In the Mathematics Department
The faculty are involved in research activities in various fields, including algebra, applied harmonic analysis, applied mathematics, dynamical systems, geometry, mathematical biology, number theory, partial differential equations, statistics, and topology. As such there are a number of research opportunities for undergraduates. The Department strongly encourages all its majors to consider engaging in some research activities. Such activities offer valuable skills needed to either pursue a graduate degree or to enter the workforce after graduating.
If you would like to explore some of these opportunities, follow the contact information below or talk to your professor and see if there is an appropriate research topic he/she could offer you.
Some recent undergraduate research projects of math majors
You can get an idea of some of the past research of math majors by looking over a list of some of their past research projects, with links to reports and in some cases published papers.
Research Interaction Teams
Qualified students may join a Research Interaction Team (RIT) of mathematicians at varying levels (professor, postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, undergraduate student). Please explore our current RITs.
Directed Reading Program
The Directed Reading Program pairs undergraduates with a graduate student mentor for semester long independent study projects. Do you want to learn some advanced math? In the Directed Reading Program (DRP), you will: work one-on-one with an interested graduate mentor, design a one-semester reading project based on your mathematical interests, present your material to an audience of your peers. You do not need to have a specific idea for a project in mind to apply! Watch out for email announcement regarding DRP in the beginning of each semester!
The Norbert Wiener Center
The Norbert Wiener Center provides research opportunities to undergraduate students interested in harmonic analysis and its applications to signal and image processing, as well as in the analysis and processing of large data sets. A partial list of former undergraduate students who worked with the Center can be found here.
If you are interested in learning about research opportunities at the Center, please contact the Director, Professor John Benedetto, or email
The Experimental Geometry Lab
The Experimental Geometry Lab allows undergraduates to work in a team environment and develop object-oriented software to explore properties of non-Euclidean geometries.
Daniel Sweet Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Starting in Fall 2007, the Norbert Wiener Center will be offering a research fellowship in honor of Dan Sweet. Information about this fellowship will be available on the Norbert Wiener Center website.
Ride the Putnam Express
The Putnam Examination is the premier national mathematics competition. The Mathematics Department runs a course each fall, "The Putnam Express", to prepare students for this competition. Success on the exam is a great credential for graduate school admissions and financial support. Working on the challenging preparation problems is in some ways like mathematical research, and it is a useful preparation for actual mathematics research.
Interested students may contact Dr. Brian Hunt for additional information.
MATH 452 Projects. In the course MATH 452 (Introduction to Dynamics and Chaos), independent student projects have the flavor of research and are usually a significant part of the course.
A student whose interest in mathematical research extends to getting a PhD. in Mathematics should consult carefully with department advisors on appropriate preparation. There are two ways a student may engage in advanced coursework:
- Reading Courses
Departmental Honors students may register for MATH 498 as a reading course. Permission to register requires a contract between the student and the instructor that specifies what the student is to accomplish during the semester and how the student's progress is to be assessed.
- Graduate Level Courses
It can be extremely useful for qualified students to take graduate level mathematics courses as an undergraduate. This path is one of the Departmental Honors options. This option is arranged through the Undergraduate Advisor and requires the permission of the course instructor. In addition, the College of Computers, Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a policy regarding undergraduates within CMNS taking graduate level courses.
The mathematics department has put together these various structures, hoping to facilitate the research and involvement of capable students. Students: take these as opportunities, but not as limits. Always, follow the math that intrigues you, and talk to your professors. Professors like bright students who want to work. Much of the best stuff comes idiosyncratically. Let your mind grow wherever the light shines.
Elsewhere on campus
TREND is a very special summer opportunity for financially supported training and research experiences in nonlinear dynamics. Apply before the end of March.
The Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research is the campus resource center for undergraduate research, with information on Undergraduate Research Day. They also have a Maryland Student Researchers database.
Nationally and beyond
There is a large array of undergraduate research opportunities (a.k.a. REU's, research experiences for undergraduates) in mathematics . Below are some sites which have assembled REU links.
- Some of the NSF-funded REU's
(click Mathematical Sciences or search by keyword)
- The American Mathematical Society lists
- The Lincoln List (extensive)
Here is a very incomplete list of some additional REU's (mostly for summer--with spring application deadlines). The red ** means that we know of some Maryland undergraduate who has participated and had a strongly positive experience.
- MASS ** (Penn State)
- National Security Agency** ("just down the road")
- DIMACS/DIMATIA (Rutgers and Prague)
- Budapest Semesters in Mathematics
- IBM: Summer Research program and Mathematics research.
Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences
There are several established undergraduate math conferences: