Skip to main content

Putnam Competition

About the Putnam Competition

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is perhaps the most prestigious university-level mathematics competition in the world. The Putnam Competition is an annual examination consisting of twelve problems, each worth ten points. Testing originality as well as technical competence, the examination's median score is often zero points out of 120. 

The Northwestern Putnam Team (prior to 2019)

Using the results of a selection test, the Putnam Supervisor selects three students to form the official Northwestern Putnam Team. Students not selected for the official team may still participate in the competition as individual contestants, and we encourage all interested students to participate. 

Note that starting in 2019, there will be no preselection of team members. Institutions will be ranked by the sum of the scores of their top three participants. The top three participants will be referred as the team for that institution, but the team will not bet determined until grading is complete.

2018 Putnam Competition Results

Seven Northwestern students participated in the Seventy-Ninth Putnam Competition on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Northwestern's team scored 32, ranking 97 out of 568 teams. Among the winners were Aidan Perreault and Fiona Brady, who ranked between 206 and 495.5 out of 4623 participants. The official solutions show Fiona Brady's solution to Problem B3.


This year Putnam Mathematical Competition is on December 7, 2019.

It will consist of two sessions of three hours each:

Note: It is suggested that contestants assemble 15 minutes prior to each session.

Check here for additional information about the competition and training sessions.

Putnam Competition Training

To prepare for the Putnam Competition, the Department of Mathematics hosts weekly problem-solving sessions during the Fall quarter. We welcome any student interested in tackling difficult problems, regardless of whether he or she intends to participate in the Putnam Competition. 

This years's organizational meeting for the training sessions was held on:

Training sessions were held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30pm-7:30pm in Lunt 104 beginning on October 8th 2019. The schedule can be found here:

Resources and Further information

 Contact the Putnam Supervisor for further information.

Back to top