The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is a competition for regularly enrolled undergraduates, in colleges and universities of the United States and Canada, who have not yet received a college degree. It is administered by the Mathematical Association of America. The competition takes place every December. At McGill, the team is coached by Professor Sergey Norin.

A compendium of problems from old exams (and their solutions) can be found here.

### RULES

The competition is open only to regularly enrolled undergraduates, in colleges and universities of the United States and Canada, who have not yet received a college degree. No individual may participate in the competition more than four times. An eligible entrant who is also a high school student must be informed of this four time limit.

A college or university with at least three registered entrants obtains a team rank through the positions achieved by three designated individual contestants.

No collaboration or outside assistance is permitted during the examination. Each contestant, even if designated as a team member, must work independently on the examination questions.

Please note that there are no provisions for "unofficial" entrants.

The local supervisor must be a regular faculty member.

### DESCRIPTION

The examination will be constructed to test originality as well as technical competence. It is expected that the contestant will be familiar with the formal theories embodied in undergraduate mathematics. It is assumed that such training, designed for mathematics and physical science majors, will include somewhat more sophisticated mathematical concepts than is the case in minimal courses. Thus the differential equations course is presumed to include some references to qualitative existence theorems and subtleties beyond the routine solution devices. Questions will be included that cut across the bounds of various disciplines, and self-contained questions that do not fit into any of the usual categories may be included. It will be assumed that the contestant has acquired a familiarity with the body of mathematical lore commonly discussed in mathematics clubs or in courses with such titles as “survey of the foundations of mathematics.” It is also expected that the self-contained questions involving elementary concepts from group theory, set theory, graph theory, lattice theory, number theory, and cardinal arithmetic will not be entirely foreign to the contestant’s experience.