Senior Capstone Experience

Majors in mathematics should have a thesis topic selected and approved by the end of the junior year. For students with double majors in mathematics one thesis may satisfy the thesis requirement for both majors.


The Senior Capstone in mathematics consists of two components: a senior thesis and oral presentation, as well as the solution and oral presentation of six approved problems or equivalent. Capstone problems may be selected from a list of approved problems or from current issues of journals (see sidebar).

For students with double majors in mathematics and computer science, the senior programming project may be awarded credit for some of the problems to be done as part of the Senior Capstone Experience for a major in mathematics. 

Students may also earn credit for as many as three problems solved while participating in the annual ACM Programming Contest or the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

Departmental Support

Weekly seminars are scheduled to provide information about careers, graduate school, thesis ideas, and research areas, as well as to enable each major to make the required presentation on the thesis or programming project.

The Senior Capstone Experience is graded as Pass, Fail, or Honors.




  • Examination of the Hook Length Formula for Counting Standard Young Tableaux Spencer Russell
  • The Mathematics of Art in Sol LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes Jack Nevins
  • Using Lie Symmeries to Solve Differential Equations Simon Checknoff
  • An Experimental Study of Time-Reversal Acoustics Molly Flowers
  • Optimal Control Theory: Dynamic Programming of Solar Panel Consumption Kevin McCormick
  • Construction and Characterization of a He-Ne Laser Justin Yerkie
  • The Shortest Distance between Two Disjoint, Ellipses in Space Jianan Li

  • Linear Regression and Principal Component, Analysis Hongjun Wu
  • Counter Example ofHedetniemi's Conjecture Chenyi Lou


  • Soccer Predictions Using Machine Learning  Courtney Colbert, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Recurrent Neural Networks for Dance Action Recognition Caroline Cox, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • The Hidden Mathematics of Music Alyssa Robison, Mathematics and Music
  • The Design and Implementation of Digital Signature Algorithms in Bitcoin’s Blockchain Jessica Dixon, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Elliptic Integrals and Functions Qiuda Lyu, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Using Probability Method to Analyze the Stock Price Sheng Mi, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Fantastic Knots and How to Tie, Them Abigail Burnett, Mathematics and Political Science

  • Multi-Class Image Classification Using Machine, Learning Robert Clark, Computer Science and Mathematics

  • BRDFs and Rendering Brian Rabner, Computer Science and Mathematics

  • STAT CAST Sabermetrics in Basebal Ryan Zwier, Computer Science and Mathematics
  • Passed Mathematics Comprehensive Exam, Passed Economics Comprehensive Exam Adidev Roy, Economics and Mathematics

  • Wagering on Pascal: An Explication and Defense Allison Hinshaw, Philosophy and Mathematics
  • The Politics of Vaping: Does public policy, align with public opinion among college students? A, statistical analysis of Washington College students' vaping , habits and attitudes. Molly Gorney, Political Science and Mathematics

  • An Overview of Quantum Computing and, Its Applications Patrick Berry, Physics and Mathematics


Sample Thesis Timeline

Before Jr. Year

 Explore and Learn

Take advantage of the diverse offering of courses here at Washington College and within the Department of Philosophy and Religion to explore your interests and find topics/subjects that resonate with you.

Juinor Year

 Hone your ideas

Enrolling in PHL 435 (Philosophical Methods) during the fall of your juinor year will provide an excellent opportunity to turn your philosophical interests into workable philosophical questions. At the conclusion of your junior year, you'll be given the SCE guidlines packet mentioned above. Juiniors are asked to submit a summer research plan where they detail steps to turn their philosophical questions into research proposals. 

Fall of Senior Year

 Propose Your Thesis

Having spent the summer researching your questions, you will spend the fall working on your thesis proposal, annotated bibliography, and yes the thesis itself! You will work with your peers in the department and the faculty in refining the scope and scale of your thesis, when it is deemed ready, you will start the writing process. 

Spring of Senior Year

 Write Your Thesis

You will be encouraged to take advantage of winter break to create as much of a working draft on your thesis as possible, using the spring semester to then turn your work from a draft to a polished thesis paper. Seniors who follow all the departmental deadlines and submit a polished, well reasoned paper will be considered for departmental honors come graduation.