Independent Study


 

Independent study in Mathematics

Independent study allows students the chance to engage with a topic not currently offered in the curriculum. It can also be the means towards an honors research project.

Students may register for up to two semesters of independent study. MATH-UA 997 is offered in the fall and summer semesters and MATH-UA 998 is offered in the spring and summer semesters. Each can be taken for two or four credits.

Prerequisites: Permission of the department. Students must be a declared Math major, have a math GPA of 3.3 or above, and have completed MATH-UA 325 or 328 Analysis or Honors Analysis I with a grade of C or above.

 

Non-research Independent Study 

A non-research independent study is for students who want to learn more about a particular topic that is not offered through a course in the Math Department. Non-research independent studies are normally two-credit courses. Interested students should:

  • Find a faculty member willing to serve as their mentor for the study. The mentor must be affiliated with the Math Department. If necessary, there can be a primary mentor outside the department and a secondary one within the department.
  • Decide on a topic, textbook, or monograph to study. The subject should be distinct from any regularly offered departmental course. CAS guidelines for two-credit reading courses suggest about three hours of reading per week.
  • Decide on a schedule of meetings. CAS guidelines suggest at least four meetings over the course of the semester. 
  • Decide on any deliverables, such as an expository paper or project. This is to be agreed upon between student and mentor. CAS suggests 10 pages of writing for the entire semester.
  • Fill out our departmental Independent Study Enrollment Request Form and submit.
  • Upon faculty approval, the student will be emailed a permission code to enroll in MATH-UA 997 or 998.

Research Independent Study

A research independent study is for a more in-depth project closer to the current state of the field. The end result should be a work of significant original scholarship. If you intend to use this as fulfillment of the research component for the honors major, you must have your final deliverable approved by the honors faculty advisor. Research independent studies are typically four-credit courses, but two-credit studies may be approved in rare cases. To enroll in a research independent study, the student should:

  • Find a faculty member willing to serve as their mentor for the study. The mentor must be affiliated with the Math Department. If necessary, there can be a primary mentor outside the department and a secondary one within the department.
  • Decide on the research topic. CAS guidelines for four-credit courses suggest about six hours of reading and research per week.
  • Decide on a schedule of meetings. CAS guidelines suggest at least seven meetings over the course of the semester. 
  • Decide on the deliverables. As a benchmark for the scope of the deliverable, CAS suggests 20 pages of writing for a four-credit course. A written paper is appropriate. An oral presentation at an event such as the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Forum (DURF) is also appropriate. Finally, it can be an honor’s thesis, or 50% progress on the thesis if a second independent study course is planned to complete it. 
  • Fill out our departmental Independent Study Enrollment Request Form and submit.
  • Upon faculty approval, the student will be emailed a permission code to enroll in MATH-UA 997 or 998.

Evaluation

Grades in MATH-UA 997–8 are determined by the mentor, or secondary mentor if the primary mentor is not a department affiliate. They should email the grade to Beth Markowitz (beth@cims.nyu.edu) to be posted.