Distinction in the POE in MATHEMATICS

       This document concerns only Distinction in Mathematics.  Distinction in Mathematics/Secondary Education is addressed in a separate document.

A. Eligibility

  1. Students will be invited to undertake a senior project.

  2. Invitations will be extended to exceptionally strong students by the mid-term date of the Spring semester of the junior year. Normally, invited students will already have completed MA 130, 160, 210, 230, 235, and at least one elective at the 300 level.

  3. Normally, invited students will be expected to have maintained a grade-point average of 3.5 within the POE, and 3.0 overall.

  4. Invitations may also be issued to students with unusual interdisciplinary POEs when this POE has a substantial departmental component (e.g., math and physics, mathematical biology, etc.)  This will be at the discretion of the Department.

  5. The invitation to attempt to earn Distinction in the POE is just that. The student is not guaranteed Distinction merely by virtue of receiving such an invitation.

B. Organization

  1. Mathematics Seminar (MA 480)
    In the fall semester of the senior year (and perhaps junior year), the candidate will enroll in the 1-credit Mathematics Seminar. This seminar will be open to all interested students, and it will consist mainly of student-led discussions of journal articles.
  2. Research Advisor
    The candidate will select a member of the mathematics faculty as a research advisor.  This faculty member will be responsible for guiding the student through the senior thesis described below.
  3. Mathematics Research (MA 485)
    MA 485 Mathematics Research may be taken in either the Fall or Spring of the senior year.  In the semester preceding MA 485, the student should meet with the research advisor and decide on a general area of research.  The advisor may ask the student to read preliminary materials over the break preceding the research semester. 

    The student and advisor will meet weekly during the research semester.  Ideally, the project will include original research by the student, but in some circumstances an expository project may be more appropriate.  By the end of the twelfth week of the semester, the student will prepare a substantial draft of the final report to be read by the advisor and a second member of the Department.  The final draft is due on the last Friday of classes.


C. Evaluation

  1. Two faculty members in the department will review the candidate's thesis.
  2. The candidate will present the results of the thesis in a public lecture in the departmental seminar.
  3. The department will meet at the end of the Spring semester to review the candidates' performances and decide upon recommendations for Distinction.  Evaluation will be based on several criteria, including continued good work in mathematics courses, professional conduct, and the final project and presentation.  Substantial weight will be placed on the process and results of the final project.