Formally, a student receiving Honors in Mathematics typically satisfies the following list of requirements (as stated in the catalog):

  • The student reads and understands the regulations for departmental honors as stated in the College Catalog.
  • The student has taken at least four courses beyond MAT 111 with a departmental grade point average of at least pi (3.14159265...).
  • The student is in good standing in his or her current departmental courses.
  • The student completes an outstanding independent study project and successfully defends this project in an oral defense.

In order for an independent study project to be considered outstanding, it generally must fall in one of the three categories:

  • The project consists of new results in an area of research.
  • The project consists of a new interpretation of well-known mathematics.
  • The project shows a deep understanding of an advanced mathematical topic.

The following is a rough timeline of the steps for granting Honors in Mathematics for a typical student. The advisor and the department must approve any deviations from these steps:

  • At the beginning of the first semester, the student and advisor discuss an independent study project. The student writes a short description of the project and any planned results if applicable. The department then approves the independent study.
  • At the beginning of the second semester, the department discusses the projects that appear to be eligible for honors. The department may raise concerns regarding the work of the student in mathematics courses at this time.
  • Early in the second semester, by the end of February, the advisor and the student determine whether the project is "outstanding" and whether the student should apply for departmental honors. The student writes a brief summary of the project. This summary should include any results obtained by this point.
  • By the middle of March, the student and the advisor determine which faculty members to invite to be on the oral defense board. At that time the student should ask the faculty members personally. When the student asks the faculty members, he/she should provide a description of his/her project. For further information regarding the defense board, see the comments below.
  • The advisor and student, in consultation with the defense board, should set a date for the oral defense. In the past, the oral defenses have occurred during the last two weeks of class.
  • Approximately four weeks before the date of the defense, the student should distribute a polished draft of the thesis to each member of the board and to the advisor.
  • Approximately two weeks before the defense, the student should provide each board member with a final copy of the thesis. The student should encourage the board members to return comments on the thesis before the defense.
  • The student should post announcements for the oral defense at least one week before the scheduled defense.
  • Near the end of the semester, if the members of the department have any concerns regarding the student attempting honors, then they will discuss the concerns at a department meeting.
  • Prior to the start of the reading days, the department must inform the Registrar of the students who are attempting Honors in Mathematics. 
  • The student defends his/her thesis successfully. See the comments below.

  • After receiving corrections from the committee members, the student supplies a final version of the thesis to the members of the department on the committee for their final approval of the thesis.
  • The department grants/denies final approval of Honors and informs the Registrar by the end of finals week. 
  • The student submits final print and electronic versions of the thesis, along with an Honors Thesis Consent Form to the department chair. The chair forwards them to the College Archives. 

See comments about the honors thesis under Honors Defense.