Mathematics and Statistics
Vacation Scholarships Program

Providing selected students with a supervised introduction to research in mathematics or statistics.

About the program

Our Vacation Scholarship program provides selected students with a supervised introduction to research in mathematics or statistics. Successful candidates will be supervised by a member of staff according to their general strengths and interests, whether it be on the pure or applied side, and within mathematics or statistics.

As well as exploring new and familiar mathematical concepts and techniques in unprecedented depth for the purpose of achieving the individual project’s research goals, the vacation scholars gain workforce experience and have the chance to meet, socialise and make friends with students of similar interests.

The program is particularly aimed at students, either advanced second years or current third years, who are seriously considering one of the masters programs offered by the School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Students will receive one payment of AUD$2000 (equivalent of $500/week for 4 weeks) after 20 days of research at the University of Melbourne. Detailed information on the scholarship payment will be part of your induction pack.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please familiarise yourself with the eligibility criteria below and attend the Information Session on 13 August 2020.


Students from other universities in Australia or New Zealand are eligible and encouraged to apply. However, participation from external universities will be capped at five students in 2020.

Vacation Scholarships are available to students who:

  1. Are enrolled in any single or combined degree program in which they have been able to study a significant amount of Mathematics or Statistics
  2. Have completed at least one and have completed or be enrolled in at least three genuine level 2 or 3 Mathematics and Statistics subjects (see below for list), as of the due date for applications
  3. Have not completed one of the School’s Vacation Scholarships before (AMSI Vacation Scholarships are not counted here)
  4. Have contacted at least one potential supervisor and received written approval (by email) that this supervisor would be willing to supervise the student in case of a successful application
  5. Are seriously considering University of Melbourne Mathematics and Statistics postgraduate research programs (e.g. Master of Science, graduate research degree)
  6. Have an Australian bank account.
  • Approved Mathematics and Statistics subjects

    A genuine level 2 or 3 Mathematics and Statistics subject is any subject in the following list (or equivalent at your institution):

    • MAST10009 Accelerated Mathematics 2
    • MAST20004 Probability
    • MAST20005 Statistics
    • MAST20006 Probability for Statistics
    • MAST20009 Vector Calculus
    • MAST20018 Discrete Maths And Operations Research
    • MAST20022 Group Theory And Linear Algebra
    • MAST20026 Real Analysis
    • MAST20030 Differential Equations
    • MAST20031 Analysis of Biological Data
    • COMP20008 Elements Of Data Processing (in combination with MAST20004 and MAST20005 in the Data Science Major)

Projects and supervisors

Available supervisors

Current projects

Note: Some postings are for a specific project while others are more general and have facets that could run each year, even if the posting is from a previous year. We recommend that you contact potential supervisors in research areas of interest to find out about available projects that are not posted here or to discuss personal preferences.

You may also be interested in selected posters from previous years to obtain an impression of the range of topics covered and figure out what kind of mathematics appeals to you.

How to apply

Apply now

Applications close on Friday 11 September 2020 at 5pm. Late applications will not be accepted.

  1. If possible, please attend the Vacation Scholarship Program Information Session.
  2. Complete the online application form and attach the relevant documents. Before you apply you must:
    • Have spoken to a potential supervisor and received written approval (by email) that this supervisor is willing to supervise you if your application is successful. Print this email as a PDF for upload.
    • Have your academic transcript or statement of results ready to upload.
    • Have your CV ready to upload.
    • Have written a brief statement detailing why you would like to be part of the Vacation Scholarship program and your career aspirations/future plans. Save the statement as a PDF for uploading to the application form. Word limit: 350 words.
    • If not a student at the University of Melbourne, provide the contact details of an academic referee.

We hope to notify applicants of the outcome via email in early October.

Other opportunities

Selection procedure

  • Applicants are ranked according to their total Weighted Average Mark (WAM) and then distributed according to their supervisor preferences.
  • Each supervisor can supervise no more than two vacation scholars. We therefore recommend that you contact and nominate more than one supervisor before you apply.
  • We expect that successful applicants will have a WAM of 75 or higher.

Special consideration

If your WAM has been adversely affected by individual circumstances beyond your control you can apply for special consideration by explaining these in an email to

If granted, your WAM will be replaced by an appropriately adjusted WAM for the purpose of the ranking. Please note that general reference to online learning in the context of COVID-19 will not be sufficient to receive special consideration since this is an experience shared by all applicants.

Special consideration may also apply if you fail to satisfy the subject eligibility criteria, for example due to having been granted prerequisite waivers, as long as you can provide evidence that you are on track for a major in Computational Biology, Data Science, Mathematical Physics or Mathematics and Statistics.

If in doubt please discuss your situation with the coordinators of the Vacation Scholarship program.

Information session

The information session for the program 2021/2022 is expected to take place at the beginning of August 2021.

Information Session 2020: Slides [PDF; 8MB], Video


If you have read all of the information on this page and still have further questions, please contact

Address your email to Wei Huang and Thomas Quella for academic matters and Roy Ridgway for all other matters.


  • What research projects are available?

    Research projects are at the discretion of supervisors. There are projects listed on this website; however, this list is not exhaustive. Supervisors may develop other projects in consultation with scholars. You may wish to contact potential supervisors in the School’s research areas to discuss potential projects before submitting your application.

  • When do research projects take place?

    Research projects take place from early January to mid-February.  Each student spends 4 weeks at the School and is expected to prepare a poster for the poster session in mid-February. The precise dates are agreed with the supervisor.

  • Is my WAM competitive?

    The distribution of Vacation Scholarships will be based on a ranking by WAM. Looking at the data from previous years we expect successful applicants to have a WAM of 75 or higher.

    On the other hand, there is no specific value of the WAM below which an application would automatically be deemed ineligible or above which success is guaranteed.

  • Which WAM should I submit if I am enrolled in a double degree?

    Please submit all transcripts or statements of results related to science-related degrees such as the Bachelor of Science or a concurrent Diploma in Mathematical Sciences. For the WAM in the form please use the number for the degree that is most closely related to Mathematics or Statistics.

  • Can I apply for the program without a potential supervisor?

    No, in contrast to previous years it is now mandatory to contact potential supervisors before submitting your application. You will need to provide written confirmation (email is sufficient) that a supervisor is willing to supervise you in case your application is successful.

    Finding out about your scientific interests and initiating contact with potential supervisors is also an important part of the process of going into masters and PhD programs.

  • Can second-year students apply?

    Yes, and the program is now primarily aimed at advanced second year students. Third-year students remain eligible if they haven’t participated in the program before. To have sufficiently strong mathematical foundations to undertake a research project, you are expected to have completed at least three genuine level 2 or 3 Mathematics and Statistics subjects at the time of the project.

  • Why do I need to have completed so many genuine level 2 or 3 Mathematics and Statistics subjects?

    The Vacation Scholarship program is meant to be an appetiser for the graduate research programs at the School of Mathematics and Statistics. With the completion of genuine level 2 or 3 Mathematics and Statistics subjects students demonstrate that they are on track to be eligible for these programs at the end of their undergraduate studies.

  • Can the program be undertaken on a part-time basis?

    Unfortunately there is no part-time option for the program.

  • Is the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Vacation Scholarship Program the same as the AMSI Vacation Research Scholarships?

    AMSI offers vacation research scholarships to eligible students at AMSI member universities to work closely with a supervisor at their home university. AMSI scholars become part of the School's Vacation Scholarship program.

    The AMSI Vacation Research Scholarships:

    • are 6 weeks in total (School of Mathematics and Statistics Vacation Scholarships are 4 weeks)
    • have different eligibility requirements
    • have a different application process – visit the website for further information
    • require students to write up their research and present it to their peers and supervisors at the end of the summer
    • offer travel and accommodation to attend CSIRO’s Big Day.
  • Are the projects listed on the Melbourne University's Vacation Scholarship website available as projects for AMSI?

    The projects listed on this website can be submitted to the AMSI program if the supervisor approves. You should contact the supervisor and discuss.

  • Are we expected to create our own project or are there potential projects waiting?

    There is a list of potential projects on this website; however, you can discuss topics of interest with potential supervisors.

  • Should I contact a potential supervisor myself or go through the University's representative first?

    You should contact the potential supervisor directly. Thinking about scientific areas of interest and initiating contact with potential supervisors is also an important part of the process of going into masters and PhD programs.

  • Can non-University of Melbourne students apply?

    Students from other Australian or New Zealand universities are most welcome and strongly encouraged to apply.

    Successful applicants will need to organise their own accommodation and travel.

    Two travel scholarships will be available each year, up to a total of AUD$2000 per scholar. Students must apply for the travel scholarship at the time of applying for the Vacation Scholarship. To be eligible, students must live:

    • interstate
    • in New Zealand
    • in Victoria, but more than 2 hours' commute from the University.

    Only very strong interstate students (e.g. top 10 ranking using the Vacation Scholarship metric) will be considered. Students awarded travel scholarships can use the money for flights and basic accommodation, but will need to justify their expenses.

    Other than the above-mentioned travel scholarships, The University of Melbourne will not cover accommodation or travel expenses. The costs of accommodation and travel are the responsibility of the Vacation Scholar.