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Honors Mathematics

Our honors program is ideal for students open to the challenges of higher mathematics. State-of-the-art courses are taught in small classes by leading faculty and cover a broad range of material in both pure and applied mathematics. Beyond the standard curriculum, we routinely offer courses on recent developments in cutting edge fields such as algorithms, biomathematics, cryptography, and financial mathematics. Our honors students also often take advantage of our top-ranked graduate program; qualified students are welcome to take graduate courses. All in all, the honors mathematics program at the University of Michigan will prepare you well for the challenge of a graduate or professional school at the finest universities in the country or a rewarding career in a variety of fields (see our Careers page for a discussion of career options for mathematicians).

A student who is either in the LSA Honors Program or is approved by the Departmental Honors Committee may declare an Honors Major in mathematics. The Honors Major will acquire a greater command of abstractions and of the subtleties of mathematical rigor. Honors students who complete an honors major with distinction may receive on their diplomas the designations “with honors,” “with high honors,” or “with highest honors.” An honors citation will be awarded to any Honors major who completes the honors major requirements with a major GPA of at least 3.25 and an LSA cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 at the time of graduation. Honors will automatically remove students without a 3.4 GPA. Citations of high and highest honors are awarded at the discretion of the Honors Committee on the basis of superior performance in advanced courses as attested by grades and individual faculty evaluations.

Honors Subplan Checklist

I. Prerequisites

Students intending to pursue an Honors major are advised to take one of the Honors introductory sequences 156, 285 and 286; 275, 276, 285, and 286; 185, 186, 285, and 286; 295,296, 395 and 396;  217and 297 (Math 395-396 strongly recommended), or some combination of these five. Please note that the sequence 295-396 is very theoretical. It is recommended that students in the 156-286, 275-286, and 185-286 tracks also complete Math 217.

All Honors Mathematics majors are also strongly encouraged to take Physics 140-141 and 240-241.

The Honors program must include at least nine courses: four basic courses (II.), four elective courses (III.), and one cognate course (IV.) as described below.

II. Basic Courses

The basic courses consist of one from each of groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 or groups 1, 3, 5 and 6 below completed with a grade of at least C-:

  1. Analysis: Math 451
  2. Modern Algebra: Math 493
  3. Linear Algebra: Math 420, 494, or 571
  4. Geometry/Topology: Math 431, 433, 490, or 590
  5. Probability: Math 525
  6. Differential Equations: Math 404, 454, 556, 557, or 558

A student who has completed Math 295-296 or 217-297, with a grade of at least a C- is exempt from Math 451.
A student who has completed Math 296-395 or 297-395, with a grade of at least a C- is exempt from Math 420.

III. Elective Courses

The four elective courses must be chosen in consultation with an honors advisor to provide a cohesive program that explores an area of mathematics in some depth. There is a good deal of freedom allowed here, but a random selection of courses will not satisfy this requirement. The courses should be chosen from the following list or have a course number of 600 or above. Math 289 is a repeatable 1-credit course and can be used to satisfy the elective requirement only if taken three times. An honors counselor may approve another mathematics course or a course from another department with advanced mathematical content as one of these elective courses. The honors counselor may ask that the student arrange supplemental work in a given class not listed below to conform to expectations for an honors elective. A student who completes the requirements for the Basic Courses by choosing courses from groups 1, 3, 5 and 6 must complete a course in Complex Analysis.


289 Problem Solving 389 Explorations in Mathematics
416 Theory of Algorithms 431 Explorations in Euclidean Geometry
433 Intro. to Differential Geom.  
440 Lab of Geometry - LoG(M) 452 Advanced Calculus II
462 Mathematical Models 463 Math Modeling in Biology
464 Inverse Problems
465 Intro to Combinatorics
471 Intro. to Numerical Methods
481 Intro. to Mathematical Logic
490 Introduction to Topology
525 Probability Theory
526 Disc. Stochastic Processes
537 Differentiable Manifolds
551  Intro to Real Analysis 555 Intro. to Complex Variables
556 Methods of Applied Math I 557 Methods of Applied Math II
558 Ordinary Diff. Equations 559 Topics in Applied Math
561 Linear Programming I 563 Adv. Mathematical Biology
565 Combin. and Graph Theory 566 Combinatorial Theory
567 Intro. to Coding Theory 571 Num. Meth. for Sci. Comp. I
572 Num. Meth. for Sci. Comp. II 575 Intro. to Theory of Numbers
582 Introduction to Set Theory 590 Intro to Topology
591 General and Diff. Topology 592 Intro to Algebraic Topology
593 Algebra I 594 Algebra II
596 Analysis I (Complex) 597 Analysis II (Real)

IV. Cognate Courses

One cognate course should be chosen from some field other than mathematics. Almost any field is acceptable, but the course must be at the 300 level or higher and should have significant mathematical content, at least at the level of Math 215. In all cases approval of an advisor is required.