Capstone Research Experience

A key part of a mathematics major at Mudd is completing a “Capstone Research Experience,” a full-year research project representing sustained effort to solve a complex problem from industry or work on independent mathematical research. The two options are

  • Clinic, where you will work with a team of students and a faculty advisor to tackle a problem proposed by a sponsor (generally an outside company, nonprofit, or government entity).
  • Thesis, where you will work closely with a faculty advisor on a research project representing your or your advisors research interests.

The joint math-CS major requires you to take Clinic, but everyone else should look at the websites for Clinic and Thesis to help you consider your options.

Typically, each February, all students who have the option/requirement of doing their capstone experience with the Mathematics Department will be asked to fill out a survey about their preferences for their capstone experience.

External Thesis Advisors

If you wish to do research with an advisor who is not in the HMC mathematics department,

  1. Your thesis must have sufficient mathematical content
  2. You will need a second reader who is a Mudd math professor

To get an outside advisor approved, submit a petition to the department via the department chair describing your planned research project and the level of its mathematical content. You will need to include the name and contact information of your project’s external faculty advisor, as well as the name of the Mudd professor who has agreed to serve as your second reader.

Choosing a Clinic Project

Clinic projects aren’t usually finalized until the end of the summer. Once they have been confirmed, the Clinic director finds faculty advisors for each project and contacts students to give them the opportunity to read through the project descriptions and rank their interest in the available projects.

If you have a particular interest area, you might be able to find a faculty member with similar interests and ask them if they’re considering advising a project.

Ideas for Thesis Projects

You’ll need to choose a topic area and advisor for a thesis project. Most of the rest of this page lays out our professors’ research interests to help you consider the topic of your thesis project and choose an advisor.

While completing original mathematical research is highly desirable, doing so is not a requirement of a senior thesis project.

If you have an idea that’s not already here (or don’t like any of the ones that are here), talk to potential advisors as well as other faculty from the Claremont Colleges who may share your interests! Previous senior theses may also be a good source of ideas or other inspiration.

Faculty Research Interests

Information about faculty research interests can be found on the mathematics research page.