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Program Requirements - Senior Project or Thesis


This web page contains the information on the area minors in mathematics and statistics including the requirements of the current on-line bulletin, frozen at June 1, 2010 and in force September 1, 2010. For past mathematics catalogue information or updates please see the recent versions and updates section of the programs overview page. Updates made during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 years are in a blue font.

PROJECT/THESIS REQUIREMENT IN MATHEMATICS

Catalogue Description of Senior Project/Thesis

Senior Project or Thesis (8 hrs.) A student must complete either a Senior Project, equivalent to the 8 credit hours of MA 491 - 494, or a Senior Thesis, equivalent to the 8 credit hours of MA 496 - 498. The project and thesis are each important capstone experiences for the mathematics major, representing sustained efforts to solve a complex problem from industry or mathematical research.

Senior Project Option: Students seeking to do a senior project must complete a written project involving effort equivalent to the 8 credit hours of MA491 - 494. Specifically,

  • MA 493 and MA 494 must be taken in separate terms.
  • The requirement of MA 491-492 may be fulfilled through some project experience (such as an internship) and another 300-level or above mathematics course (4 hours), as approved by the project advisor. The course substitution procedure must be used.
  • The project must involve work done by the student(s) to solve a problem presented by an external sponsor. The written project submission must be signed by the student's project advisor (who must be a member of the mathematics department) and two additional members (who are approved by the project advisor), and must be presented publicly to the department. The additional members of the committee may include representatives of the sponsor.

Senior Thesis Option: Students seeking to do a senior thesis must complete a written thesis involving effort equivalent to the 8 credit hours of MA496 - MA 498. Specifically,

  • MA 497 and MA 498 must be taken in separate terms.
  • The requirement of MA 496 may be fulfilled through some undergraduate research experience and an additional 300-level or above mathematics course (4 hours), as approved by the thesis advisor. The course substitution procedure must be used.
  • The thesis must involve creative work done by the student and a significant portion of this work must have been done by the student individually (not as part of a team). The written submission must be signed by the student's thesis advisor (who must be a member of the mathematics department) and two additional faculty members (who are approved by the thesis advisor), and must be presented publicly to the department .

Courses for the Senior Project and Thesis Requirement

MA 491 Introduction to Mathematical Modeling 2C (F) Pre: Senior Standing or permission of the instructor
An introduction to the process of mathematically modeling a problem, including data collection, defining the appropriate mathematical model and interpreting the results of the proposed model. Emphasis placed on the modeling process, using examples from both continuous and discrete mathematics.

MA 492 Senior Project I 2C F Pre: Senior Standing or permission of the instructor
MA 493 Senior Project II 2C F, W Pre: MA 492 or permission of the instructor
MA 494 Senior Project III 2C W,S Pre: MA 493
Participation in sponsored projects or problems with a substantial mathematical and/or computational content. Students typically work in teams of at most 3, with appropriate faculty supervision. Problems vary considerably, depending upon student interest, but normally require computer implementation and documentation. All work required for completion of Senior Project must be completed in a form acceptable to the sponsor and the advisor.

MA 496 Senior Thesis I 4C F Pre: Senior Standing or permission of the instructor
MA 497 Senior Thesis II 2C F,W Pre: MA 496 or permission of instructor
MA 498 Senior Thesis III 2C W,S Pre: MA 497
Individual study and research of a topic in mathematics. Topic is expected to be at an advanced level. Research paper and public presentation to the department are required.

Procedure and Notes for Students completing a Senior Project:

  1. For MA or MA/XX students, the student's academic advisor will discuss the project option with the student during the sophomore year. In the case of XX/MA students, the XX/MA advisor will discuss the project option prior to the student submitting a double major or two degrees proposal. The double major proposal should note that the student intends to pursue the project option from the Mathematics program. Any course substitutions used for senior project must be noted in the proposal and the appropriate course substitution procedure used.
  2. The student should select a project advisor who agrees to work with the student. The project advisor and the student will jointly find two other faculty members or representatives from the sponsor of the project who agree to form the project committee.
  3. Each project is worked upon by a team of students, with at most 3 students per team. A single student may work on a project, mimicking the role of a consultant.
  4. The project advisor, the general topic and source of the problem must be determined by the end of the junior year. The academic advisor will assist the student in getting this completed.
  5. No later than the fall term, the student and advisor will agree upon a sponsor-provided project, which will include the scope of the project, specific work products required and their specifications, and delivery dates for the oral presentation and formal write-up. The project committee should agree to the project.
  6. The student shall take both MA 491 and MA 492 in the Fall term of their senior year, unless otherwise approved by the project advisor. The requirement of MA 491- MA 492 may be fulfilled by some project experience (such as an internship) and an additional 300-level or above Mathematics course. The course substitution procedure must be used.
  7. In different terms, the student must take MA 493 and MA 494, each of which are 2-credit courses. The project advisor will be the instructor of record for such a course.
  8. An initial draft of the project paper is expected to be completed by the end of MA493.
  9. The public presentation to the mathematics department will typically be a poster session . The project adviser may require an additional oral presentation to the committee or sponsor.
  10. The formal written report must be submitted to the department in pdf format for archival and assessment purposes.
  11. Upon satisfactory completion of the written report and presentation of the project the committee will sign an appropriate form indicating that the student has satisfactorily completed the project.
  12. The student and project adviser will decide if the report shall be submitted to the publicly viewable MSTR technical report series.

Timelines: Items 1,2 and 4 must be completed during the junior year, Items 5 - 11 must be completed in the senior year.

Procedure and Notes for Students completing a Senior Thesis:

  1. For MA or MA/XX students, the student's academic advisor will discuss the thesis option with the student during the sophomore year. In the case of XX/MA students, the XX/MA advisor will discuss the thesis option prior to the student submitting a double major or two degrees proposal. The double major proposal should note if the student intends to pursue the thesis option from the Mathematics program. Any course substitutions used for senior project must be noted in the proposal.
  2. The student should select a thesis advisor who agrees to work with the student. The thesis advisor and the student will jointly find two other faculty members who agree to form the thesis committee.
  3. The thesis advisor, and the general topic must be determined by the end of the junior year. The academic advisor will assist the student in getting this completed.
  4. No later than the fall term, the student and thesis adviser will agree upon a written thesis proposal, which will include the scope of the thesis, specific work products required and their specifications, any courses or programs required for completion of the thesis, e.g., a summer research internship, and delivery dates for the oral presentation and formal write-up. Any summer activities must be approved by he end of the junior year. The thesis committee should agree to the proposal.
  5. MA 496 should be taken during the Fall term of the senior year, unless approved by the thesis advisor. The requirement of MA 496 may be fulfilled by some undergraduate research experience and an additional 300-level or above Mathematics course. The course substitution procedure must be used.
  6. In different terms, the student must take MA 497 and MA 498, each of which are two 2-credit courses. The thesis advisor will be the instructor of record for such a course.
  7. An initial draft of the thesis is expected to be completed by the end of MA 497
  8. The completed thesis should be submitted by the beginning of ninth week of MA498.
  9. The formal written thesis must be submitted to the department in pdf format for archival and assessment purposes.
  10. The public presentation to the mathematics department will typically be a poster session. The thesis adviser may require an additional oral presentation to the committee.
  11. Upon satisfactory completion of the written thesis and oral presentation of the thesis the committee will sign an appropriate form indicating that the student has satisfactorily completed the thesis.
  12. The student and adviser will decide if the report shall be submitted to the publicly viewable MSTR technical report series.

Timelines: Items 1,2,3 should be completed during the junior year, Items 4-10 should be completed in the senior year.


This document was last modified: 07/25/2010
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