Undergraduate Research Projects

Mathematics research by undergraduates in the United States has gone from rare in the mid-1980s to commonplace now.  Undergraduate contributions range from introductory to cutting edge, with occasional publications in some of the highest level professional journals.  Now there are several undergraduate journals, Involve, Rose-Hulman, Minnesota, SIAM, and Pi Mu Epsilon among them, containing significant results in all mathematical specialties.

These days undergraduate research experience is critical to being competitive for entrance into top graduate programs.  Numerous summer programs are funded by the National Science Foundation and the Mathematics Association of America, among others.  VCU also offers summer support through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program, the latter available to Honors students only.  These experiences are also highly valuable for employment at the plethora of National Labs and Federal Agencies (including the National Security Agency, the largest employer of mathematicians in the world), as well as the huge array of technical companies in STEM industries like communications, biotech, information, finance, internet, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, and more.

But there are other, more fundamental reasons to engage in mathematical research.  Students often gain a greater understanding of how mathematics works in the modern world, a heightened facility with generating and analyzing data in any realm of life, an exuberance for group and solo problem solving that welcomes hard challenges, a stronger ability to communicate technical information, and a deepened connection with fellow students and professors in the project.  Not bad.

The selection of projects with the professors listed below offer students opportunities to work closely with Math Department professors, as an independent study or summer activity, potentially receiving funding through one of the sources mentioned above.  It can provide an excellent springboard to some of the other opportunities discussed as well.  Please read the project descriptions and contact the professor with whom you would like to study.

Projects with Faculty

Funded Programs

Students have a number of opportunities to participate in cutting edge research.  Many of these opportunities, see below, are offered in the summer.  Though if you are interested please feel free to seek out a faculty member to ask if they have any opportunities beyond these listed or whether they might be interested in participating in these.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program:  This is a summer VCU program that involves an application process that you complete with a faculty mentor.  The application is typically due in early to mid-spring semester.  For more info please go to Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

– Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program:  This is a summer VCU program for honors students.  The descriptions for the projects usually come up in early spring.  You must be an honors student.  For more info please go to:  Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Research Experience for Undergraduates:  This is a National Science Foundation program that has opportunities all over the nation.  For more information please go to:  NSF REU Sites: Mathematical Sciences

Office of the Vice President For Research and Innovation: The VCU Strategic Research Priorities Plan seeks to enrich the human experience and advance human health and well-being through exceptionally creative, collaborative and community-engaged research. For more information please go to:  Office of the Vice President For Research and Innovation

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