The Berkeley Math Circle

Welcome to the Berkeley Math Circle

The United Math Circles Foundation is an official umbrella organization for the Berkeley Math Circle.  The United Math Circles Foundation is a non-profit organization.

The Berkeley Math Circle (BMC) is a weekly program for over 500 San Francisco Bay Area elementary, middle and high school students. The weekly sessions are held on Wednesday evenings at the UC Berkeley campus. The program is jointly sponsored by the: 

  • UC Berkeley Mathematics Department
  • UC Berkeley Economics Department
  • UC Berkeley HAAS School Of Business
  • UC Berkeley Statistics Department
  • UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department
  • Mathematical Science and Research Institute (MSRI)
  • Simons Institute for Theory of Computing
  • The Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab (BAIR)
  • Vanguard Charitable, and
  • Parents' Contribution


Emulating famous Eastern European models, the program aims at drawing kids to mathematics, preparing them for mathematical contests, introducing them to the wonders of beautiful mathematical theories, and encouraging them to undertake future careers linked with mathematics, whether as mathematicians, mathematics educators, economists, or business entrepreneurs. Read more about the BMC.


Application Dates to Watch For:

BMC-Upper Spring 2023 (Grades 5-12) Applications now live! (see below)
MTRW Fall 2022

Applications are now closed.

BMC-Elementary (Grades 1-4) For more information, please click either on the link for BMC-Elementary directly to the left in the table, or in the BMC Elementary tab on the side tab 

BMC-Upper Spring 2023 Application Now Live!


Program information

  • Program Dates: Jan 18 - May 3, 2023
  • Time: Wednesday evenings (exact times for each BMC-Upper group level are listed in the application)
  • Projected Modes:
  • ONLINE mode for Beginners I and Advanced groups. The Advanced group may have some possibility for HYBRID zoom/in-person sessions (to be decided when sessions start).
  • IN-PERSON mode for Beginners II, Intermediate I, and Intermediate II groups on UCB campus.


Application Link

Application for BMC-Upper Spring 2023

The Application for BMC-Upper Spring 2023 for both continuing and new applicants will be completed entirely online. A link to an online payment form will be sent to families once your student has been accepted into the BMC-Upper Spring 2023 program. 


  • Continuing BMC-Upper student application due date:  Dec 1, 2022
  • New BMC-Upper student application due date:  Dec 8, 2021
  • The fee for BMC-Upper Spring 2023 is $254 (this includes PayPal fee)
  • Continuing Students: Applications submitted after Dec 1 are not guaranteed entry into the program (and most likely, we will have closed enrollment for continuing students by then). If we admit any continuing student who submitted an application on or after Dec 1, there will be an extra $25 of processing fee by Dec 8, $50 extra on or after Dec 9, 2022, and $100 extra on or after January 1, 2023.

    New Students: Applications submitted after Dec 8 are not guaranteed entry into the program (and most likely, we will have closed enrollment for new students by then). If we admit any continuing student who submitted an application after Dec 8, there will be an extra $25 of processing fee by Dec 15, $50 extra on or after Dec 16,   and $100 extra on or after January 1, 2023.


Early application submissions are preferred. This allows us to begin reviewing applications and to make decisions promptly. Decisions will be made on an on-going first-come-first serve basis for continuing applicants. For new applicants, we will make the decisions after the due date.


Do NOT submit the form through your phone, as the lack of options on the phone makes it hard to properly fill the form, and then we often receive incomplete or multiple applications for the same student.  In addition, some applicants write on their phones (or tablets) their names or other information without any caps or in all caps; such information is NOT edited and it propagates as such into all program rosters and other documentation. Thus, everyone needs to take the application process seriously, write all information correctly, and submit applications through laptops or desktops whenever available.


Application information for Continuing students

Continuing students include everyone who is currently enrolled in BMC-Upper Spring 2022: Beginners I, II, Intermediate I, II, and Advanced. For students who would like to apply to move up to a higher BMC-Upper group level, the optional higher group placement application is included in the application link provided above.

Continuing student application due date: Dec 1, 2022


Application information for New students

New students include any student who is currently enrolled in BMC Elementary or any student who is NOT currently enrolled in BMC-Upper Fall 2021. 

New student application due date: Dec 8, 2022


The following documents will be required for new students. New applicants will upload these documents to the application link provided above when prompted to do so. Please acquire these additional documents prior to filling out the application form to prevent unsaved question responses and needing to re-complete the application.

CONTINUING students applying for a higher group placement MAY strengthen their application by submitting these two documents, or MAY elect to skip one or both steps.

