Counsellor Applications 2020


***As of 10 February, Counsellor applications are now closed***

PROMYS Europe Counsellor – Job Description and Selection Criteria


Job title PROMYS Europe Counsellor
Location Wadham College and the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford
Stipend at least £2,820
Hours Full-time
Contract duration 11 July 2020 - 22 August 2020
Reporting to Dr Vicky Neale
Application deadline 9 February 2020
Interviews Week commencing 24 February 2020
Decisions advised by 6 March 2020








Applications are invited for the post of PROMYS Europe Counsellor.  

PROMYS Europe is a partnership of PROMYS, Wadham College and the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and the Clay Mathematics Institute. It is a summer programme designed to encourage mathematically ambitious secondary school students to explore in depth the creative world of mathematics in a supportive community of peers, counsellors and faculty. Competitively selected pre-university students from around Europe gather at Wadham College, Oxford for six weeks of rigorous mathematical activity.

PROMYS Europe is closely modelled on the very successful PROMYS programme at Boston University. Professor Glenn Stevens, who founded the Boston programme in 1989, is also the founding Director of PROMYS Europe. Counsellors will work under the direction of Dr Vicky Neale of the University of Oxford.

The successful candidates will be required to work full time from Saturday 11 July 2020 to Saturday 22 August 2020. They will also need to spend some time beforehand helping with the preparation and undertaking necessary training. When working with young people, it is important to note that we have a duty of care towards them. As such, safeguarding is an absolute priority of the programme and candidates will be provided with full training beforehand.

The pay will be £2,820. Counsellors will be provided with accommodation and food at Wadham College, Oxford throughout the programme. One or more of the counsellors will be selected to act as Head Counsellor or Deputy Head Counsellor, with additional responsibilities, and pay of £2,930.

PROMYS Europe seeks to attract applications from undergraduate mathematicians of the highest quality and potential, regardless of background. Counsellor hiring decisions will be based solely on individual merit. As part of the department’s commitment to openness, inclusivity and transparency, we strongly encourage applications from all who consider they meet the requirements of the post, and particularly from women and ethnic minorities. 


The successful candidates will be expected

  • to be positive mathematical role models for the young people at PROMYS Europe and to play a full role as members of the PROMYS Europe community;
  • to encourage, support and advise the PROMYS Europe students as they work on the problem sets;
  • to mark the daily work of a small group of PROMYS Europe students and to meet each student individually to give feedback afterwards;
  • to work with a small group of students on an exploration project and/or research project;
  • to be present in the common room regularly during the day and evenings (there will be a rota to ensure that there are always counsellors available to work with students);
  • to work as part of a team of counsellors, with the support of an experienced Head Counsellor;
  • to work with PROMYS Europe faculty and administrators to ensure students’ academic and pastoral wellbeing;
  • to help organise weekly non-mathematical activities and appropriate weekend activities;
  • to undertake their own individual programme of mathematical study during the programme;
  • to contribute to the counsellors’ programme of study on a topic mutually selected by the counsellors;
  • to undertake other tasks as may reasonably be requested by the PROMYS Europe faculty.

It is important that there are enough counsellors on site at all times with the students, for safety reasons. It will be possible for each counsellor to take reasonable time off during the programme, but only by prior negotiation and arrangement with the Head Counsellor so that there are always enough counsellors still on duty. Counsellors will normally be expected to be at Wadham overnight. Counsellors will have some free time to themselves during the day and evenings, when they are not required for specific activities, but they will need to liaise with the Head Counsellor so that there are enough counsellors on duty at any given time and so that the responsibilities of counsellors are shared fairly amongst the group. Working at PROMYS Europe is intensive and demanding, the hours include weekends and evenings, and the rate of remuneration reflects these expectations.

This job description is intended as a guideline and the exact nature of the work may vary from time to time according to the needs of the programme.

Selection criteria


Successful candidates will be expected to demonstrate

  • that they will be aged at least 18 at the start of the programme and have the right to work in the UK;
  • that they are undertaking an undergraduate degree programme in Mathematics or with a very significant mathematical component (undergraduates in their final year may still apply);
  • an exceptional academic record in mathematics;
  • engagement in mathematical activity beyond the requirements of their school and university courses;
  • proficiency in English at the level required to give talks, read student work, and work with students;
  • teamwork skills to enable effective collaboration with students, other counsellors, faculty and staff;
  • Ability to take initiative and make well-judged decisions;
  • Ability to cope with the challenges and pressures of a residential programme.


It would be helpful for successful candidates to demonstrate some or all of these

  • a particular interest in pure mathematics, and especially in number theory and related branches of mathematics;
  • previous experience of working effectively with young people;
  • an understanding of and commitment to the aims of PROMYS Europe.

Application process

Please note that by clicking either of the links below, you will open a new tab containing the online application form on the University of Oxford Mathematical Institute website. 

  • Online application form. Please complete the form, paying particular attention to demonstrating how you fulfil the selection criteria. You will also be asked to upload a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) and a copy of your university transcript (unofficial copies are acceptable).
  • Online referee recommendation form. Please ask two individuals who are familiar with your background in university-level mathematics to complete the form. Please be aware that you are responsible for requesting the references yourself and that they should be submitted before the deadline for applications. You should show this job description and your application material to your referees to inform what they write. You should ask your referees to comment on the following, to the extent that they are able:

1. your mathematical aptitude, level of experience, and potential for future work in mathematics;
2. your performance in your undergraduate course, particularly in pure mathematics;
3. your communication skills and ability to work as part of a team — including comments about your command of English (is it good enough to give mathematical talks in English, and to read and assess other students’ work?);
4. any reservations they might have about your suitability to work with young people.

  • There is an optional form for monitoring purposes which will be sent to you once you have submitted your application. This form is completely anonymised and will not affect your application or the selection process.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 9 February 2020, Skype interviews with shortlisted candidates will be carried out during the week commencing 24 February 2020 and all candidates will be notified by Friday 6 March 2020, at the latest.

Important Information for Candidates

Pre-employment screening

Counsellors for PROMYS Europe are employed by the University of Oxford. Please note that the appointment of the successful candidates will be subject to some standard pre-­employment checks. These will include: 

  • proof of their entitlement to work in the UK (usually a valid passport or national identity card showing the holder is a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland ), or sufficient information to demonstrate to the University that they will be able to get the required immigration status before commencing employment;
  • criminal record check - this position involves working with young people under the age of 18, so successful candidates will be required to make an enhanced criminal record disclosure through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in the UK or through Horus Security Screening for overseas candidates. This will check for any previous criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, and where applicable, the appropriate ‘barring’ list that prohibits work with vulnerable groups. Any offer of employment will be conditional on the production of a satisfactory disclosure certificate from the DBS or from Horus. Successful candidates will be given the appropriate forms to complete.
  • The University of Oxford complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice. Disclosures are handled in the strictest of confidence and only by staff who have been designated and trained in handling such information.
  • Please note that you will need to provide original documents and where any documents are not in English a certified translation will be required. Do not include these documents with your application. You will be sent a request for the relevant information once a conditional offer of employment has been made.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the PROMYS Europe office at


If you wish to make us aware of a disability for which you may need support, then you may do so by writing to  either when you submit your application or when you receive an offer. Successful applicants with a disability will be given the opportunity to discuss their needs, and we will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of disabled participants and applicants.