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Honors and Awards

Graduation With Honors

College of Arts and Sciences requirements

Students must have a 3.3 overall grade point average to begin an honors project and must maintain the 3.3 average through the completion of their senior year.

B.A./B.S. Mathematics additional requirements

A student interested in pursuing a degree with Honors should meet before the senior year with the Departmental Honors Advisor, Richard Rimanyi ( to discuss a plan for fulfilling the requirements for a degree with Honors.

Course Requirements: The candidate must have completed nine courses from the following list: MATH 381, MATH 383, MATH 347 (or MATH 577, but not both), MATH 521, and five additional 500+ level MATH courses, not counting math691H. At least seven of these courses must be completed before registering for MATH 691H. All 9 courses must be completed before registering for MATH 692H unless prior approval has been granted from the Departmental Honors Advisor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. For classes taken during COVID, with special university rules regarding pass/fail, two classes with PS grade (but not LP grade) may count towards Honors.

GPA Requirements: The candidate must have a 3.5 GPA in the above listed course requirements (the best five, 500+ level grades will be used). The candidate also must maintain a 3.5 GPA while enrolled in MATH 691H and MATH 692H.

Thesis and Defense Requirements: A written thesis and defense must be completed during MATH 692H to receive departmental honors.  The thesis committee (composed of three faculty members including the project advisor) must make a recommendation to the Departmental Honors Advisor and a semi-final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the Departmental Honors Advisor at least one week before departmental reporting is due (typically mid April).  The final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the Carolina digital repository by the last day of classes.

Highest Honors: In the event a thesis committee recommends highest honors, the Departmental Honors Advisor will form an ad hoc committee to evaluate the file, with experts from all fields.  In addition to the above requirements, a 3.75 GPA from the same courses must be maintained.  The ad hoc committee will look for significant work beyond a major, and original, independent research in thesis to make a recommendation.

Recent Honors Projects

Winners of the Archibald Henderson Medal, The Alfred Brauer Prize, and Major William B. Cain Award


The William Lowell Putnam Competition is held annually on the first Saturday of December with morning and afternoon sessions. The Department provides lunch between sessions. Our students usually score well above the national average, and have finished as high as tenth in the nation.  In the last three years our teams have ranked 13th, 17th, and 13th place.

The Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest is offered on the last Saturday morning in October and makes cash awards for the highest scores in the mid-Atlantic region. UNC students have often won these awards.

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) is a yearly team competition run by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications, emphasizing creative solutions to real-world problems. Teams choose from a continuous and a discrete problem and are expected to formulate a solution and write a paper in a few days. Of the solutions judged “Outstanding” in the MCM, two are chosen to receive the SIAM Award (from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics), one for each problem.