  • Letter of recommendation from a math teacher: The letter from the math teacher must address the mathematics knowledge, performance and potential of the students. The letter can be in the form of an email, which can be saved then uploaded. The letter can also be a previous recommendation letter that addresses students' math skills. If such a letter is not available, but the student has won math competitions and/or participated in prestigious math/science programs before, a substitution document addressing such achievements will be considered.
  • The latest school report card must show, among other things, grades in mathematics, in science, and in English (reading/writing), as well as behavior grade/description. If such a report card is not available from the spring semester, the latest fall semester report card may be submitted.


Expected Application Details and Release Date: Applications have now opened (see below).



MTRW Fall 2022 Application Information

MTRW Fall 2022 Program information

Fall 2022 Dates:

  • First day of class: August 29, 2022

  • Last day of class: December 5, 2022

Note that MTRW does not have any weeks off during this time period.  In particular, we WILL meet on Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples' Day, Halloween, and the Monday before Thanksgiving.  The schedule is tight in the fall, which means that we do not have space to cancel class for holidays.


Projected modes for Fall 2022

While we are eager to return to in-person meetings for all levels, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is of utmost importance, and we must also consider any logistical difficulties with scheduling groups to return to campus.  Local and campus health guidelines will be considered before making the final call.  

We will only be offering HYBRID mode for enrollment.  This means all families should be prepared for both possibilities: online sessions and in-person sessions.  As of June 2022, we anticipate that most MTRW sessions in the Fall 2022 semester will be held IN-PERSON, with occasional online sessions as needed.  This plan is contingent on compliance with local and campus health guidelines, as well as the availability of appropriate meeting spaces on campus. 

The two most likely paths for any given level are a) meeting on campus for the entire semester, or b) beginning with several weeks of online meetings before transitioning to on-campus meetings for the remainder of the semester.  That said, the move to in-person sessions may happen at the beginning of the semester or anytime during the semester or it may not happen at all and the sessions may stay online for the whole semester.  Some levels may be cleared to come back to campus while others remain online longer. 


Families must commit to attending online AND in-person sessions of MTRW in Fall 2022, regardless of when a move to in-person sessions may happen. Keep in mind that if a move to in-person classes happens for some MTRW groups but not for others, siblings may be split between attending on campus and attending online at the same time. No refunds will be provided to families, regardless of changed personal circumstances or if sessions move between online and in-person modes.

The above modes may change as the health situation and logistics change. Upon applying and enrolling for the spring semester, all families should be prepared to be online AND in-person, depending on what the conditions are. For in-person sessions, COVID vaccination proof or 3-day COVID negative testing for every session will be required from all students and adults. If UC Berkeley and/or State/County authorities require masks and other health measures, families must be prepared to satisfy these requirements. 

In-person sessions will NOT be recorded. Online sessions will be recorded, whenever feasible and agreeable with the instructor, and posted for viewing to MTRW families.

No refunds will be provided after a student is enrolled in the program for the Fall 2022 semester, regardless of what the mode of sessions is (hybrid, online, or in-person).


8A Modes and Cohorts

For the 8A level, we will be having two separate cohorts this fall: with one cohort meeting in-person on the Berkeley campus and one cohort meeting remotely on Zoom for the entire semester. Moreover:

  • The two separate 8A cohorts would cover the same curriculum with different, but overlapping, sets of instructors.
  • We will expect live/synchronous attendance in real time for both cohorts, with active participation by students.  Students should not schedule conflicting activities, and we do not anticipate sharing recorded classes for either cohort/mode.
  • For logistical reasons, each student would have to be in one cohort or the other; it will definitely not be possible to choose week by week or occasionally attend with the other cohort.
  • This setup is restricted to 8A.
  • We cannot guarantee everyone will get their first choice of mode, but our hope is that most students can be assigned to their preferred cohort.



Application link (NOW CLOSED)

Application for MTRW Fall 2022

The application for MTRW Fall 2022 for both continuing and new applicants will be completed entirely online. A link to an online payment form will be sent to families once your student has been accepted into the program. 

  • Application deadline:  June 15, 2022

  • Applications submitted after the due date will only be considered if space remains after processing those received by the deadline.  Admission into the program is not guaranteed, even for continuing students who submit by the deadline.

  • If we admit any student who submitted an application after the deadline, there will be a  late processing fee of $25 in addition to the enrollment fees below.

  • Fees

    • 6A/7A/8A/9A: $795

    • 9A Proofs Subgroup: $265

Early application submissions are preferred. This allows us to begin reviewing applications and to make decisions promptly. 

We highly recommend that you do NOT submit the form through your phone, as the lack of options on the phone make it hard to properly fill the form, and we often receive multiple applications for the same student if submitted on the phone.


