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3-2 Engineering

Students who are interested in majoring in mathematics and participating in the 3-2 Program in Engineering should consult with the director of that program and the chair of the department.


The Gertrude McBrien Prize in Mathematics

The McBrien prize is awarded to the outstanding mathematics major (or majors) in each graduating class. The selection is based on whether students have chosen challenging course programs, the grades they have earned in their mathematics courses, and also takes into account any research projects they may have worked on and their plans after graduation.

List of Recipients

2018: Michelle Yu
2017: Sarah Tymochko; Emily.T. Winn
2016: Tim Arnold
2015: Melissa McGuirl; Gopal Yalla
2014: Molly Lynch
2013: Emma Colbert
2012: Rebecca Moran
2011: M. Zemsky
2010: Jonathan Root
2009: Jonathon D. Madore
2008: Katherine Fitzpatrick
2007: Candida L. Desjardins; Renee A. Laverdiere
2006: Ellen K. Gasparovic
2005: Trevor M. O'Brien
2004: Richard D. Ghiorse; Catherine A. Ballway
2003: Daniel M. Conti; Nora K. Newman
2002: Thomas J. Emmerling; Alison C. McCarthy
2001: Kelly M. Dease; Kevin W. Germino
2000: Melissa A. Boyle
1999: Jennifer R. Paulhus
1998: Lauren M. Estvanik; Aaron M. Qureshi
1997: Michael S. Glode; Rebecca Y. Martel; Gregory L. Cate
1996: Patricia M. Cordeiro; Joseph D. DiRocco
1995: Elimari Sanchez
1994: Meghan A. Gillin
1993: Meredith R. Putnam
1992: Steven P. Levandosky
1991: Maureen A. Cavanaugh
1990: Tamara S. Trombetta
1989: David M. Banach; John G. Birge
1988: Carol A. Markey
1987: Ruth M. Eberle; Peter J. Manyin; Christopher A. Butler
1986: Joseph A. Iaia
1985: Melissa L. McCormack; Michael E. Manyin
1984: Stephen L. Parente
1983: Donald L. Farley
1982: Joseph J. Nicosia
1981: Richard M. Freije
1980: Kathleen M. Shannon; James W. Smith
1979: Sharon A. Oppelt; Veronica G. Falcao
1978: Robert N. Hinckley; Juanita I. Fernandez
1977: Thomas M. DiScipio; Peter H. Fontaine; Michael P. Malanoski
1976: Gary B. Page
1975: Paul Michael Hurley
1974: Henry P. Miranda; Roger J. Seminara
1973: John D. Cutting; Michael P. Lilly; William M. Waters
1972: No Prize Awarded
1971: Frank L. Capobianco; Richard H. Lady
1970: John M. DeCiccio; Kevin J. Leary; Robert J. Stokes
1969: Peter A. Bloniarz; Robert L. Devaney
1968: Richard J. Bonneau
1967: John D. McInerney; Charles F. Peltier
1966: C. Samuel Sinnett; Joseph M. Fitzgerald
1965: Peter J. Kiernan; Michael A. Thoma
1964: Dennis H. O’Brien
1963: Anthony D. Fanning
1962: Raymond J. Cannon
1961: Charles H. Clemens

The Rev. John J. MacDonnell Prize in Computer Science

The MacDonnell prize may be awarded to the outstanding computer science major in each graduating class.  The selection is based on whether students have chosen challenging course programs, the grades they have earned in their courses, and also takes into account any research projects they may have worked on and their plans after graduation.

List of Recipients

2019: Chris Roy
2018: Lucca Eloy
2017: Olivia Lau
2016: Joe DiSabito
2015: Sam Silberstein
2014: Stephen Pettinati
2013: Michael Pettinati
2012: No Prize Awarded
2011: Christina D'Ambrogio
2010: Stephen Kondak
2009: John G. "Jack" Singleton
2008: No Prize Awarded
2007: John R. Speer
2006: Robert T. Truxler
2005: Elizabeth M. VomScheidt

Honors Programs

Honors Program in Mathematics

The program has two levels of distinction, Honors and High Honors. High Honors is distinguished from Honors by the successful completion of an honors thesis. Any questions concerning the program should be directed to the department chair.

GPA requirements for Honors and High Honors: The average GPA for mathematics courses above the level of Mathematics 136 must be at least 3.50 at the end of the fall semester of the fourth year.

Course Requirements for Honors and High Honors: All regular course requirements for the mathematics major. In addition, for Honors, students must take at least seven courses numbered above 300. Students in the classes of 2018 and 2019 must take at least one course in each of the areas of Analysis, Algebra, Geometry/Topology, and Applied Mathematics/Statistics.

Fourth-Year Honors Presentation: During the fourth year all Honors majors must give an oral presentation open to the department. This may be related to their course work but it is not intended to duplicate material normally in the curriculum. It may be a presentation that originated in a project course. The goal is to ensure a certain degree of mathematical literacy among the Honors majors.

