Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Departmental Honors Program

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About the Departmental Honors Program

The Departmental Honors Program in Mathematics and Statistics provides a formal outlet for intellectual curiosity if you are an unusually talented mathematics student. You can pursue a special course of study that will challenge you and allow you more independence in your intellectual pursuits.

The undergraduate committee is responsible for oversight and administration of the Honors Program in Mathematics and Statistics. The committee may choose to delegate any portion of that responsibility to one or more individuals, either faculty or staff. One person must be designated to receive and handle Honors Program applications; that person is referred to as the Honors advisor. By default, the chair of the undergraduate committee will serve as Honors advisor.


Daniel C. Slilaty, Ph.D.
232 Mathematical and Microbiological Sciences Building


To qualify for entry to the Honors Program, you must

  • Have at least junior standing
  • Have completed at least seven MTH or STT classes numbered 2800 and above, and have a GPA of at least 3.5 in those classes
  • Have a willing faculty sponsor.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may petition the undergraduate committee for entry to the Honors Program. This petition must demonstrate that you have sufficient talent and dedication to complete an Honors project.

Project Options

The Honors project may consist of either of the following:

  • An independent study project resulting in a written project report
  • Completion of at least two graduate-level courses with a grade of A or B.

Details for each option are given below.


You must meet the eligibility requirements at the time of application. You must write a letter of application to the Honors advisor (who shall convey it to the undergraduate committee) stating a desire to undertake a departmental Honors project, and proposing in detail how the project will be carried out. In particular, you must verify eligibility, list all classes to be taken in the project, and the academic terms in which they will be taken, and give the name of a willing faculty sponsor.

In the case of an independent study project, the sponsor must be the person responsible for the independent study course and grade. In the case of graduate coursework, it is suggested that the sponsor be a person teaching a graduate course that you will take, but this is not required. When an application is approved, the advisor will notify the University Honors Program.

Independent Study

In option (a), the student must take at least six credits of MTH 4880, MTH 4910, MTH 4920, STT 4860, and/or STT 4920. The coursework must take place over at least two semesters. This coursework should result in a superior, high-quality project report of significant length. An independent study project must, in the judgment of the faculty sponsor, involve significant independent investigation as opposed to passive learning. As a guideline, any project which qualifies as “undergraduate research” or would make a suitable master's thesis would certainly qualify. But a project that was simply a reading course would not generally qualify to be an Honors project.

If MTH 4910, MTH 4920, or STT 4920 is included in the coursework counted toward the Honors project, the student must meet all the requirements of that course, while continuing work on their project. Alternatively, the student may choose to complete this graduate requirement separate from the Honors project.

Graduate Coursework

In option (b) the student will take at least two graduate-level courses at the 7000-level. To pursue this option, the student must have completed the prerequisite undergraduate sequence (as determined by the advisor) with an average grade of at least a B. (For example, to take MTH 7310, the student should have taken MTH 4310, MTH 4320, and MTH 4330 with at least a B average).

The advisor will assist the student in obtaining the necessary permission to register for these courses. The student may attempt to receive graduate credit for the courses taken but the granting of graduate credit is not required for the Honors project.

Revision and Early Termination

The student may propose revisions to the Honors project. The advisor, with the advice of the faculty sponsor, will consider such revisions and approve them or not.

Ordinarily, an Honors project once begun will continue until its scheduled completion. However, any of the following will result in early termination of the project:

  • A grade of C or below in a course that is part of the project
  • Failure to take a course as scheduled in the proposed project without advance revision
  • A request by the student or the faculty sponsor that the project is terminated


At the completion of the proposed program of study, the Honors advisor, with the advice of the faculty sponsor, will determine if the student has satisfactorily completed his departmental Honors project, and if so, will notify the University Honors Program.