Honours in Mathematics general information

The convenor for the fourth year honours program is Dr Joan Licata.

Honours in mathematics offers either a first step towards becoming a professional mathematician or a capstone undergraduate experience; the rigorous training in mathematics will be of great use to students intending to enter a wide variety of careers. Recently, Honours graduates from MSI have gone on to higher degrees in a variety of fields and entered the workforce in the industry, financial institutions, teaching, and the public service. The Honours year itself involves mathematics courses, thesis work, and two seminar presentations.

Students interested in Honours should apply during the last semester of their three-year degree, but they are encourage to discuss their plans with the Honours convener early on.

Entry into the Honours specialisation in mathematics requires

  1. at least 48 units of 2xxx and 3xxx level MATH courses, including at least 24 units of MATH3xxx courses.  (Units in a cognate subject may be counted with permission.)
  2. finding an MSI staff member willing to supervise the student's Honours thesis.  Students whose primary supervisor is in another academic unit may pursue Honours in mathematics only with an MSI co-supervisor.
  3. satisfying the College of Science rules concerning entry into Honours.

Part-time enrolment, in which the Honours program is completed over three semesters, is possible; please consult the Honours convener for advice. It is also possible to commence the program mid-year.

Organisation of the Honours Specialisation

Honours stretches over approximately ten months; students will normally be required to be in attendance from early February to mid-November (early July to mid-June for mid-year entrants).   Students generally complete 18 units of MATH4xxx or MATH6xxx coursework and 6 units of thesis work during their first semester, and the opposite weighting in the second semester.  During the year, students are required to submit a research proposal, give a 25-minute talk, and submit a second-semester progress report.  After submitting their theses, graduating students give 50-minute Colloquium talks on their work.

Assessment is based on the thesis (47%), coursework (50%), and the two seminar talks (3%).  The thesis is assessed by two examiners and the seminar talks are assessed by the convenor jointly with other members of MSI.

The Thesis

An Honours thesis is a substantial undertaking that allows students an authentic research opportunity.  Students are not required to produce publishable material, but the thesis should demonstrate independence of perspective and ownership of material beyond the scope coursework and standard texts.  An Honours thesis in mathematics will generally be 60 - 70 pages long.  Possible honours topics can be found at our projects page, but this list should be viewed as indicative rather than comprehensive.  Students are encouraged to meet or correspond with several prospective supervisors during their third year. 


Honours students will be provided with a desk in the Hanna Neumann building and with computer accounts.