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 do an open-ended research project or something more expository (at an advanced level). 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.

Before declaring, we expect that students will have completed four 100-level Math class out of the ten required with at least a B. This expectation is intended to ensure that students are well prepared for Honors and thesis work. 

See course requirements: Honors Requirements 

Note: All Spring 2020 Stanford courses that would in ordinary times count towards the department units for the Math major and minor will continue to do, and likewise for elective units. Courses taken in Spring 2020 will not count against the CR/NC limit for elective units.  Transfer credits for courses taken elsewhere during Spring 2020 and judged equivalent to Stanford courses will be treated the same as those Stanford courses.

Guidance and Expectations

  • To be eligible to apply for and graduate with honors, students must have an average GPA of at least a 3.3 across all Math classes counting towards the major.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Declaring Honors

  1. Declare Honors in Axess.
  2. Choose a Math faculty Academic Council member as your honors thesis advisor and meet with him/her for guidance and direction to map out a plan for the thesis.
  3. Student and advisor must complete and sign the Honors Math Major Declaration Form.
  4. Submit the completed and signed Honors Math Major Declaration 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.

Honors Checklist

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