Application Process

  • Applications will be reviewed later this June, but we often have enough applicants to fill all levels within just a few days of opening this application portal. The selection process will be based on a timely and complete application and submitted payment through PayPal and on high academic qualifications. We may not be able to continue all MTRW Spring 2022 students.  We will select only those who have shown dedication to and growth in the program. We also expect to accept some very strong new students.

  • The enrollment fees for the Fall 2022 program will be paid AFTER the student is accepted and will be done so via PayPal. After the student is accepted, families will have 48 hours to submit the enrollment fees or risk their student being put on the waitlist for the program. 

  • In the event that any groups have space remaining after June 15th, there will be a late processing fee of $25 for any accepted students whose applications are submitted after this date.

  • Enrollment for MTRW Fall 2022 will be finalized as soon as the groups reach capacity. You must NOT contact BMC/MTRW staff with routine or non-emergency questions at any time: we do NOT reply to such email inquiries as we do NOT have the resources to answer questions from many hundreds of families on email. Instead, wait until the BMC and MTRW restart in the fall and you can ask us or other families in person.



Espen Slettnes receives a Gold Award at the 2022 United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO)!

Congratulations to Espen, our very own math circler! Espen is among the top 19 problem solvers in the country, distinguishing himself in a field of 300,000 students in the American Mathematics Competitions and approximately 337 finalists who went on to take the USAMO.


Podcast with BMC director, Zvezda Stankova, in Numberphile!

Check out Numberphile's latest podcast with BMC director Zvezda Stankova below, detailing her journey through mathematics and more!
by Brady Haran, Numberphile

Interview with BMC director, Zvezda Stankova, in Berkeley Science Review

If you are interested in learning more about the history and background information of the BMC/MTRW program, we direct you to read a recently published interview in the Berkeley Science Review:
by Amanda Glazer, in STEMinism in the Spotlight
Berkeley Science Review

Espen Slettnes publishes paper in Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications!

Check out Espen's paper, "Minimal Embedding Dimensions of Rectangle k-Visibility Graphs," published in 2021's first issue of the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications!

Espen Slettnes receives honorable at the 2020 United States Online Mathematical Olympiad (USOMO)!

The USAMO test is given to the top combined scorers on the AMC12 and AIME. Our very own math circler, Espen Slettnes, has distinguished himself among the 2020 USOMO participants! 


Hanna Hantao Chen Achieves at Math Prize for Girls!

Math Prize for Girls is the world’s largest math prize for young women high school age or younger.  Hanna tied for 16th out of 300 girls, got an Honorable Mention, and was invited to the next round of competition!
Congratulations, Hanna!

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Harry Main-Luu, previous assistant for MTRW and BMC-Upper, was named one of the 4 UC Berkeley University Medal runners-up! 

"Every year, the competition for the University Medal – the award given each year to the graduating senior who best embodies the highest ideals of UC Berkeley – is fierce. Candidates for the medal, which was established in 1871, must have overcome significant challenges, had an impact on the lives of others and carry a GPA of 3.96 or higher." 

Read Harry's profile below:

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Alumnus Evan O'Dorney continues success after BMC!

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He finished the Mathematical Tripos in Cambridge and is now a Ph.D. student at Princeton under Manjul Bhargava. He was called on to write the music for a film advertising the Churchill Scholarship, by which he went to Cambridge. To read more about Evan and his time at the Berkeley Math Circle, visit the Program page


Congratulations to Justin Lee for being a winner of the 10th United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO)!

The USAJMO test is given to the top combined scorers on the AMC 10 and AIME. Justin distinguished himself among 300,000 students who also participated in the American Mathematics Competitions.



Espen Slettnes Wins First Place at 2018 Broadcom MASTERS and Receives Minor Planet named after him!

Our very own seasoned math circler Espen continues to reap awards.  Among more than 900 winners from regional science fairs in California, he went on to win both the 1st prize in Mathematical Science as well as Project of the Year Award across all categories in the junior division at the 2018 California Science and Engineering Fair.

In other math-related fields, he received a bronze medal at 2018 USA Physics Olympiad (USAPhO).  He is also competing in the Gold division of the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO), having easily aced the Bronze and Silver divisions last year.

He has also been accepted as one of 45 pre-college students worldwide to form the inaugural cohort of World Science Scholars, a new initiative to nurture the next generation science researchers, led by Professor Brian Greene of Columbia University.  The scholars will explore a broad range of new disciplines expanded from mathematics. The video above includes footage from MAA MathFest 2018 in Denver earlier this month; near the end, Espen is talking to Dr. Michael Pearson, executive director of MAA. 

