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Major in Mathematics with Honors

Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University

Director of Math Honors Program: Matthew Papanikolas (Blocker 641H, papanikolas@tamu.edu)

What is an Honors Mathematics Program?

The Mathematics Department offers a variety of honors courses. Mathematics majors who fulfill specific requirements, basically to take seven honors mathematics courses, can graduate with Honors in Mathematics. (An Honors Minor in Mathematics is also available.) Other honors programs, with overlapping but different requirements, are Honors in Science and University Honors Fellows. All of the hours for Math honors will count toward College of Science Honors and those taken at A&M toward University Honors Fellow.

What is an honors course?

"Honors courses are intended to be more complex, not necessarily more difficult," and "are expected to provide increased intellectual challenge through more sophisticated material, a higher level of intellectual engagement, and more responsibility for the learning process than would typically be expected in an undergraduate course," according to the university. The philosophy of the Department of Mathematics is that honors students should be more intellectually curious, more motivated, and more independent than the average undergraduate.

Perks of being an Honors Mathematics Major

  • Smaller classes with an enriched learning experience.
  • Honors priority registration, which is the first two days of the pre-registration period.
  • An increased probability of being taken to mathematics conferences with all expenses except for food paid for by the department.
  • An increased probability to be hired for the higher paying jobs such as undergraduate TA.
  • A few honors mathematics students are invited to be Honors Mentors, students who run help sessions for honors classes they have had and earned an A in.
  • A greatly increased probability of being accepted into FastTrack, our five-year combined bachelors/masters program in mathematics.
  • Looks great on a resume.

Becoming an Honors Mathematics Major

  • Qualified entering freshmen are invited into the math honors program at their new student conferences.
  • Any mathematics major with at least a 3.5 GPA may ask the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics to be added to the honors program in mathematics as long as the student can still take the required seven honors mathematics classes before graduation.

NOTE: Any student with at least a 3.5 GPA may take an honors class if there are seats available, but doing so does not, by itself, earn the student the Honors distinctions nor gain any of the perks listed below. Any honors classes taken before entering an Honors Program (e.g., Honors in Mathematics, College of Science Honors) can be used to fulfill the program requirements.

Remaining in the Honors Mathematics Program

  1. Maintain at least a 3.5 GPA.
  2. Take at least one honors math class each academic year.

Students with under a 3.5 but high enough GPA to be over a 3.5 at the end of the next semester will be put on probation for one semester and removed from the program if they are under a 3.5 a second consecutive semester. To be reinstated into the Honors Mathematics Program, the student must meet all the requirements to become a mathematics honors student and be registered for an honors mathematics class in the semester in which reinstatement is requested from the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics.

Exceptions to Rule 2 must be approved by the Director of the Honors Programs in Mathematics. A year-long study abroad program in which there is no opportunity to take an honors mathematics class is an example of an acceptable reason.

Requirements to earn the transcript distinction of Honors in Mathematics

In order to receive Honors in Mathematics, a mathematics major must complete all of the requirements for a BA or BS in Math or a BS in APMS of which 21 hours must be completed as follows:

  1. at least 3 hours in an honors mathematics course 100 level or above (honors Calculus I does not count toward the Honors in Mathematics distinction but does count toward the at least one honors math class each academic year),
  2. additionally at least 3 hours in an honors mathematics course 200 level or above,
  3. additionally at least 3 hours in an honors mathematics course 300 level or above,
  4. additionally at least 9 hours in honors mathematics courses 400 level or above,
  5. additionally at least 3 hours from one of the following:
    1. a graduate mathematics class other than 601, 695, 696
    2. Math 482H - Research Seminar in Mathematics
    3. Math 485H - Only when used for credit for an internship
    4. Math 491H - supervised research, supervised projects for business/industry or education, or honors credit for an REU.

NOTES:

For students starting at Texas A&M in Fall 2017 and later:

  • With very few exceptions, all math honors courses must be taken at Texas A&M. (An example of an exception would be earning an A at Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. For more information speak to the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics.)
  • APMS students with emphases in Computational Science or in Statistics may use honors level 4xx courses from CSCE or STAT that are on their degree plans or some 6xx courses in their emphasis area to count toward math honors. Approval from the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics is required.
  • A maximum of 6 hours total of 485H and 491H are normally allowed. Only under very unusual circumstances will the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics allow 9.
  • To earn credit for an internship (485H) or for an REU (491H), the student must see the Director of Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (or, for an actuarial internship, the Actuarial Advisor) after spring break but before finals of the spring term to set up the course and to fill out paperwork.

For students starting at Texas A&M before Fall 2017:

  • A maximum of 4 hours of AP credit may be used for honors Calculus II by earning a 5 on the Calculus BC exam and taking the credit for Calculus II through Howdy for Math 172/Math 152 as long as Calculus II is not retaken. Note that Howdy gives the 172 option sometimes and the 152 option other times. Simply take what is offered and don't worry. Calculus I honors does not count toward earning honors in mathematics whether by AP credit or taking it here as an honors class.
  • With very few exceptions, all math honors courses must be taken at Texas A&M. (Examples of exceptions would be earning an A at Budapest Semesters in Mathematics or from AP honors credit as discussed right above. For more information speak to the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics.)
  • APMS students with emphases in Computational Science or in Statistics may use honors level 4xx courses from CSCE or STAT that are on their degree plans or some 6xx courses in their emphasis area to count toward math honors. Approval from the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics is required.
  • A maximum of 6 hours total of 485H and 491H are normally allowed. Only under very unusual circumstances will the Director of Honors Programs in Mathematics allow 9.
  • To earn credit for an internship (485H) or for an REU (491H), the student must see the Director of Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (or, for an actuarial internship, the Actuarial Advisor) after spring break but before finals of the spring term to set up the course and to fill out paperwork.

Eligible Mathematics Courses when offered; no guarantee that they will be:

  • 172H (171H does not count toward the honors major distinction!)
  • 220H, 221H
  • 308H, 323H, 325H
  • all 400-level honors math courses except 401, 403, 433, 490; as above 485H and 491H credit for an REU.
  • all 600-level courses except 601, 695, 696.
  • When no honors section of an eligible course is available, individual students have the option to negotiate an honors contract with the instructor. The steps for an honors contract are:
    1. Ask the professor if an honors contract would be possible.
    2. Ask the professor what such a contract would entail.
    3. If both of you agree, you need to fill out the Honors Course Contract & Honors Independent Study Applications. You will need to log in under your TAMU userid to bring up the form. It is recommended that you and your professor fill out the form online together.
    4. Submit the form online. This must be done before the 12th class day of the semester in which the contract is in effect.
    5. Fulfill the agreed upon contract.
  • Three sample programs to fulfill the honors requirements are:
    • 172H, 220H, 323H, 409H, 425H, 484H, 470H
    • 220H, 308H, 323H, 409H, 424H, 467H, 629
    • 409H, 415H, 416H, 446H, 447H, 482H, 491H

Grade requirements at the time of graduation:

  1. a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5;
  2. a grade point average of at least 3.25 and no grade lower than a B in the 21 required honors hours;
  3. no grade of F* on the transcript.

Updated August 8, 2017.