Independent Work for Distinction

Undergraduate Distinction

Deadlines to submit applications for Independent Work for Distinction:

FALL: April 15
SPRING: November 15

Do not register for Work for Distinction until it has been approved.

Work for Distinction is a serious academic commitment that is undertaken in the final two semesters of an undergraduate program. A student who is applying for Work for Distinction is one who is able to work independently with the intellectual maturity and self-discipline needed to complete a demanding project in the limited time available.

It is expected that Work for Distinction will culminate in a thesis that will be presented to a committee of the department.

The department will schedule public oral examinations for all Distinction candidates during the last two weeks of classes. The oral examination must be completed by the last day of classes. The oral examination will be conducted by a committee consisting of at least three faculty members, one of whom shall serve as Chair. A copy of the candidate’s thesis must be made available to all members of the committee one week before the examination. A final copy of the thesis will be submitted to CAS Advising for permanent binding.

Students who successfully complete their Work for Distinction with a grade of B+ or better may be recommended to graduate with Distinction in Mathematics. When determining whether to recommend graduation with Distinction in Mathematics, the committee will consider the quality of the thesis and the result of the oral examination. The Department Director of Undergraduate Studies and/or the Department Chair must approve all recommendations for graduation with Distinction in Mathematics.

Successful completion of Work for Distinction with a grade of A– is one criterion for nomination to Phi Beta Kappa.

After consultation with the faculty advisor, the student will complete the application for Work for Distinction. The faculty advisor will complete the last reference sheet, evaluating the student’s potential for success in this project. After the application is signed by the student and by the faculty advisor, it should be evaluated by the Department Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Department Chair.

The judgment as to whether a student will be allowed to undertake Work for Distinction is the responsibility of the department.

The approved application, with the appropriate signatures, should be forwarded to the Academic Advising Office. The CAS coordinator for Work for Distinction will routinely countersign all applications that have met the stated criteria. If an application has not met a certain criterion, it will be returned to the student for completion. Each applicant will be notified of acceptance or rejection by mail. The faculty advisor will receive a copy of this letter.

The minimum grade point average for students applying for Work for Distinction is 3.0. The GPA should be substantially higher in mathematics.

Work for Distinction is undertaken during the final two semesters of an undergraduate career. In those rare cases where a project commencing before the senior year is approved, the work is limited to two semesters. In any case where the work is not completed after two semesters, the student will not graduate with Distinction in Mathematics, although full academic credit will be awarded when the work is complete. September graduates must complete their projects in May.

It is acceptable to be enrolled part time for one of the semesters in which a student is registered for Work for Distinction.

Students enrolled in the BU Dual Degree program may apply to do Work for Distinction if their programs will allow for this degree of flexibility. Students should confer with their advisors on program requirements.

Work for Distinction is very different from Directed Study. Students in good standing may avail themselves of Directed Study projects for varying amounts of credit in any semester after the first semester of the freshman year. The nature of Directed Study, and credit awarded, is determined by consultation between the student and faculty advisor, and is subject to the approval of the Directed Study Committee in the Academic Advising Center. Work for Distinction, on the other hand, is a two-semester, eight-credit project only for CAS seniors who meet the previously described criteria. The project must be reviewed and approved by the departmental Honors Committee. A thesis and oral examination will be presented by the student.