Math 490: Senior Seminar

Spring 2017


Description of final project is here.

Sample tex file for final project.

Study resources: Generating function notes (chapters 4-6)

Generatingfunctionology (parts of chapters 1-3)

Important Links

Instructor and Meeting Times

Instructor: Nathan McNew
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-11:50, Wednesdays 4:30--5:30 and by appointment
Office: 326 (2 × 163) 7800 York Road
Lecture: Tuesday and Thursday: 9:30--10:45 YR 127

Note that you do not need an appointment to attend regularly-scheduled office hours. If you have a conflict you may make an appointment to meet outside those times.

Course Description and Objectives

Course description:
Selected mathematical topics and their applications.

Course objectives: Through the study of the broad topic of integer sequences, students will learn to read and understand mathematics independently. This will include experience reading mathematical papers, and posing interesting mathematical questions, and then practice communicating mathematical concepts both in written and verbal form.

Prerequisites: senior standing and a grade of C or better in MATH 331 and MATH 369; or permission of instructor.


The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. Other selected resources will also be posted here.


A number of problem sets will be posted on the homeworks tab of this page. Students will need to prepare written solutions for each of these problems, and these problems will be graded. These written solutions must be turned in before the corresponding class discussion of the solution for the solution to receive full credit. Students will be asked to participate in class, by leading discussions, working out problems, and presenting material. In particular, students will be asked to introduce the material under discussion to the class, and these presentations will be graded. Students will also be given writing assignments. Students will be required to complete a final project. Details on the final project will be given to the class in March. As part of the project, students will write a final paper, and will give a public presentation to the class and the mathematics department faculty.

Expect to spend a substantial amount of time studying, working on homework and preparing for the course. The general rule is two to three hours outside class for each hour inside; this translates to about 6-9 hours of homework and personal study per week. Additionally, each student is responsible for writing up notes describing what was covered during one of the lectures during the term. These notes should be written up clearly using latex and submitted to the instructor within a week of the class period. Students are also encouraged to include additional examples/explanation. Notes will be posted for use by the rest of the class. Sign up for class periods here. Note: this will count as one homework assignment.


There will be a single midterm exam covering the conceptual aspects of the course.

Thursday, April 13

If you have a conflict with a scheduled exam contact your instructor as soon as possible.


Grades will be assigned based on homework, in class presentations and participation, and labs and exams. They will be weighted in the students final grade as follows:

Homework, and typed course notes 25%
Class participation and presentations 15%
Midterm 20%
Final Presentation 15%
Final Paper 25%

Disabilities and Religious Observances

Any students with disabilities, including "invisible" disabilities such as chronic diseases and learning disabilities are encouraged to discuss appropriate accommodations with the instructor, either after class or during office hours.

Towson University is committed to providing equal access to its programs and services for students with disabilities, Students with disabilities should visit the Disabilities Services Web page, to learn about how to arrange for any appropriate accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to let the instructor know when he/she is a student with needs in this area. A memo from Disability Support Services (DSS) authorizing your accommodations will be needed.

If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Course Policies

Academic Integrity: This class is conducted in accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy. Cheating or plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. In particular:

On Exams: No assistance may be given or received except that you may ask the instructor for clarification of a problem. Calculators are not permitted.

On Homework: You are permitted and encouraged to collaborate with other students on the homework. However, after discussing the problems, you must write up the final solutions in your own words. You may use calculators and approved software. Additionally, you may consult your class notes and text. It is not permitted for someone to provide the answers for you. It is also not permitted to submit answers found on the internet as your own work.

See this page for more about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Class attendance is expected. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get the material and the homework assignment from your fellow students.

Diversity Statement: Towson University values diversity and fosters a climate that is grounded in respect and inclusion, enriches the educational experience of students, supports positive classroom and workplace environments, promotes excellence, and cultivates the intellectual and personal growth of the entire university community.

Last modified 29 January 2017.