The University of Arizona

URA Research Project Ideas

What follows is a list of some of the project topics that faculty members in the department of mathematics have suggested as suitable for undergraduate research projects. Students who wish to participate can register and receive credit for an independent study or may be able to obtain URA funding to get paid to work on these projects.

Details of the project requirements will be worked out between the faculty supervisor and the student. Some of these projects require little background and are suitable for freshmen or sophomores, while others require knowledge of linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, or group theory. This list is by no means exclusive: any student with a particular interest in some area of research is encouraged to seek out a faculty supervisor. Students are encouraged to contact the URA Program Coordinator for help finding a suitable faculty research mentor.

Looking for examples of undergraduate research? The Honors College maintains a repository of past honors thesis submissions; use the Advanced Filters to search by discipline (Mathematics or Statistics & Data Science). It may also be helpful to look at past MathFest Student Papers, as well as SUnMaRC abstracts.

Students participating in undergraduate research for credit must submit a proposal form through the math academic office. Stop by the window at Math 108 once you have lined up your project advisor and topic.

Project ideas list is not exhaustive - there are additional faculty who are interested in working with undergraduates that have not provided information to us.

If a project has not been updated in a long time, check the professor's homepage to see what they have been working on most recently. Research areas tend not to change drastically.

Name Research Area(s) Prerequisites Honors Thesis?* URA for Credit? URA for Pay?** Last Updated

Moysey Brio

Numerical Simulation of Waves in Optics, fluids and solids.

introductory numerical analysis, basic physics/optics and computer programming.





Ibrahim Fatkullin

statistical mechanics, artificial intelligence, computer graphics

 ability to program Yes Yes No 8/16/2022
Karl Glasner Pattern formation on graphs; view description. ODEs, Linear Algebra, experience with MATLAB. Ideally one or more of: Graph Theory (math 443), Dynamical Systems (math454), PDEs (math456), Numerical Methods (math475) Yes Yes Ask


Karl Glasner Dynamics of self assembly at the nanoscale; view description. ODEs, some experience with MATLAB. Ideally one or more of: Dynamical Systems (math454), PDEs (math456), Numerical Methods (math475). Yes Yes Ask


David Glickenstein

Developing computer software to visualize abstract geometries and polyhedral geometries (like the dodecahedron). Study of differential equations that deform arbitrary embeddings of graphs into "nice" embeddings for graphs.

Basic linear algebra, differential equations. Topology can be a plus, but not necessary. General mathematical sophistication. Some computer science/programming background is a plus.





Doug Haessig

Mainly number theory, although I have worked with undergrads on a variety of topics outside of number theory. None Yes Yes No 9/2/2021

Christopher Henderson

Analysis of partial differential equations (PDE) and/or ordinary differential equations related to PDE  Math 313, Math 355, perhaps a bit of coding, Math 425 is a plus Yes Yes Ask 8/16/2022

Yi Hu

Geometry:  Study the space of three and four point configurations on the (projective) plane.

good command of Linear Algebra





Christoph Keller

 Research in Quantum Field Theory and String Theory. Current projects involve: Finite Groups; Lattices; Vertex Operator Algebras; Conformal Field Theory  Linear Algebra; Complex Variables  Yes Yes Maybe 12/4/2018
Tom Kennedy  Self-avoiding random walks. More detail at :  Math 464. Some programming experience would be helpful, but not required.  Yes Yes Yes 12/2/2018

Kevin Lin

Nonlinear dynamics; Monte Carlo methods; machine learning.
Minimum prerequisites are the calculus sequence, linear algebra (313), and differential equations (254 or 355). Some probability (363 or higher) a bonus, and 464 and/or 454 would be great but not required. Programming ability or willingness to learn by doing a must. Yes  Yes Maybe 9/2/2021

Klaus Lux

Computational Group Theory;
Computer Algebra

413 Linear Algebra or
415A Abstract Algebra





John Peca-Medlin

Random matrix theory (general theory, modeling applications) Undergrad probability sequence, measure theory (intro level), basic coding (e.g., MATLAB, python, Julia) Yes Yes No 9/2/2021
Douglas Pickrell (Planning to go on sabbatical in 2022). power series identities; conformal mappings linear algebra, complex variables.  Yes Yes Maybe 9/7/2021
Walter Piegorsch Statistical inference; Quantitative risk analysis MATH 466; DATA 467 Yes Yes No 9/2/2021
Robert Sims Mathematical Physics; also see Dr. Sims' website Linear Algebra and Differential Equations Yes Yes No 8/16/2022
Doug Ulmer Number theory, algebraic geometry, possibly cryptography.  Abstract algebra required. Some geometry and/or complex analysis would be helpful.  Yes Yes Yes 9/2/2021
Shankar Venkataramani Differential equations and modeling physical phenomena;
Geometry and applications; Problems in Complex analysis
Math 254/Math 355 (for Differential equations);
Math 323 (for all the problems); MATH 425 (for Complex analysis).
Yes Yes Yes 9/12/2014
Weinan Wang Fluid dynamics; Partial Differential Equations; COVID-19 related PDE models Real analysis; advanced partial differential equations No Yes Ask 8/16/2022
Hang Xue Number Theory, Representation Theory solid background in linear algebra and abstract algebra Yes Yes No 8/16/2022

*Honors Thesis MATH 498H credit available to students in the Honors College.

**Restrictions may apply. Ask the individual faculty member for details.