These guidelines are intended for students writing a thesis or project report for a Third Year Project Course, Honours year or Postgraduate Coursework Project.
Postgraduate research students should see Information about Research Theses for postgraduate research students.
Before you start your Honours or Project year, you should speak to members of staff about possible thesis topics. Find out who works in the areas that you are interested in and who you find it easy to talk mathematics with. If at all possible, settle on a topic and supervisor before the start of the first semester of your Honours or Project year.
Most students see their supervisor about once a week, although this is usually open to negotiation between the student and the supervisor. Even if you haven't done much between visits it is a good idea to have a regular chat so that your supervisor can keep track of how you are going. You can expect your supervisor to:
Your thesis or project report is an overview of what you have been studying in your Honours or Project year. Write it as if you were trying to explain the area of mathematics or statistics that you have been looking at to a fellow student.
Generally, mathematics reports and theses are almost always typed in LaTeX. If you are going to type it yourself, you should allow a certain amount of time to become familiar with this software. Indeed, starting to learn LaTeX well before you actually want to write is a very good idea.
You should not underestimate the time it takes to produce a polished document. You will almost certainly need several drafts. It is very difficult to concentrate on getting the mathematics, spelling, grammar, layout, etc., all correct at once. Try getting another student to proofread what you have written - from their different viewpoint they may pick up on lots of things that you can't see.
P R Halmos (1970) in How to write mathematics, Enseignement Math. ((2) 16, 123-152) has the following advice:
"The basic problem in writing mathematics is the same as in writing biology, writing a novel, or writing directions for assembling a harpsichord: the problem is to communicate an idea. To do so, and to do it clearly:
That's all there is to it."
His other advice includes:
More information on how to write mathematics: