Opportunities for Undergraduates
There are many opportunities in the Mathematics Department for undergraduates. We discuss these below:
- Graduating with Honors
- University Scholars Program
- Pi Mu Epsilon and the UF University Math Society
- Putnam Competition
- NSF Research Experiences
- Robert Long Prize
- Kermit Sigmon Award
- Journal of Undergraduate Research
There are three levels of honors, cum laude (honors), magna cum laude (high honors), and summa cum laude (highest honors.) Cum laude is awarded to a UF student with a 3.5 GPA earned as an upper-division student. This is standard across UF. The awards of magna cum laude and summa cum laude is determined by the department. For each of these latter two distinctions the Mathematics Department requires an undergraduate thesis. Students interested in pursuing high honors should consult Guidelines for Graduation with Honors in Mathematics.
Before considering an undergraduate thesis:
- No honors are given unless your GPA is at least 3.5. Do not start down this path without meeting this requirement
- You will need an advisor. Talk to a professor you know and have taken a course with. They will have a good idea of your ability and background knowledge.
- Plan two semesters in advance. You will need one semester to learn the background on your topic and do your research. It is nearly impossible to complete a thesis in a single semester. This is not just another term paper
- You will need a second semester to write up your results, to get your advisor’s approval, and to submit the thesis. Properly writing results is part of the research process.
The University Scholars Program is an opportunity for a UF undergraduate to get a taste of research while being mentored by a UF faculty member.
UFTeach is an Education Minor for STEM majors. This can qualify a graduate for a career in teaching.
Pi Mu Epsilon is the honorary mathematics society at the University of Florida. The University Math Society at UF consists of a group of students with a shared passion for mathematics. They host weekly seminars and mathematics competitions, and provide opportunities for networking, community and service.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is given once each year – usually the first Saturday in December at universities across the U.S. and Canada to undergraduates. The examination is constructed to test originality as well as technical competence. It is expected that the contestant will be familiar with the formal theories embodied in undergraduate mathematics. Questions are included that cut across various disciplines, and self-contained questions that do not fit into any of the usual categories may be included. The Mathematics Department sponsors a Putnam team. each year in this competition. An archive of Putnam competition problems (with solutions) from 1985 to nowadays is available.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The National Science Foundation has sponsored Summer research activities for undergraduate mathematics majors at several universities around the country.
The Robert Long Prize is awarded to the winner of a written essay competition. Professor Robert Long had a keen interest in the history of mathematics. The essay addresses a topic in the history of mathematics. The competition is organized each Spring and is open to all University of Florida students.
Professor Kermit Sigmon gave selflessly to the undergraduate program and to the service of the department. The Kermit Sigmon Award is given annually to the undergraduate mathematics student who best exemplifies this combination of scholarship and service as represented in the life of Professor Sigmon.
The Journal of Undergraduate Research publishes the outstanding scholarship of undergraduates at the University of Florida and showcases the work of the University Scholars.