Honors Distinction in Mathematics

Students with an ASC Honors designation have the opportunity to graduate with a math degree that has Honors with Distinction.  There are several additional requirements for this type of degree on top of the typical honors requirements.  Interested students should schedule an appointment to discuss this opportunity with a math advisor. Students should also read more about the Honors with Distinction [pdf]  program before their meeting.

Honors Contract and Honors with Distinction


Honors work at Ohio State is an enhancement of the basic liberal arts degree structure through challenging courses to ensure gaining the best undergraduate education available. Students who wish to get an honors education in mathematics take a curriculum that includes honors math courses that emphasize mathematical rigor and proof. All students in the Honors Program ought to have, as a goal, the constant enrichment of their areas of academic strength. Information regarding the Arts and Sciences Honors Program can be obtained in Room 3180, Smith Lab.

The Department of Mathematics offers a variety of honors courses. Each honors math course is a proof-based experience, meeting in small classes led by a research mathematician, and are designed to challenge well prepared, highly motivated students. The math honors program will benefit not only math majors, but also those students with serious interests in disciplines that use mathematical methods. Qualified students may take honors math courses even if they are not enrolled in an official honors program. Some of our best mathematics honors students in recent years have worked toward careers in fields like engineering, physical sciences, life sciences, and even social sciences and law.

Degree with Honors or With Distinction


A student may submit an Honors Contract proposal to the ASC Honors Committee to become a candidate for graduation with honors in the Arts and Sciences. The Honors Contract should reflect a total liberal arts program of exceptional strength and breadth as demonstrated by a strong major program and rigorous coursework outside of the major.

A student may also graduate with Honors Distinction in Mathematics, a recognition of those students who have achieved excellence in the study of mathematics. The minimum requirements to receive this designation are the completion of a math major, plus:

Thesis option:

  • All eight honors math courses at the 5000-level, and
  • writing a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty member.

Coursework option:

  • All eight honors math courses at the 5000-level, and
  • Two 6000-level math 2-course sequences.

The 8 honors math courses mentioned above are:

  • 5520H Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • 5522H Complex Analysis
  • 5529H Combinatorics
  • 5530H Probability
  • 5540H Differential Geometry
  • 5576H Number Theory
  • 5590H Abstract Algebra 1
  • 5591H Abstract Algebra 2

Additional Requirements

Several additional steps are required in order to graduate with Honors Distinction in Mathematics:

  • Honors Distinction in Mathematics can be awarded only after approval by the faculty advisor, the Math Honors Committee, and the ASC Honors Committee. To apply, students in their junior year submit appropriate forms to the Math Honors Committee. (Forms are available in the Math Advising Office.) Once approved, those forms are forwarded to the ASC Honors Office for approval. One semester prior to graduation the student should check with the Math Advising Office to see whether any changes are necessary.
  • Point-hour requirements
    1. The student must have at least a 3.4 CPHR overall.
    2. The student must have at least a 3.4 CPHR in all math courses.
      (Students may not exceed the maximum number of credit hours allowed in one discipline under their respective curriculum except by petition.) 
    3. The coursework option requires B+ or better in each course within the option.
  • Credit hour requirements for the thesis option.
    1. The student must complete a full math major in addition to any credit hours received for the research and thesis project.  
    2. The student pursuing the thesis option must sign up for one to three semester hours of Math 4998H or 4999H (a maximum of six hours, or two completions of independent research or coursework, are applicable to the with distinction project). 
  • For the thesis option, the student may not begin honors research coursework until the semester in which she or he attains senior 
    (rank 4) standing, unless the faculty project adviser provides a document explaining that the student has sufficient background to begin research prior to the senior year. Before the student registers for Math 4998H-4999H, the application form for graduation with distinction must be completed and approved by the Honors Office. 
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