SHSU Mathematics Students Shine in COMAP Contest

directed studyENGL 5339, an “independent study,” allows a student to work under the close supervision of a graduate faculty mentor on a topic of academic interest not covered specifically in any classes. 


The ENGL 5339 option offers a wonderful opportunity for specialized study. But to ensure that a student has both a significant project and serious intent in undertaking the project, the following restrictions apply: 

1. The directed study is available only to students who have been admitted into the English graduate program in regular admission status and who have completed ENGL 5330, Graduate Research: Methods and Theories

2. The directed study is reserved for very carefully considered scholarly or creative work and should not be taken to circumvent regular course requirements or to accommodate the student’s convenience. 

3. A student may not take a directed study in a course that is taught in the classroom during her or his time in the graduate program (for example, a literature course or internship that is a regular class in the graduate rotation). 

4. The directed study may not be substituted for a block course

5. A student may not use the directed study course as a thesis or comprehensive examination prep course. 

6. A student may take no more than two such classes during her or his graduate career at Sam Houston State University. 


In order to arrange for a directed study course on a carefully considered topic, follow these steps: 

1. Choose as a director for your study a graduate English faculty member who is qualified by academic training or interest to direct the project. A graduate faculty member is allowed to undertake a single ENGL 5339 during a semester, so approach the director early. 

2. Prepare a detailed directed study proposal that 

  • outlines the rationale and objectives of the course: What critical question are you setting out to investigate/solve? What contribution will the project make to your personal development as a scholar or creative writer? What contribution will the project make to the larger academic or creative community? 
  • describes the study in sufficient detail: What are the nature and scope of the proposed project? What methodologies will you use in undertaking the study? 
  • describes in detail the course requirements and methods of evaluation. 
  • presents a week-by-week schedule of readings, meetings, and assignments for the proposed study. 
  • presents a detailed bibliography for the proposed study, to include definitive editions of primary works, as appropriate. 

For further guidance, see the model directed study proposal

3. Submit the course proposal to the supervising graduate faculty member for approval. 

4. Submit the proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies by the posted deadline in the previous term. It is easiest to send the proposal as an e-mail attachment in Microsoft Word. The graduate director and Chair of the Department of English will review the proposal, considering the following: 

  • the significance of the project 
  • the thoroughness and carefulness of the proposal 
  • the realistic possibilities for accomplishing the goals of the project 
  • class enrollments: The University has minimum enrollment numbers required for a graduate class to “make,” and we are committed first to ensuring that classes are filled. 

Acceptance of the proposal is not pro forma: The graduate director and Chair may reject the proposal or ask for revisions. 

If the proposal is approved, you will sign the directed study proposal cover sheet, secure the signature of your faculty supervisor, and submit the final version of the proposal and the cover sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies by the posted deadline. The graduate director and Chair will sign the approval sheet; then the Chair will open up a slot in ENGL 5339 so that you may enroll. 




Spring 2017

December 2, 2016 (Last Class Day of Fall Term)  

Summer 2017

May 5, 2017 (Last Class Day of Spring Term) 

Fall 2017

June 27, 2017 (Last Class Day of Summer I Term)

Spring 2018

December 1, 2017 (Last Class Day of Fall Term)

mcm teamThree undergraduate mathematics students from Sam Houston State University scored high in the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP)’s Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM), which challenges teams of students to clarify, analyze, and propose solutions to open-ended problems. 

Austin Ramsden, Kerrie Prieto, and Andrew Anderson(left to right, at right) represented SHSU in the contest. Kerrie was competing for the second year in a row, while the other two were first-time competitors. The team was mentored by Assistant Professor Edward Swim of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. 

The SHSU team – one of more than 6,700 teams around the world participating in the competition - was ranked in the Meritorious Winner category for MCM Problem B (teams could choose from three different modeling problems. Problem B involves discrete modeling). Only 656 such teams earned the Meritorious Winner designation, of which only 40 came from the U.S. 

The team’s ranking placed them in the top nine percent of all papers submitted worldwide for their problem. Their performance earned them rankings comparable to those of teams from other prestigious American universities, including Colgate, Duke, the University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Virginia Tech.

COMAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving mathematics education for students of all ages. As the organization states on its website: “COMAP develops curriculum materials and teacher development programs that are multidisciplinary, academically rigorous, and fun for teachers to teach and students to learn. COMAP's educational philosophy is centered around mathematical modeling: using mathematical tools to explore real-world problems.”

The College of Sciences and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is proud of Andrew’s, Kerrie’s, and Austin’s performance in the MCM contest, and encourages them and other SHSU students to participate in future academic competitions as they pursue their degrees.