College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Math & Actuarial Science

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities for undergraduates include the Research Experience for Undergraduates and the Butler Summer Institute. Detailed information is listed below for each of these.

Additional information regarding the research opportunities provided at Butler University is available on the CHASE (Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement) website.  Just click on the drop-down menu labeled "Undergraduate Research." 

Butler Mathematics Research Camp

  • What is it? The Research camp is a focused research experience for mathematics and actuarial science majors. Majors who have taken MA 215 (Linear Algebra) are eligible, and prior research experience is not required.  
  • The camp is ideal for students who want a dedicated, focused research experience in mathematics that could lead to further research study, either continued informal work with a faculty member, a topic for the student to use in MA 490 Senior Seminar, a future research question, or an honors thesis or a BSI (Butler Summer Institute) research project.  The research camp could also help students decide if graduate studies in the matheamtical sciences should be part of their future plans.
  • How does it work? The camp will take place from Monday, August 11 to Monday, August 18. (Students can arrive on campus to check into their residence halls between 8:30 and 10 AM on Monday the 11th.)  The "Butler Research Faculty" will direct the camp.  The group includes Drs. Johnston, Sharma, Wahl, Webster, and Wilson.  The department pays all room expenses and provides students with work areas in Jordan Hall.  At least one meal each day, along with refreshments during the workday, will be provided.  Students will be responsible for any other meals; they will have opportunities to decide to eat on or off campus as they please.
  • What's in it for me? Each day of camp will be filled with mathematics:presented by the faculty; worked on individually with faculty members;worked on by students in their own individual research of reading materials and formulation of questions;and worked on in "research proof sessions." We expect to start each day at 9 AM, and there will be research activities until 5 PM. Every camper will be responsible for participating at each event.  Several nights will have planned social activities, such as eating dinner together or going to a move, and of course there will be appropriate "down time" to relax and regroup.  In short, the campers should expect to have an immersion experience in research mathematics!
  • How can I find out more?  Interested students should talk to a member of the Research Faculty or to Mrs. Duerksen to pick up a short application form with a required essay.  The department hopes that all interested students may be able to participate, but limited resources might require a selection process, based on levels of commitment, seniority, experience, and grades.

BSI - Butler Summer Institute

  • What is it? The acronym stands for the Butler Summer Institute, a program funded by Butler to provide an opportunity for summer research for Butler students.
  • How does it work? BSI runs for 8 weeks during the summer, selects applicants competitively from all disciplines, and offers a student stipend of $2000 (to compensate for not having a summer job) as well as housing in Resco. Students work on a project under the guidance of a faculty member. See the BSI web site for more information.
  • What's in it for me? Besides the stipend (always nice), it's a chance to see what professional mathematicians really do (no, we really do more than teach calculus, etc.), to work one-on-one with a Butler faculty member, to build a resume for graduate school (gives you an edge in admissions) or employment, to present your work at a professional meeting, and to have fun with some other Butler students who are in the program. Typically there are numerous social events held in conjunction with the program.

REU - Research Experience for Undergraduates

  • What is it? The acronym stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, a program funded by the National Science Foundation to encourage budding mathematicians and to provide opportunities for summer enrichment. There are about 30 different sites, i.e., colleges or universities, which run these programs.
  • How does it work? A typical REU program runs for 6-8 weeks during the summer, selects applicants competitively, and offers a student stipend of $2000-$3500 (to compensate for not having a summer job) as well as housing on the campus. Students usually work together on a project under the guidance of a faculty member. Each site has its own set of topics, some suitable for students who have completed the calculus sequence and perhaps one or two more courses and others suitable for students who have completed several higher-level mathematics courses. The National Science Foundation website contains information for students searching for an REU opportunity.  
  • What's in it for me? Besides the stipend (always nice), it's a chance to see what professional mathematicians really do (no, we really do more than teach calculus, etc.), to build a resume for graduate school (gives you an edge in admissions) or employment (employers LOVE group work), to present your work at a professional meeting (and maybe win a $100 prize!), and to have fun with some other undergraduates who like mathematics. Typically there are numerous social events held in conjunction with the program.
  • How can I find out more? Talk to Dr. Johnston and/or see the NSF Specialized Information page and start applying!