More recently, Espen won first place (out of 80,000 middle school students who competed) at 2018 Broadcom MASTERS! This competition is the premier science and engineering competition for middle school students and is a national science fair organized by The Society for Science and Public. He was also selected out of a gifted, national applicant pool to be named as a Caroline D. Bradley Scholar. He will receive a merit-based scholarship for high school.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory also just named a minor planet after Espen to recognize his achievements. His name will be added to the Minor Planet Center database (run out of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts). Look out for Minor Planet 34379 Slettnes in the sky!

Congratulations, Espen!

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Espen at the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS competition in Washington, D.C. 


Zach and Ave Golden awarded at the World Mathematics Team Championship


Zach (in black shirt) and Ave (in black cardigan), seasoned circlers, return to BMC with Bronze Award (for Zach) and Merit Award (for Ave), in the individual rounds at the World Mathematics Team Championship, held in Thailand in November 2017. Congratulations to this brother-sister team and thank you for continuing to reinforce the BMC name on the map. Welcome home!


Vinayak Kumar Earned Gold Medal at the WMTC

Vinayak returns to the Circle with a gold medal around his neck, placing 5th individually in the Advanced Division at the World Mathematics Team Championships. Congratulations, and welcome home!



BMC Alumnus Laura Pierson Continues to Reap Awards


Seasoned circler and alumnus, Laura Pierson, keeps going on her mathematical journey with great success. She placed in the top five at the Math Prize Contest in 2016 among all girls in the U.S., earning herself a gold medal. This year, in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, she has been named the Top 300 Scholar. Her talent also earns her a spot in the top 40 finalists to compete later in the year. We look forward to hearing good news while cheering for her on this journey.

Bio: Laura is currently a senior in high school and still connected to BMC. She coordinates the Monthly Contest and the awards. She has also given lectures at the Circle. Laura won the USAJMO in 2015 while she was in 10th grade, placing in top 12. In 7th grade, Laura, being the youngest member of the USA team, won a silver medal at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) in Luxembourg.


BMC Alumnus Evan Chen Continues His Passion for Math!

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Evan Chen is a PhD student in math at MIT. He is one of the coaches of the USA IMO team, serving as the assistant academic director at the American summer training program (MOP), the editor-in-chief of the USA national math olympiad (USAMO), and the coordinator for the USA IMO team selection. Evan is also the author of a popular textbook Euclidean Geometry in Math Olympiads used by students preparing for mathematical olympiads. As a high school student, Evan was himself an IMO gold medalist and winner of the 2014 USAMO (which he took from 12:30am to 5am in Taiwan). Outside of math and teaching, Evan enjoys StarCraft and Korean pop dance.


Espen writes a poem!

BMC student Espen has written a beautiful poem called "My True Number". We wanted to share as it is quite appropriate for the Berkeley Math Circle! Please do not take out the poem without copyright.

My True Number
By Espen Slettnes, Jan 6th, 2014 

My shadow and I stood in a complex plane. 
"What value are you?" I winked and asked. 
"3435i", said he, and he asked me mine. 
I said I was 33+44+33+55
"That's what I am, but times i"he replied. 
Our eyes met and danced 
as we added and multiplied and exponentiated and tertiated 
until we reached the magnitude of beauty, 
in the silence of ∞, where I saw my true self. 
I spoke no words but the simple language of the universe. 
I rose and vaporized into numbers, 
integrated with the Universe, 
and we became 1. 


  • The complex plane is a way to represent all complex numbers in 2 dimensions. A complex number is made up of a real and imaginary part.
  • i is the imaginary unit, defined as √ -1 
  • Tertiation is repeated exponentiation, which is repeated multiplication, which is repeated addition.
  • ∞ means infinity - larger than any number
  • (33+44+33+55) = 3435 (each digit raised to its own power)

Copyright © 2014 Espen Slettnes. All rights reserved.


Berkeley Math Circle featured on "The Monthly"!

The Berkeley Math Circle has been featured "The Monthly," East Bay's Premier Magazine of Culture and Commerce, titled "Proving Their Passion" by Sarah Weld. Check out the Berkeley Math Circle on the news here!


Nico Brown of the Berkeley Math Circle wins first place at the Berkeley Mini-Math Tournament!

Nico Brown wins 1st place at BmMT 2013.
Nico Brown wins 1st place at BmMT 2013.
Nico Brown and Vincent Pisani at BmMT 2013.
Nico Brown and Vincent Pisani at BmMT 2013.

BMC's own Nico Brown won the Berkeley mini Math Tournament (BmMT). The middle school student variant to the BMT for high school students, this past weekend.

Nico's score in the Individual round placed him into the top six students who entered the final Countdown elimination round, a series of timed questions... and he emerged the overall champion!

He wouldn't have got there without Team BMC coached by Intermediate Circle parent Tor Slettnes--Vincent Pisani, Arav Karighattam, Nate Fish, Espen Slettnes, and Nico--so congratulations to all!