advertisement

Department of Mathematics – Marist College Honors in Mathematics (Approved 27 October 2010) M ISSION The Marist College Mathematics Department grants a student Honors in Mathematics in order to indicate that the recipient has performed exceptionally as a mathematics major, and has shown strong promise in a field of mathematics. Because the work of the advanced scholar in mathematics involves not only the learning and creation of mathematics but also the active sharing of those ideas with the larger mathematical community, such a student will have demonstrated the the ability to work independently on a project of significant depth and duration. The learning and research conducted by the student will have been at a more advanced level than is typical for a mathematics major, and the student will have disseminated the results publicly in both oral and written formats. P LANNING If you are considering trying to graduate with Honors in Mathematics, we encourage you to start planning early. The project topic you choose is one you will work on at length, so it should arouse your curiosity. You could build upon courses you have taken that interest you strongly, or you could conduct research on a mathematics topic you have heard about that piques your interest. Since many topics arise from an in-depth study of one field, it is often a good idea to try to complete a two semester sequence in an area of interest (for example, Complex and Mathematical Analysis, the Statistics sequence, the Algebra sequence, or Applied Mathematics and Numerical Analysis). You should plan to complete most of the required coursework for your major by the end of your junior year. This will make it easier to choose a project topic, acquaint you with the research interests of the mathematics faculty, and give you sufficient time to work on your project during your senior year. 1 While the instructor of a course that interested you is a good place to start looking for an advisor, there are many members of the department who have research ideas and might be willing to guide you in your research. Keep in mind that guiding student research is a big commitment for faculty members. It is rare that a professor can take on more than one Honors student at at time, and in any given year there will be some faculty members whose professional commitments prevent their being able to take on any Honors students at all. Ask around among the faculty members you know. They may have suggestions for potential topics and advisors even if they are unable to direct you themselves. It is best to find an advisor and a project topic idea in your junior year, though there certainly are successful students who started over the summer or even at the start of their senior year. You and your advisor should determine the scope and direction of the research project as early as possible—early in the fall of your senior year, ideally. Some of the best projects are ones that were organized in the junior year, allowing for background reading over the summer before the senior year. Attending mathematics seminars and regional mathematics conferences is a great way to start thinking about research topics, and you can start as early as freshman year. Do not worry about being able to understand everything—the important thing is to be exposed to as much mathematics as possible. The Mathematics Department hosts a seminar that meets several times each semester, and there are local and regional mathematics conferences designed specifically for undergraduate students. Talk to members of the mathematics faculty to get more information on mathematics seminars and conferences. T HE H ONORS P ROJECT Honors students must take a minimum of three independent study credits during their senior year; most take six credits, three each in the fall and spring of their senior year. You will be expected to meet regularly (typically at least weekly) with your advisor. Once you and your advisor have agreed upon a project, you will write a brief summary of it that your advisor will present to the Mathematics Department for approval. Occasionally students have undertaken a simple independent study in the fall, and their interest grows in the subject to the point that they would like to turn it into an Honors project. This is possible up to a point (with the approval and support of your advisor), but the Honors project must be presented to the department for approval no later than the second week of the spring semester of your senior year. Be aware that the later in the senior year a project is presented to the department, the less likely it is that the department will look favorably upon it. 2 P RESENTATION OF R ESULTS At the end of your senior year, you will be expected to present your results in one or more public forums. Typically a short talk at an undergraduate research conference and/or a presentation to the Marist Mathematics Seminar is expected. Participation in poster sessions is also encouraged. You will need to write up your results as a paper—your Honors thesis. This thesis should be copied and distributed to all members of the Mathematics Department by the last day of final exams in the spring semester. The department will then determine whether or not to award you with Honors in Mathematics. S UMMARY OF R EQUIREMENTS AND S UGGESTIONS In order to graduate with Honors in Mathematics, a student will be required to complete the following steps: • Have your advisor present your project proposal to the Mathematics Department for formal approval no later than the end of the second week of classes in the spring semester of your senior year. • Conduct your research project as part of a 3- to 6-credit independent study during your senior year. • Present the results of your project in at least one approved public forum. Public presentations may include: – a talk or poster presentation at an undergraduate mathematics conference – a talk or poster presentation at CURSCA – a talk at the Marist College Mathematics Seminar. The Mathematics Department may approve other forms and/or venues for public presentation of Honors projects. • Present the results of your project in written form (i.e., an Honors thesis) by the last day of final exams in the spring semester of your senior year. The following suggestions are intended to help increase your chances of success: • Involve yourself in mathematics outside of class—go to local and regional mathematics conferences and seminars. • Start planning early—begin looking for a project advisor and topic during your junior year. 3 • Try to complete most of the coursework for your major by the end of your junior year. • Try to complete one or more of the following two-course sequences by the end of your junior year: – MATH 410, 411 – Abstract Algebra I, II – MATH 330, 331 – Probability and Statistics, Applied Statistics – MATH 420, 424 – Mathematical Analysis, Complex Analysis – MATH 422, 440 – Applied Mathematics, Numerical Analysis 4