Fourth-Year Honors Thesis for High Honors: This is a large project typically extending over the course of the fourth year. The thesis can either consist of original research or be of an expository nature and is written under the guidance of one or more members of the department. It will culminate in an oral presentation during the spring term of the fourth year, which will be accompanied by a written report of the year’s work. Typically, a student earns one unit in each semester of the fourth year for completion of the thesis.

Honors Program in Computer Science

Course Requirements for High Honors: Students must complete all regular course requirements for the computer science major. In addition, for High Honors, students must take six courses numbered above 300 and complete a fourth-year honors thesis. This is a large project extending over the course of the fourth year. The thesis can either consist of original research or be of an expository nature and is written under the guidance of one or more members of the department.

GPA Requirement for High Honors: The average GPA for courses in computer science must be at least 3.50 at the end of the fall semester of the fourth year.


Many of our students find meaningful summer internships that let them explore different career options and build contacts.

Mathematics and Computer Science Club

The Mathematics and Computer Science Club is a place for students and faculty to gather. Led by an elected student president and vice-president, along with two volunteer faculty advisors, the club hosts a number computer-science and math-related events throughout the year, including programming contests, a Pi Day celebration, and a yearly "amazing race" in which teams compete to solve puzzles while exploring campus.

The club meets weekly for tea and games, and holds special events throughout the year, such as holiday parties, movie nights, and an annual department banquet. The club also serves as a meeting place for discussions about summer internships, careers, and graduate school, and study abroad opportunities for math and computer science students.

All are welcome to join!

National Mathematics Honor Society

Holy Cross has an active chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society.  Students are elected each year based on their achievement in their mathematics courses.  There is an induction ceremony each April in conjunction with a Department Colloquium and a banquet for all mathematics and computer science majors. 

Peer Tutoring

Computer Science

Our introductory sequence in the computer science program (CSCI 131 and CSCI 132) include an important computer programming component through weekly lab sessions and programming assignments.

Computer science majors and minors who have completed these courses and done well have the opportunity to become teaching assistants. Our teaching assistants are assigned to a particular course and work with the professor during lab to answer student questions as well as assist in grading assignments.

In addition to in-class teaching assistants, students have the opportunity to be teaching assistants who hold evening office hours in the computer lab where students can ask questions on assignments for the introductory courses. From answering student questions and grading assignments, our teaching assistants see different approaches to solving problems and learn to explain important concepts from computer science in many different ways. These are valuable skills that advance their development both as a programmer and a computer science student.

Seminars and Colloquia

Speakers frequently visit campus to give talks to students and faculty about relevant subject matter.


  •   Cathy O'Neil, O'Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing, “Weapons of Math Destruction”
Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture, 4:30 p.m., April 2, 2020.
  •   Scott Field, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, “Discovering Black Holes and Gravitational Waves: Simulation and Data Science”
February 19, 2020.


  •   Andrea Arnold, WPI, “Inverse Problems, Parameter Estimation, and Uncertainty Quantification from a Bayesian Perspective”
November 7, 2019.
  •   Luis Sordo Vieira, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, “Multiscale Modeling of Disease”
October 24, 2019.
  •   Margaret Beck, Boston University, “ODEs in Infinite Dimensions”
Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) ceremony and colloquium, May 1, 2019.
  •   Melody Chan, Brown University, “What is a Moduli Space?”
Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture, 4:30 p.m., April 25, 2019.
  •   IIesanmi Adeboye, Wesleyan University, “Euler's Equation and the Philosophy of Numbers”
March 27, 2019.
  •   Katie Kinnaird, Smith College, “Comparing Songs without Listening: From Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science to Music and Back Again”
February 7, 2019.


  •   Suzanne Crifo HC'13, North Carolina State University, “An Introduction to Finite and Affine Lie Algebras and their Representation Theory”
December 3, 2018.
  •   Adam Sullivan, Brown University, “Making the Case for Using a Simple and Modifiable Neighborhood Risk Index”
October 25, 2018.
  •   Lorin Crawford, Brown University, “Statistical Methods and Applications to Molecular Biology”
Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) ceremony and colloquium, May 3, 2018.
  •   Carl Pomerance, Dartmouth College, “What We Still Don't Know About Addition and Multiplication”
Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture, 4:30 p.m., April 23, 2018.
  •   Sarah Olson, WPI, “Collective Motion: From Computational Fluid Dynamics to Agent Based Models”
April 9, 2018.


