The departmental grade is the average grade on the eight required departmental courses. If you have taken more than eight courses meeting the departmental requirements, you may choose your best eight to count toward the departmental grade (given that you cover the four field requirements).

Junior independent work receives a grade each term that appears on the transcript, but is not viewed as a course grade. The senior thesis receives two grades, one on the paper itself, based on the originality and the depth of coverage of the topic, and one on the final thesis examination, based on the clarity and completeness of the exposition. The latter is an oral examination, principally an exposition of the thesis before a committee consisting at least of the thesis advisor and the second reader. The examiners may and usually do ask questions about the thesis itself or any relevant background material involved, particularly the mathematical techniques used in the thesis.

Honors (honors, high honors, and highest honors) and departmental prizes are decided in a meeting of the full Department, based on departmental grades, final thesis grades, and a review of independent work and the general undergraduate program. The departmental prizes are:

  • the George B. Covington Prize in Mathematics, awarded for excellence in mathematics
  • the Middleton Miller '29 Prize, awarded for the best independent work in mathematics
  • the Peter A. Greenberg '77 Prize, awarded for outstanding accomplishments in mathematics
  • the Andrew H. Brown Prize, awarded to the outstanding juniors in mathematics
  • the Class of 1861 Prize, awarded to the sophomore with the best record on the Putnam Examination.

The awards are presented at the Mathematics Department Class Day Reception, held at Fine Hall on the day before Commencement.

Departmental grades ("the best eight") are not used for any purpose besides these honors and prizes.