Undergraduate research is typically one of the first steps students take if they are interested in choosing mathematics or computer science as a profession. Besides allowing them to establish a strong working relationship with a faculty member in their field of interest, undergraduate research teaches them how to communicate their results, both through publishing in peer-reviewed journals and by making formal presentations at the School of Arts & Sciences' annual Student Symposium and at national and international conferences.
The primary goal when conducting research is to solve previously unsolved problems, to prove new theorems or to develop new applications. In the process, students gain a much deeper understanding of their subject area and become more engaged in their education¿working hard to get to the bottom of a nagging question as opposed to simply working for a grade.
The first step to finding the right research opportunity for you is to find a professor whom you enjoy working with and whose work interests you. He or she will be able to help you find appropriate opportunities in your field of interest. The School of Arts & Sciences, together with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, offers a number of research opportunities to students at every stage of their academic careers. You can:
- Participate in an independent study project if you'd like to cover material not covered in your regular coursework
- Apply to the honors program in math, computer science or mathematical economics and complete an honors thesis
- Apply for a summer research fellowship through the School of Arts & Sciences
- Apply for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship
There are also a number of nationally competitive opportunities to students:
- REU Programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates)
- DOE ERULF Summer Program (Department of Energy, Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowship)
- Director's Summer Program, National Security Agency
- Summer Mathematics for Women (Carleton College and St. Olaf College)
- SPWM (The George Washington University)
- Summer Research Program for Undergraduates at Cornell University
- RIPS Program (Research in Industrial Projects for Students)
- SUMSRI (Summer Undergraduate Mathematical Science Research Institute)
For students who successfully complete a research program, the School of Arts & Sciences offers travel grants to support those students who would like to travel to regional and national conferences and meetings to present their findings.