Stanford University

Honors in the Major

The honors program is intended for students who have strong theoretical interests and abilities in mathematics. The goal of the program is to give students a thorough introduction to the main branches of mathematics, especially analysis, algebra, and geometry. Through the honors thesis, students may be introduced to a current research topic, although occasionally more classical projects are encouraged. The program provides an excellent background with which to enter a Master’s or Ph.D. program in Mathematics. Students completing the program are awarded a B.S. in Mathematics with Honors.

It is strongly recommended that either the Math 60CM sequence or the Math 60DM sequence be taken during the student’s freshman year. This is a recommendation, not a requirement.

See the sections for the Math honors requirements.

Honors Requirements Honors Checklist

The basic 64-unit program is required of all Math majors. These 64 units must include:

Required Courses Units
Math 116, Math 143, Math 144, or Math 147 3
Math 120 3
Math 171 3
Math 197 6 (taken over 2-3 quarters)

7 additional courses that are Math 121 or higher. These courses must include at least one course from each of the three areas below.

One required Algebra course from:

Math 121

Math 122

Math 145

Math 152

Math 154


One required Analysis course from:

Math 136

Math 151

Math 155

Math 172

Math 173

Math 175


One required Geometry/Topology course from:

Math 143

Math 144

Math 147

Math 148

*Math 146 is no longer offered.


One graduate level class (recommended, not required):

Math 205A

Math 210A

Math 215A

Math 215B

  1. To be eligible to apply for and graduate with honors, students must have an average GPA of at least a 3.0 across all Math classes counting towards the major.
  2. Students should wait to apply for and declare honors until winter quarter of their junior year, but no later than the last day of classes in spring quarter of junior year.

  3. Before you declare honors in Axess, set up meeting with the Math faculty member you’re interested in working with. If you do not know whom you’d like to work with, talk with your major advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for guidance. Print out a transcript to bring to the meeting and share your interests and ideas for your thesis.

  4. As you work on your thesis, you are expected to have check-ins with your thesis advisor throughout each quarter you are enrolled in Math 197, including submitting drafts and getting feedback.  See the Math 197 guidelines for more information.

  5. To enroll in Math 197, first go over your plan with your thesis advisor.  Once the plan is confirmed, forward the Student Services Specialist an email with the thesis advisor’s approval (or if you met in person, an email sharing the plan and copying the advisor on the email) and for how many units. The advisor’s Math 197 section will then be added to Axess for you to enroll.  The department strongly recommends that honors majors take Math 197 for two units per quarter for 3 consecutive quarters.

  6. A draft is due in early/mid-May to the department if you are interested in being considered for the Firestone and departmental honors thesis awards.

  1. Choose a Math faculty Academic Council member as your honors thesis advisor and meet with them for guidance and direction to map out a plan for the thesis.
  2. Student and advisor must complete and sign the Honors Math Major Declaration Form.

  3. Declare Honors in Axess.

  4. Submit the completed and signed form to the department’s Student Services Specialist.

  5. Your declaration will be reviewed soon after submitting the Honors Math Major Declaration Form to the department’s Student Services Specialist.  You will receive an email letting you know when your honors declaration has been approved in Axess or if there are any questions.

Use the Honors Checklist to help plan your courses and track your completion of the honors requirements.