Enhancing your studies

There are many ways to get more from your degree than just the standard coursework. Not only can these help strengthen your transcript, but they can also expose you to mathematics beyond the classroom setting and to sub-disciplines within mathematics that are not covered by standard courses. These can be particularly useful for helping you decide what to do when you graduate.

Independent research:

One of the best ways to to experience what it’s like to do mathematics outside of the classroom is via an independent research project. This can take various forms:

  • BU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) can connect you with faculty mentors directly in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, or in other departments whose research involves mathematical techniques. These typically come with funding and often (but not always) take place over the summer. Info on our departmental website is here.
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs): These are research opportunities that take place at universities across the country. They typically occur during the summer and include both housing and a stipend. For lists of REU opportunities and how to apply for them, see

Independent work for distinction:

This is independent research that will cullminate in a thesis to be presented to faculty from the department. It is necessary for nomination to Phi Beta Kappa and for graduating with honors in the math major. Departmental info can be found here. See also CAS info on Honors in the Major.

Directed study:

Directed Study is a way to effectively create and receive official credit for a course of your own design in an advanced area that is not covered by typical BU courses. Departmental information is here; see also the CAS application form.

Math focused study abroad:

There are several study aborad (or at least not at BU) programs that would be great ways to enrich your undergraduate experience. General information can be found at the BU Study Abroad office.

Math competitions:

  • Putnam Exam: a prestigious national math competition that takes place on the first Saturday in December. Each year three BU students are chosen to participate.
  • There are many other additional competitions open to undergraduates that may be of interest to you.

Student math organizations:

There are several student math organizations on campus: