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Director's Summer Program (DSP)

The Director's Summer Program (DSP) is a highly competitive program that seeks to reach the nation's most outstanding undergraduate mathematics majors. Each summer, we invite exceptional undergraduate students to put their problem-solving skills to the test in mathematics, cryptology and communications technology. These problems often involve applications of abstract algebra, geometry, number theory, analysis, probability, statistics, combinatorics, graph theory, algorithms, and computer science. State-of-the-art computing resources are available to all students. Computational algebra packages, including Mathematics, MATLAB, Magma and MAPLE are available, in addition to a variety of statistics packages.

The DSP is looking for students who have distinguished themselves in undergraduate research or national mathematics competitions. At the beginning of the summer, students are presented with introductory lectures on modern cryptography and a set of problems that agency mathematicians are actively investigating. Each student chooses one or two problems as the focus of his or her research. Throughout the summer, students are mentored by agency experts, collaborate to solve challenging problems, and present their work in both technical talks and papers, which are internally published at NSA.

About the Program

The DSP is a 12-week program that runs from the end of May through mid-August each year and is open to students majoring in mathematics. Computer science and Physics majors with either a minor in math or a strong math curriculum may also apply. Applicants should have demonstrated superior mathematical aptitude. One full year of upper level mathematics (abstract algebra or analysis) is strongly recommended. Some computer programming experience is desirable.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted August 1st - October 31st each year.


Students are paid a salary commensurate with their education level.


  • Receive annual leave, sick leave and paid federal holidays
  • Participation in agency-wide extracurricular programs
  • Students who attend schools in excess of 75 miles from Ft. Meade, MD are eligible for a round trip airfare ticket to and from school or mileage reimbursement up to the cost of a government-issued airline ticket.
  • Daily transportation to and from work is not provided. Students participating in the program are highly encouraged to bring a vehicle. Carpooling with other students MAY be available but is NOT guaranteed.
  • Subsidized housing accommodations are available upon request if school is located in excess of 75 miles from NSA main HQs campus.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be eligible to be granted a security clearance
  • Must be an undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics, Computer Science, or Physics. Other majors with either a minor in math or a strong math curriculum may apply. Students that are completing their degree after the fall or spring semester are also eligible to apply.
  • Must be available for an operational interview and other applicable processing between November and March

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online on or before October 31st. Applications received after the deadline, as well as incomplete packages, will not be considered.

To submit a resume online during open season, click any "Apply Online" link. Under "Basic Job Search," type in keywords "Director's Summer Program" and click on "Search." Select "Director's Summer Program" and click "Apply Now." Follow the directions as prompted.

To be considered, you must submit a complete application package that includes:

  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members who can speak directly to your mathematics background
  • Transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended through current academic year, to include transferred credits


Transcripts may be issued directly by the Registrar, or issued to you by the Registrar, then sent with your application materials. Only originals via post, photocopies of originals via post, scanned copies of originals via email (PDF format only), or fax copies of originals will be accepted. Should you choose to fax your transcripts, please make clean photocopies first, then fax the photocopies, as the security features can render faxes of actual transcripts unreadable. If your Registrar is capable of directly sending electronic transcripts, please have them sent directly to you and then email the transcript as an attachment. Please do not send html transcripts accessible via a website or text versions thereof.

IMPORTANT: When applying online, you may only submit your resume. Please see job posting between August 1st and October 31st for the email and postal addresses to send transcripts and letters of recommendation.

**Applications are not complete without the requested documentation. If you have applied to multiple positions, you MUST follow the instructions on each posting and send your requested documents to each program separately. Documents (including transcripts) will NOT be shared between programs.


If you have questions about the Director's Summer Program, please contact us at 1-866-NSA-HIRE. You may also e-mail or call (410) 854-4726.

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Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Aug 27, 2015 | Last Reviewed: Aug 27, 2015