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MCS Honors

The Math & Comp Sci honors program encourages intensive study in an area of mathematical science in addition to meeting the requirements for the major. 

The honors program is designed to encourage a more intensive study of mathematical sciences than the B.S. program.

Students interested in honors should consult with their advisor no later than winter quarter of their junior year to prepare their program of study. Honors work may be concentrated in fields such as biological sciences, environment, physics, etc.


Graduating with Honors in Math & Comp Sci does not require a thesis/research project, however, for those who are interested in pursuing research for that purpose, we encourage you to meet with your major advisor to discuss initiating your objective.

Honors in the major

In addition to meeting all requirements for the B.S., the student must:

  1. Maintain an average letter grade equivalent to at least a 3.5 in all academic work. 
  2. Complete at least 15 units of coursework in mathematical sciences in addition to the requirements for the major. These 15 units must include at least one of the following:
    • An approved higher-level graduate course
    • Participation in a small group seminar
    • At least 3 units of directed reading
  3. Prepare a statement describing the major area of concentration for honors work. 
  4. Describe how each course selected adds to the student’s knowledge and understanding in the chosen area of concentration. 
  5. Honors statement should be submitted to the advisor by the last day of classes of the student's graduation quarter using the honors approval form.
  • Student's work must demonstrate in-depth learning of a topic or shared idea in the breadth of the MCS major (examples below).
  • Student's work must be an original idea whose objective is based on their own personal interests or inspired by current/future research goals.


Suggested electives for students pursuing Honors:

CME 206 Introduction to Numerical Methods for Engineering 3
CS/STATS 229 Machine Learning 3-4
CS 248 Interactive Computer Graphics 3-4
EE 364A Convex Optimization I 3
MATH 171 Fundamental Concepts of Analysis 3
MATH 172 Lebesgue Integration and Fourier Analysis 3
MATH 205A Real Analysis 3
STATS 202 Data Mining and Analysis 3
STATS 216 Introduction to Statistical Learning 3
STATS 217 Introduction to Stochastic Processes I 2-3


Before you declare honors in Axess, meet with your MCS advisor to discuss your interests and ideas for your Honors program.

Students should discuss their plans for an Honors curriculum in MCS with their advisor as early as possible. Doing so at the time of MCS major declaration allows for students to develop ideas about the concentration they are interested in and plan for the courework needed to fulfill the Honors work.


Declaring Honors

If you want to declare departmental honors, log on to Axess, click "Declare Major/Minor" and choose MCS-Honors

Note: Departmental honors must be declared in Axess and approved by MCS student services no later than the application to graduate deadline for the term in which the student intends to graduate.

  • Students must first submit an Honors proposal to their adviser no later than the Preliminary Study List deadline of the quarter you expect to graduate.
  • Once your proposal has been approved, submit your Honors declarationt through Axess.
  • You may declare Honors once your proposal has been approved by your Faculty Advisor.  This can be prior to the quarter of graduation.


 MCS program honors proposal form

The purpose of the proposal form is to ensure students have met with their advsier about completing the work necessary for MCS Honors, developing a (draft) summary about their concentration of study that will lead to a cohesive final report. This is due no later than the Preliminary Study List deadline of the quarter you expect to graduate.

MCS program honors approval form

Honors approval form is for submitting your final report must be submitted to your major advisor by the last day of classes of the quarter you expect to graduate.

Previous honors student work includes concentrations in

  • CS theory, especially different types of algorithms and algorithmic paradigms
  • detecting the difference between human and non-human responses in game-theory type games
  • demonstrating Bayesian models and networks potential in a legal analysis context to evaluate real-world applicability of Bayesian networks to criminal law and civil litigation
  • analyzing phylogenetic trees of bacterial data


Example 1: Statistical Methods in Social Science

In my honors program I explored the use of statistical methodology in problems in social science. In doing so I sought to apply the quantitative and computational tools I developed in the core classes of the MCS curriculum to problems of social significance. As part of my program, I crossed departmental borders to gain subject-area knowledge of issues in education and sociology while deepening my skills in statistical analysis in particular areas relevant to these fields. I approached the program as a preparation for doctoral study in statistics with an emphasis on application in social science and public policy. (Educ 316; Educ 351A; Stats 209; Stats 305)


Example 2: Virtual Worlds:  A New Frontier in Law & Economics

For the past three years, I have conducted several multidisciplinary studies that bring together elements of law and quantitative finance, which thus far have been utilized in my works on virtual worlds, a new frontier in both law and economics. Below are the summaries:

  • Yang, R. 2012. The Personal and Economic Utility of Virtual World Bots: A Defense for Fair Use. Arizona State Sports and Entertainment Law Journal. Vol. 2, Issue 2
  • Yang, R. 2013Could the Virtual Be Similar to the Real? A First Look from an Efficient Markets Perspective.Quarterly Journal of Finance, Vol. 3, Issue 4
  • Yang, R. 2013. When is BitCoin a Security Under U.S. Securities Law? Journal of Technology Law and Policy. Vol. 18, Issue 2