competition during which students have to solve 12 problems. The problems, which don’t require much mathematical knowledge, nevertheless require good mathematical intuition and deep thinking. Typically, the median score for the Putnam is around 0/120, meaning that about half of the participants end up with a score of 0. Each year, interested Bishop’s mathematics students participate in the Putnam. It is above all a fun activity during which every cubic inch of your neurons is required. Prior to the contest math students meet on a weekly basis with a faculty to prepare for P-day, and about a month before the contest, we go to the Colby math meet in Maine to prepare with students from Colby, Bowdoin, Bates and the University of Maine. If you are interested in joining our Putnam team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of your professors.

Official Putnam website

Work Opportunities

There are several work opportunities for math students. This is an excellent way of developing interpersonal and pedagogical skills while reinforcing your mathematical knowledge, and of course, earning some money! The following jobs are available:

Tutor in the Math Stats help center.

Peer tutor for math courses at the counselling office.

Marker for math courses.

Research assistant
(visit the research page to learn more about summer research at Bishop’s)

Conferences and Social Events

In order to keep our students in touch with the mathematical community, we encourage them to attend conferences in Canada and the United States, and organize at least one trip each semester to a local conference. We’re regular attendees at the Colby Math Meet in Maine and the Hudson River Valley Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, which held every year at a university in New England or upstate New York.

Twice a year, normally at the beginning of each semester, we organize a math party. These are typically held at one of our professor’s houses. The purpose of these social events is to encourage exchanges between students and professors outside of class hours. In recent years, we’ve added an exotic twist to those parties by giving them special culinary themes. Among other things we organized a sushi-making session in which students made and ate their own sushi! We also had a beach party (at 30 below zero) with fajitas! Last year it was create your own original poutine!


Math-Stats Help Center (JOH 4)

The center’s mission is to provide individual assistance to students enrolled in mathematics or statistics courses. The center is typically used by first and second year students. It is staffed by a coordinator assisted by advanced math students.

Math Help Center Hours – Fall 2018 Semester:

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 – 16:00
Friday: 9:00 – 13:00

Mathematics students’ room (JOH 117c)

This is a place where math students meet, eat and work, making it the perfect place to spend time outside class hours. This contributes to the close-knit atmosphere in the small mathematical community of Bishop’s. The room is WiFi compatible and has three computers.

Linux and Windows labs (N110, N111, Library Learning Commons).

There are several computer labs on campus. See the ITS Virtual Helpdesk for opening hours.


The library has an impressive and up-to-date collection of mathematics books. As a member of the NSLC (National site license consortium), Bishop’s library offers free online access to the main mathematics periodicals and abstract databases. See the Library website to search for online periodicals. If you are looking for a specific article, you can find an abstract and a review on mathscinet (on-campus access only,) the complete mathematics database. You can then order that article through CISTI if Bishop’s does not have it in print or online. The department has a budget for book acquisitions for the library, so if you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to share them with the chair of the mathematics department.