About the program


The aim of the Young Scholars Program (YSP) is to strengthen the participants' mathematical powers through a deep experience in mathematical thought and effort. Our intention is to broaden and enrich the students' understanding of mathematics rather than to accelerate them through the standard elementary or high school mathematics curriculum.

The Young Scholars Program hosts two programs: the Saturday academic year Math Circles of Chicago program, which consists of thirteen sessions; and the Summer YSP Program, which is a four-week day camp throughout the month of July that requires an application and is significantly more selective.

If you are a student currently in grades seven through twelve who has scored well on the math portion of the ACT, SAT, or other standardized test, or if you enjoy participating in math competitions, or if you simply find mathematics to be an interesting and challenging subject, then we encourage you to join us!


The Young Scholars Program began in the summer of 1988 under Paul J. Sally Jr. and Diane Herrmann in order to further Paul's vision of teaching young talented students some "real" mathematics, and it continues to honor that vision. The program has been running since 1988. Prior to that, the Mathematics Department held a Summer Science Training Program (SSTP), funded by the National Science Foundation and other agencies from 1975 until 1983. In fact, renowned mathematician and educator Arnold Ross visited Chicago for three summers in the mid-1970's to initiate the SSTP at The University of Chicago. In fact, we still follow the Ross model in our program.


Summer Curriculum

In even years, the program's mathematical focus is on number theory and the theory of field extensions. In odd years, the program's mathematical focus is on geometry and probability. The content and sophistication vary according to the grade level of the participants.

Students spend a significant amount of time in the computer laboratory carrying out research activities related to their course work. Students and staff will interact in daily problem sessions to study ideas and open problems.

The staff of the YSP is made up of senior faculty, junior faculty, high school teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate students from the University of Chicago and other institutions.

Academic Year Curriculum

The curriculum for the Academic Year varies year by year. Please visit the Math Circles website for more details.


The summer Young Scholars Program has a participation fee structure based on family income that runs as follows:

    Family Income

  1. less than $75,000...suggested fee is $250
  2. $75,000 - $150,000...suggested fee is $500
  3. more than $150,000...suggested fee is $750
We do tell families in the lowest of these brackets that if the $250 fee is still too burdensome, then they can write a letter explaining and we will waive the fee.

The Young Scholars Program
5734 S. University Avenue · Chicago, IL 60637 · Phone: (773) 702-7389 · Fax: (773) 702-9787