Expanding the Mathematics Honors Program: Broadening Curriculum and Student Participation

For more than two decades, the Department of Mathematics has run a first-rate honors program called the “Honors Track” for math majors who want a broad, deep education in core mathematics. For this original “Honors Track,” students were required to take more than a dozen five-credit hour honors courses at the 4,000 and 5,000 level and above.

During the past two years, the department has put together an expanded honors program that will be based on the principles of the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. Indeed, majors in the expanded program will enroll in the College Program and will take a minimum of five math honors courses. The more advanced courses in the new part of this program will be aimed at the student’s major track (applied math, math biology, math finance, math education, traditional).

Students who successfully complete the original math honors track will receive the designation, “with distinction in Mathematics” on their undergraduate diploma. Students who complete the new expanded honors program, which will start in autumn 2019, will need to complete the College Honors general education requirements in addition to the math requirements. On successful completion of this program, students will receive the designation, “with honors in Arts and Sciences,” on their diploma. The few students who are able to complete both the math Honors Track and the college honors requirement will receive the designation, “with honors distinction in Mathematics,” on their diploma.

Careful attention and significant effort were needed to assemble these honors programs in ways that preserve the high quality associated with the original honors track program while expanding the Honors Program to welcome students who wish to pursue a high-level program incorporating honors-level courses across disciplines. The department is looking forward to using these programs to serve an enlarged honors pool among its math majors.

Article contributed by Distinguished Professor Martin Golubitsky

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