If you are interested in taking Math 494 or Math 499 please talk to me about your interests and goals before the beginning of the term in which you wish to enroll. Enrollment is by permission only and will be determined on a case by case basis if we reach an agreement that your enrollment under my supervision can be benficial.

Course Descriptions from Catalog

Math 494. Practical Experience in Mathematics (3)

Prerequisite: Junior standing in the major. Students will gain practical experience in the profession by either participating in an internship doing mathematical/statistical work at an outside organization or by doing directed research within the Department. All students are expected to work a minimum of 8 hours per week on this assignment and meet with the course instructor on a regular basis. All students are required to produce a written report on their work at the end of the semester. Students will give oral reports to the Department and their peers.

Math 499. Independent Study (1-3)

Enrollment in Independent Study is by permission of the department chair and consent of an instructor to act as a sponsor. Admission is based on evidence of ability to pursue independent study in depth and approval of a project submitted at the time of registration. Students who are on probation or who have not completed academic disqualification readmission requirements may not enroll in Independent Study courses. Regular progress meetings and reports are required before credit can be received. The maximum number of units of credit in Independent Study courses that can be counted toward the baccalaureate degree is 6 units in a major and 3 additional units outside the major. Enrollment in Independent Study is not allowed for the purpose of substitution for an existing course. Not available for General Education.


Student Expectations

Time commitment

For 494, at least 8 hours per week. For 499, at least 3 hours per week for each unit enrolled. This does not include the times that we meet or the time spent communicating with one another (email, phone, texts, etc.).

Project definition

494 students are expected to have outside employment in a math-related discipline. If they do not have a job a project will need to be defined in a practical (applied) area of mathematics. Note that tutoring, grading, and teaching jobs are not applicable.

499 (or 494 students who do not have a relevant job) will need to determine a research project. The topic area must be defined before I give permission to supervise the project. I will require a short initial abstract defining the project and your goals for the semester before I give you a permission number to enroll.

The initial abstract should describe the proposed research area/project (or describe your job duties including their mathematical relevance). You should describe what you expect to do over the course of the semester. 494 Students with a job: A description of the job, its duties, how they are relevant to mathematics, and what you additional tasks you will accomplish (that you have not already done) over the semester. 494/499 students proposing research: Describe the problem background, what has been done (level of Wikipedia), and the work you propose to do over the semester. You should identify at least 5 original sources (not web sites) that are relevant and accessible to you. The total document should be at least one page (typed, 12pt, single spaced) but no more than two pages. If you can't identify a topic we should meet and discuss this before the semester begins. It is your responsibility to do some work deciding if you are interested in a subject after I suggest it to you. The class is for doing the work, not figuring out the topic.

Course Requirements

Journal. Keep a journal of your work. I expect at least a one page typed summary, every week, that accounts for your time, and explains what you have learned. If you did some reading and researched several papers, this can include your notes for those papers. If you read a textbook and did some exercises, include those. 494 students with a job should summarize their weekly activities and explain the mathematical relevance, emphasizing anything new that they learned from their experience.You should typeset all of your work in latex. This journal serves two purposes: (1) it helps account for your time, and helps me determine if you put in the effort required to get a high grade in the class; and (2) it will be a place to collect all of you thoughts and notes so that you have them in one place at the end of the semester when you prepare your final report and presentation.

What the journal should include:
(1) What I did this week.
(2) What I learned this week.
(3) How this is relevant to (the specific research project; or the work experience (494))
(4) How this demonstrates practical expericence in math (494 only)
(5) Goals/plans for next week
(6) Include citations of any reading material (journal articles; you should not still be reading Wikipedia at this point)

Meetings: I expect to meet with you once a week. We will determine a schedule (subject to change) before the beginning of the semester. Being able to find a mutually convenient time to meet will be a requirement before I issue a permission number.

Paper: You should expect to prepare a paper summarizing your work over the semester. This paper will be due on the first day of final exam week. Paper requirements will be provided during the semester.

Presentation: You should prepare a 20 minutes presentation describing your research (or experience) and results. Presentation materials should be in either latex (e.g., use beamer) or an Libre-Office Impress (if you use PowerPoint, Google Docs, or other software I will expect you to convert.) If your prsentation includes multimedia (e.g., movies) you should generate a compressed folder including all the external files before turing it in. The presentation materials will be due on the first day of final exam week.

Grading: At the minimum, you must do everything required and turn everything in (meetings, journal, paper, presentation) to get a passing grade. Higher grades (e.g., A or B vs. a C or lower) will depend on the quality of the work performed. You must clearly demonstrate that you have done something new and significant (defined in terms of your own personal experience: learned something new, had a new experience) and demonstrate your ability to convey what you have done (learned, experienced) to others in order to get an A.

Note: Research (and work) are on-going experiences; they are not like taking classes where you are given periodic milestones. You have to be your own taskmaster in this and force yourself to do something new every week; but that is not enough for success, what you do each week must be planned in light of the ultimate goal for the semester project. What do you want to accomplish this semester? I will prod you to do things, but how far you take each step is up to you.