Mathematics and Statistics
Member of the Division of Science
Study of the mathematical sciences develops logical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and creative problem solving skills. The curriculum of the department is divided into two basic parts: mathematics and statistics. Each provides a combination of fundamental theory and widely applicable material of interest to all students of the liberal arts. The curriculum further prepares students for graduate study in fields like mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, and economics. Majors pursue careers in many areas, including law, software engineering, actuarial analysis, teaching, and research.
Depending on their background and interests, students may enter the study of mathematics and statistics at different points. First year students are given a suggested placement when they arrive on campus, and are strongly encouraged to consult with faculty about their initial placement during New Student Orientation (NSO).
Students can follow a number of different paths through the 300-level course offerings, depending on the student’s interest. In addition, opportunities to work on challenging problems are presented in the Putnam Examination and the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, both of which are national mathematics competitions. Many students present talks in the Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminar. Visiting lecturers extend the curriculum beyond the classroom, as do opportunities for students to do summer research.
Major Requirements: A minimum of 32 credits
Core Requirements: 16 credits
Sequence Requirement: One of the following sequences: 8 credits
- 16 of the 32 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level, including those courses listed above.
- Courses numbered 297, 299, 397, 399, 499 (MAPs), plus-2’s and below 123 do not satisfy major requirements.
- With departmental approval, 4 credits of computer science may count towards the mathematics major.
Up to 8 credits can be earned for any combination of MAT 123 , MAT 124 , or MAT 131 , subject to the following constraints:
1. Upon successful completion (grade C or better) of either MAT 124 or MAT 131 , no further credits may be earned in any of these three courses.
2. If a student completes all three of MAT 123 , MAT 124 , or MAT 131 , the student’s credit is canceled in the first of these courses in which the student earned a grade of D or F. Also, the grade for that course will no longer be counted in computing the student’s G.P.A.
To be considered for honors in mathematics, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must demonstrate excellence in the major. Honors are determined by committee on a case-by-case basis. Majors are encouraged to discuss their eligibility for honors with their adviser before the spring semester of their senior year. The department applies the following criteria:
- Excellent performance in two areas of upper division mathematics and statistics courses:
Algebra MAT 321 - MAT 322
Analysis MAT 316 - MAT 317
Probability and Statistics MAT 335 or the cross-listed STA 335 - MAT 336 or the cross-listed STA 336
Applied Statistics STA 309 - STA 310
Applied Mathematics MAT 306 - MAT 314
- Participation in local activities related to mathematics, judged to be excellent by members of the department. Such activities might include completing the senior seminar, giving Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminar talks, actively participating in the Problem-Solving Seminar, doing independent projects in mathematics, or carrying out summer research under the direction of members of the department;
- Performance in the study or use of mathematics judged to be excellent by mathematicians outside the department. Evidence of such performance might include an outstanding score in the Putnam Competition or the Iowa Mathematics Competition, a score at or above the 75th percentile on the Graduate Record Examination in Mathematics, a passing score on actuarial exams, an award in the Mathematical Competition in Modeling, a refereed talk at a mathematical conference or colloquium, a paper accepted by a refereed mathematical journal, or summer research conducted elsewhere.
Mathematics and Statistics Courses