Students majoring in Mathematics or in Statistics and Data Science may pursue topics outside the department's standard curriculum by completing an individual study or honors thesis. Such work may build on courses a student has already taken, may relate to research in a faculty member's area of specialization, or may connect to a project associated with the College’s Connections Program.
There are several principal formats for doing independent work in mathematics or statistics:
Individual Study: Under normal circumstances, students may not enroll in individual study courses with content that is the same or similar to the content of regularly offered courses by the department. In exceptional circumstances, requests for independent studies in such areas will require departmental approval. Students should send requests explaining their reasoning to the department chair.
Mathematics Seminar: MAT 495. All students completing the mathematics major must enroll in the mathematics seminar. In addition to hearing talks from a variety of speakers, each student in the seminar will give a talk on a topic that is not covered within a standard undergraduate course. This course serves as the capstone for the Mathematics major.
Application and Communication in Statistics and Data Science: STA 496. All students majoring in Statistics and Data Science must complete two semesters of research. Students will first take a course at the 300 level or higher, in statistics or another discipline, after which they will take STA 496. In the first of these two courses, students will initiate their research project; the topic for their research may come from a variety of areas, including but not limited to the following:
- The animating question for an Integrative Pathway;
- A project for one of the Center Certificate Programs;
- A project done in the Statistical Consulting course (STA 334);
- An area of interest to the student or a faculty member’s research speciality.
In STA 496, which serves as the capstone for the major, students will complete the statistical modeling required for their research projects. Upon completion of their research, students will present their work to the department.
Service-Learning Practicum: MAT 120, 220, 320. A two-credit course taken concurrently with another mathematics course at the same level. Students enrolled in the practicum serve as volunteers at a local school, at which they teach some aspect of the material from the mathematics course in which they are concurrently enrolled.
Honors Study: MAT or STA 497-498. A year-long course for seniors intending to write an honors thesis on a special topic or on original research. Students wishing to pursue honors study must have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses for the major and must submit an application to the department by the end of the junior year.