Mathematical Sciences Senior Honors Thesis - Forms and Timelines

  • If you plan to graduate with honors in Mathematical Sciences, you must: (1) complete at least 9 hours of honors coursework in the Mathematical Sciences [three of these hours must be for your Senior Honors Thesis] and (2) have a GPA of 3.45 or greater in your Mathematical Sciences coursework.
  • If you plan to graduate with honors in Mathematical Sciences AND with university honors, additional requirements apply. Please consult the Honors College Website for information concerning university honors.


  • Registering for MAT 4510:  Contact Dr. Cook. He will help you locate the appropriate thesis application form and register for MAT 4510.
  • At least one month before the end of formal class meetings,  contact Dr. Mawhinney  about scheduling  your final defense (presentation).
  • During (or before) the last month of formal class meetings in the semester in which you are receiving credit for MAT 4510: Give a strong rough draft to your thesis director, second reader (if appropriate), and Dr. Cook.  

  • At least one week before the last day of formal class meetings in the semester in which you are receiving credit for MAT 4510: Give a public  defense/presentation of your thesis. Your thesis advisor and Dr. Cook will help you schedule your presentation. 

  • Before the last day of formal class meetings in the semester in which you are receiving credit for MAT 4510: Submit the final version of your thesis, your index form, your thesis release form, and your thesis binding payment form (if purchasing extra bound copies of your thesis). In particular...
  • Additional requirements may apply to students completing BOTH university and departmental honors.  Such students should follow the University Honors guidelines.

 Important Note: Don't forget that your final, approved thesis must be submitted before  the last day of formal class meetings during the semester in which you are receiving  credit for MAT 4510. Also, you must give a public presentation of your thesis before your committee can approve your final written product.


Thesis Guidelines

  • Cover page: Check out the sample thesis title page section below and choose the appropriate template. 
  • Content: A senior honors thesis in the mathematical sciences should have significant mathematical content.  Although many theses will not contain proofs of new theorems, a thesis should contain a proof that is in some way original, or a detailed exposition of an application of known results.

  • Writing Style: The thesis should be well written. In particular, mathematical definitions and statements should be clear. Notations must be consistent throughout the paper. Spelling and grammar must be perfect. Students should typeset their work in a professional manner consistent with their discipline. For students other than mathematics education and actuarial science students this implies using the typesetting program LaTeX. Mathematics does not have a single reference style that is consistent across all journals. Thus, you have some flexibility in choosing a reference style. Most importantly, once you choose a reference style, you should be consistent in your application of that style. You can find advice concerning formatting references for mathematical writing here.

  • Formatting Guidelines: Your thesis should be formatted according to the honors college guidelines, which can be found at the following link: Prepare Your Thesis: Components and Formatting Requirements.

Sample Thesis Templates

  • Dr. Cook's webpage contains several completed theses that can serve as examples of what a thesis should look like. There are links to LaTeX source code next to these theses.

  • Sample Title Page for University Honors Thesis MS Word (.docx) (revised July 2017)

  • Sample LaTeX Thesis Title Page for BOTH deptmental and University honors (.tex) and ONLY departmental honors (.tex)

  • Sample LaTeX Thesis Template for BOTH deptmental and University honors (.tex) and ONLY departmental honors (.tex)

    Note: These templates have an example of including a figure (= picture). So, you will need a copy of ASU.png in the same directory/folder as your .tex source file(s) if you want the template to compile.

    These thesis templates contain a title page along with a copyright page, an abstract, an acknowledgements page, a table of contents, some examples of tables and figures, and a reference section using AMSrefs. Don't forget that for the table of contents to render you may need to compile your LaTeX file twice.

Presenting the Thesis

 All honors students must give a public presentation of their thesis. Students completing ONLY departmental honors  can choose to present as part of our departmental research day, as part of our departmental colloquium series, or as a separately scheduled presentation. While we encourage students completing university honors (in the Spring) to participate in our departmental research day, they must also present their research as a separately scheduled presentation - the thesis defense. The defense is not as scary as it sounds; it is just a 20 to 30 minute presentation followed by time for questions. University honors students should schedule this defense in consultation with the thesis director, second reader, and Dr. Cook (all of whom should be present at the defense). You should complete the public presentation of your thesis at least one week before the last day of formal class meetings in the semester for which you will receive credit for MAT 4510.

Printing and Binding the Thesis

  • Our department would like to purchase a bound copy of your thesis for you as a gift. While any type of paper is now acceptable for binding, ASU watermarked paper is preferred and our department will supply this paper for you. You should contact Dr. Cook about printing physical copies of your thesis.