Math CenterCurrent StudentsHow can I earn Honors from the Honors College?

3.8. How can I earn Honors from the Honors College?

Honors for Math Majors

Below is information about course work and honors theses for Honors students majoring in Mathematics.

Honors Course Work

To graduate with honors from the Honors College, 30 units of honors course work are usually required. Some students who enter with more than 30 units of transfer work may take fewer honors units; consult your Honors Student Success Counselor for more information.

Honors Math Sections Offered

The Math Department offers a few honors courses/sections that count toward a mathematics major: courses in the Calculus sequence may have special honors sections available. These honors math courses are available to highly motivated students with strong mathematical backgrounds. Acceptance to the UA Honors College is not a requirement. Registration for each honors section is blocked until the Mathematics Department can verify student eligibility. Eligibility rules depend on:

  • Current UA Students - by nomination: Each semester, instructors of certain math courses are asked by the Mathematics Department to nominate unusually outstanding students for invitation to the honors section of certain math courses. Your instructor and/or the Mathematics Department will inform you if you are nominated, and will provide you with instructions to complete your registration.
  • Fall Incoming Freshmen - by placement: Since there is no opportunity for instructors to nominate students into their very first UA MATH course, other criteria can be used to determine honors eligibility for certain courses (usually a very high placement test score plus college credit for the prerequisite course, usually from an AP exam). Generally speaking, students are informed of their eligibility during New Student Orientation; plan to speak with a math placement advisor during the lunch time sessions at your orientation program. Eligibility is for Fall first semester Freshmen only.

Honors Contracts

Students in the Honors College may contract with the instructor of a course not otherwise available for honors, in order to earn honors credit in the course. See the Honors College website for policies and procedures.

500 Level (Graduate) Courses

Juniors and Seniors in the Honors College may enroll in 500-level courses for undergraduate honors credit. (Seniors who are not in the Honors College may also enroll in 500-level courses, if approved by the instructor, head of the department offering the course, and Dean of the Graduate College.) Students who are interested in this option should first speak to their math faculty advisor. Instructions for enrollment are on the Graduation Services website.

Recent math majors have enrolled in the following graduate courses, just to give you an idea of what is available:

  • 511A/B (Algebra),
  • 520A/B (Complex Analysis),
  • 523A/B (Real Analysis),
  • 525A/B (Real Analysis of One/Several Variables),
  • 528A/B (Bahach & Hilbert Spaces),
  • 534A/B (Topology-Geometry),
  • 537A/B (Global Differential Geometry),
  • 563 (Probability Math),
  • 588 (Topics in Mathematical Physics)

Honors Thesis


To graduate with honors from the Honors College in your major area, students need to submit a prospectus outlining their proposed thesis work, and then complete and submit a thesis through the major department. Additionally, students must meet minimum GPA and honors unit requirements - see your Honors Student Success Counselor for details, and be sure to check in regularly to ensure that you are on track to graduate with honors.

Enrolling in MATH 498H

For math majors, MATH 498H is available in Fall, Spring, and even in Summer, though faculty availability in Summer is often limited. Students must enroll in 3 units of MATH 498H for two distinct semesters (6 units total) to qualify for honors. To enroll in MATH 498H, submit the independent study proposal form from the Math Academic Office; once you have completed the form and permissions have been obtained from your thesis supervisor and faculty advisor, the Academic Office staff will process the form and enroll you in the course.

Finding a Thesis Advisor and Topic

There are a number of ways to get connected with a thesis advisor and find a research topic:

Get to know your professors.

Office hours are not just for homework help, they are also a great time to get to know your professors, and find out what research projects (if any) they have going. Also remember that you will need letters of recommendation at some point, and professors who know you well both in and outside of the classroom will write the strongest letters for you!

Enroll in MATH 396C.

MATH 396C is the Undergraduate Research Seminar, usually offered in Spring semester. The course meets once per week (1 unit), and is meant to be taken after either MATH 313 or 223. Several different faculty members will present 2-4 lectures each on research topics/projects in which undergraduates can become involved. (This course may not be used to fulfill degree requirements for the math major or minor.)

Check out the project ideas posted on our web page.

Some of our faculty have submitted information about projects that undergraduates could work on under their supervision. These project ideas are posted on our website. Students may contact the faculty members directly for more information. Please note that there are many more faculty that are happy to work with undergraduate researchers; the list is by no means exhaustive. Students may also wish to consult the list of faculty by research area.

Contact the URA program coordinator.

The coordinator of the Mathematics Department's Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program, can be very helpful in connecting students with research in mathematics:

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