  •  Alison Cheung, HC'06, MIT Lincoln Labs, “Why is MATLAB the Language of Technical Computing”
November 9, 2017.
  •  Kevin Lannon, Notre Dame, “Data Mining at the Large Hadron Collider”
November 2, 2017.
  •  Leila Setayeshgar, Providence College, “Bayes’ Rule and the Law”
October 25, 2017.
  •  Padraig O Cathain, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, “User-Private Information Retrieval via Finite Geometry”
September 27, 2017.
  •  Amanda Folsom, Amherst College, “Patterns and Fractals in Numbers”
Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) ceremony and colloquium, May 4, 2017.
  •  Jordan Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin, “How to use math to get rich in the lottery”*
           *will not actually help you get rich in the lottery
Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture in Mathematics, April 19, 2017.
  •  Anne Sizemore, University of Pennsylvania, “Cliques and cavities in neuroscience”
April 3, 2017.
  •  Suzanne L. Weekes, WPI, “A Multi-compartment Mathematical Model of Cancer stem Cell Driven Solid Tumor Growth Dynamics”
March 22, 2017.
  •  Sara Kalisnik Verovsek, Brown University, “The Shape of Data”
February 13, 2017.
  •  Matthew Whitehead, Colorado College, “Automated Opinion Classification using Machine Learning Ensembles”
February 6, 2017.
  •  Zack Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. Candidate, Rochester Institute of Technology, “Computationally Studying Elections”
January 31, 2017.
  •  James Glenn, Amherst College, “2, 4, 7, 8, what do we appreciate? Communication Complexity!” 
January 25, 2017.

For a list of past seminars and colloquia, view the archive list.

Student Presentations

The following talks, given by senior students in the departmental honors programs, reported on work done over the course of an academic year.  In some cases, the work began as summer research and continued to a thesis project.


  •  Yuwei Cheng '20, (Advisor: Professor ), “Understanding Genetic Risk in Schizophrenia: A Machine Learning Approach to Variable Selection in a High-Dimensional Bayesian Path Analysis,” February 25, 2020.
  •  Yuwei Cheng '20, (Advisor: Professor ), “Understanding Genetic Risk in Schizophrenia: A Machine Learning Approach to Variable Selection in a High-Dimensional Bayesian Path Analysis,” February 25, 2020.


  •  Caroline Galvinhill '18, (Advisor: Professor Thomas Cecil), “Exploring Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry,” May 8, 2018.
  •  Katie Heenan '18, (Advisor: Professor David Damiano ), “A Topological and Graphical Data Analysis of Simulated Ballistic Deposition,” May 8, 2018.
  •  Michell Yu '18, (Advisor: Professor Eric Ruggieri), “Detecting Change Points in Climate Records,” May 7, 2018.
  •  Lucca Eloy '18, (Advisor: Professor Stanzi Royden), “A Computational Model of Heading and Object Detection using Real-World Scenes,” May 7, 2018.
  •  Rich Bielak '18, (Advisor: Professor Cristina Ballantine), “A Combinatorial Proof of an Euler Type Identity due to Andrews,” May 4, 2018.
  •  Caitlin Harty '18, (Advisor: Professor Eric Ruggieri), “Analyzing Monopoly Using Statistical Computing,” May 2 2018.
  •  Cara Donovan '18, (Advisor: Professor ), “A Dynamical Systems Approach to Climate Modeling,” May 2, 2018.


  •  Bobby Eilbacher '17, (Advisor: Professor Alisa DeStefano), “Taming the Elements: How We Use Math to Predict the Weather,” May 10, 2017.
  •  Sarah Tymochko '17, (Advisor: Professor David Damiano), “Topological Data Analysis of Retinal Vasculature,” May 10, 2017.
  •  Olivia Lau '17, (Advisor: Professor Ed Soares), “Computation of Parkinson's Disease Related Patterns using PET Imaging,” May 9, 2017.
  •  Brian Toner '17, (Advisor: Professor Ed Soares), “Identification of Treatment Effect for Alzheimer's Disease Based on Blinded Clinical Data,” May 8, 2017.
  •  Emily Winn '17, (Advisor: Professor David Damiano), “Topological Modeling of Force Networks in Granular Materials,” May 8, 2017.


  •  J.C. Winslow '16, (Advisor: Kevin Walsh), “Analyzing Cell Phone Coverage near Worcester, MA Using Topological Landmarked Based Mapping,” May 10, 2016.

For a list of past presentations, view the archive list.

Study Abroad

Mathematics and computer science majors are encouraged to consider study abroad. Careful planning will usually be necessary in order to satisfy requirements for the major. A dedicated study abroad faculty advisor within each departmental program can help find and evaluate opportunities at universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and elsewhere. Interested students are strongly encouraged to consult with the study abroad faculty advisor early in the process, before applying for study abroad.

Visit the Study Abroad website for more information.

Teacher Education Program

Mathematics majors frequently participate in the Teacher Education Program (TEP), which prepares students for licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to taking courses in the major, students enroll in education courses specifically designed to promote excellence in teaching. The Holy Cross TEP places a special emphasis on issues surrounding urban education. 

Visit the Teacher Education Program website for more information.