About the National Mathematics Summer School

The National Mathematics Summer School was established under the joint educational sponsorship of The Australian National University and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers in 1969 by the late Professor A. L. (Larry) Blakers AM of The University of Western Australia. It is the oldest and most prestigious summer school of its type in Australia, and has been attended by over 3500 students from all states and territories of Australia.

Academic program

NMSS is a program for the discovery and development of mathematically gifted and talented high school students from all over Australia. Participation is normally restricted to about 75 students who have completed Year 11 in school.

During NMSS, students participate in a number of courses on different branches of mathematics not typically studied as part of the school curriculum. Each course is delivered in a series of lectures and small-group tutorials. Study sessions in the evenings allow students to further puzzle over problems and discover mathematics for themselves.

The main course is Number Theory, which is studied in depth over the two weeks. Other courses which each run for one week vary from year to year and have in the past included:

  • Algorithms
  • Chaos Theory
  • Cryptography
  • Knot Theory
  • Languages and Automata
  • Projective Geometry
  • Topology

Other parts of the NMSS academic program include:

  • The Blakers Lecture, presented by a member of the Australian Academy of Science at The Shine Dome.
  • Lectures by invited NMSS alumni.
  • Informal careers Q&A sessions.

Social program

During their free time each day, students may organise their own activities, whether within the college common rooms, elsewhere on campus, or in the city centre.

Activities which are organised by NMSS include:

  • Visits to a selection of national attractions such as the National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Questacon Science Centre, National Art Gallery of Australia, and Old and New Parliament House.
  • Mathematical games.
  • A formal dinner and concert on the final night.


Accommodation and meals are provided on campus by a residential college of The Australian National University. In 2025, accommodation is expected to be provided by Wright Hall.

Information for prospective students

If you are a prospective student, then you can find out more about the program by downloading the NMSS 2023 flyer. This can be shown to your parent/guardian and your maths teacher to determine your suitability for the program.

Information for mathematics teachers

Please download the NMSS 2023 flyer and promote NMSS within your school community, not only for your current cohort of Year 11 students, but for all aspirational students in lower year levels as well.

It’s good practice to discuss all nominations from your school and narrow your selection. Directly ‘nudging’ highly talented students is a really important step not to be overlooked, and you should discuss with them both the challenge and the opportunity that NMSS provides. If your school is nominating more than one student, ranking of nominations is required. Teachers or Maths faculty leaders are required to complete a nomination form and in some instances may be asked to administer a further application assessment test.