Get Started with Undergraduate Research

What is mathematical research?

Mathematicians and statisticians don't just crunch numbers and use ancient rules; we discover new results and prove new theorems all the time! Many of the faculty at the JMU Department of Mathematics & Statistics are teacher-scholars who publish new mathematical research in journals, and involve undergraduates in their research and publications. No matter what level of student you are, we have opportunities for you!

To get an idea of what mathematical research is like, come see what others have done! We have a weekly department Colloquium with talks that are friendly to both students and faculty, and a yearly on-campus undergraduate research conference called SUMS where students from JMU and other universities present their work. In addition, we have a student led one credit course, Math 167, that introduces students to topics in math they may encounter after the calculus sequence. 

Some options

Many faculty in the department are interested in supporting undergraduate research in their areas of interest, at various levels. Sometimes it is simply following an area of interest without any formal organization. Sometimes it is actually doing a research for credit, either as courses Math 297 for Math 497. Or, you may have been inspired by a particular professor or intrigued by what they found out in a club, when they took on a competition, or read about a lab. The best thing to do is reach out, and see what happens!

Did you know that even if you aren't in the JMU Honors College you can write an Honors Thesis? If you're interested in exploring new math and writing about it, check out the guidelines here: Start an Honors Thesis Project with a Faculty Member.

Engaging in early undergraduate research projects at JMU can make you more competitive for external programs such as REUs at other universities, summer workshops, and mathematical semesters abroad. For more information, see the "Applying for External Opportunities" section of our For Current Students page.

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