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Mathematics Major and Minor


A solid background in mathematics provides an excellent foundation for any quantitative discipline as well as many professions — many students go on to professional studies in law, medicine, or business. For more information, see Benefits of Majoring in Mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics offers an undergraduate major with a high degree of flexibility. Three tracks are available:

    • Program I (Standard Track) is intended for most mathematics majors in the College of Arts and Science, Blair School of Music, and Peabody College.
    • Program II (Applied Track) is intended for students in the School of Engineering who elect a second major in mathematics, but is also available for other students.
    • Program III (Honors Track) is intended for highly qualified students who either plan for graduate studies in mathematics or plan to graduate with departmental honors. Students who complete this program and, in addition, complete a senior thesis will graduate with departmental honors.

The official requirements for a math major or minor are specified in the Mathematics Section of the College of Arts and Science Section of the Undergraduate Catalog.


General policy

If you need to deviate from the stated requirements in the catalog, please discuss your situation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). The DUS will submit a “variance request” to the College of Arts and Science, which oversees the math major and minor (even if you are not an A&S student). When the College approves the variance request, appropriate notes will be made in your online degree audit.

Sometimes a variance request is needed even for situations where you satisfy the catalog requirements (for example, for students taking Math 2400, as described below).

Including Math 2410 or 2420 in Program I and III of the math major

Program I (Standard Track) and Program III (Honors Track) of the math major specifies ONLY Math 2600 or 2500/2501 for the linear algebra requirement, and ONLY Math 2610 for the differential equations requirement. Once you have declared a math major, you CANNOT satisfy these requirements with Math 2410 or Math 2420, respectively.

However, sometimes students take Math 2410 or 2420 before they declare a math major, because they were not originally planning to major in math. If you take Math 2410 before you declare your math major, we will permit you to count it for the linear algebra requirement in Program I, and if you take Math 2420 before you declare your math major, we will permit you to count it for the differential equations requirement in Program I.

Anyone intending to pursue Program I or III of the math major should plan to take 2600 (or 2500/2501) and 2610, NOT 2410 and 2420.

Non-math courses counting toward Program II of the math major

Program II requires students to take at least 6 hours of advanced, mathematically-based science or engineering courses approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS).

If you complete a major in physics or any engineering discipline, you automatically satisfy this requirement.

In other cases you should discuss your situation with the DUS, and have the DUS submit a variance request to take care of this. Some courses that the DUS may be prepared to count towards this requirement include:

      • Chem 2100 (analytical chemistry), 3300, or 3310 (physical chemistry I and II).
      • Econ 3050 (econometrics), 4220 (Social Choice Theory) and 4260 (game theory).

However, individual approval from the DUS for your specific situation is still required: you do not automatically qualify by taking at least 6 hours from these courses.

Updated JR, Nov 11, 2013