Requirements for Major
The study of mathematics is motivated by its wide applicability and its intrinsic beauty. Mathematical theories often grow out of problems that appear in the physical and biological sciences, engineering, economics, finance and the social sciences. Applications often draw on mathematics that was created for completely different purposes. The mathematics program at William and Mary allows students to design a major based on their own interests and career goals and prepares students for post-baccalaureate employment and for further study of mathematical sciences and related disciplines. There are three concentrations within the major – the Standard Concentration, the Applied Mathematics Concentration and the Pre-College Mathematics Teaching Concentration. Study options include applied and pure mathematics, operations research, statistics, and teaching at the elementary or secondary level. Students can also design elective programs needed for careers in actuarial science and industrial mathematics, for interdisciplinary work in fields such as economics, business and social sciences, or for graduate studies.
Information about the mathematics major, career choices and appropriate courses of study is available from the department’s academic advisors and the Office of Career Services as well as informally from the mathematics faculty.
Major Writing Requirement:
A student in any Mathematics major concentration satisfies the upper-division mathematics writing requirement in one of the following ways:
- Completion of Math 300 with a grade of C- or better, which requires the writing of an expository paper on some mathematical topic
- Completion of MATH 495 -MATH 496 with a grade of C- or better, which requires the writing of an Honors thesis;
For either of these options, the student registers for the course in a section corresponding to the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the student. For students In the Pre-College Mathematics Teaching Concentration, the writing requirement must incorporate some element of the history of mathematics.
Computer Proficiency Requirements:
A student in any Mathematics major concentration must show proficiency in some high-level computer programming language at the level of CSCI 141 . This is normally done by receiving a grade of at least C- in CSCI 141 . Exceptions require the department chair’s permission.
In addition, students in the Applied Concentration must demonstrate proficiency at the level of CSCI 241 . This is normally done by taking and passing this course.
Enriching the Mathematics Major:
The requirements described below are the minimal requirements for the mathematics major, and most mathematics majors take courses beyond that minimum. Students wishing to obtain a deeper understanding of mathematics (e.g., in preparation for graduate school) should take additional upper-division courses. Second courses to make year-long sequences in linear algebra, analysis, abstract algebra, numerical analysis, statistics, or operations research are particularly recommended.
The Applied Mathematics Concentration
This concentration is designed for students who want to pursue applications of mathematics or a double major in mathematics and another discipline. The major requirements of the Applied Mathematics Concentration are:
- Completing the major writing requirement and computer proficiency requirement as described above.
- MATH 307 - Abstract Algebra (3) or
- MATH 311 - Elementary Analysis (3)
- † MATH 495 - Honors (3)
- † MATH 496 - Honors (3)
- Plus at least five distinct three-credit courses at the 300-400 level chosen from the four applied areas listed below and meeting both the breadth and depth requirement (for a total of at least eight upper-division courses).
- (Excluding Math 495-6), at least six distinct three-credit courses at the 300-400 level with at least five being chosen from the four applied areas listed below and meeting the breadth and depth requirement (for a total of at least seven upper-division courses).
Three distinct courses, one from three of the four applied areas listed below;
Three courses within one of the four areas below. One of these courses may be one of the courses satisfying the breadth requirement.
The four applied areas within the applied concentration, and their associated courses, are:
The courses listed below, and, with permission of the Mathematics department chair and the instructor, any other courses in the Computational Operations Research program, taken as independent study courses. In addition, CSCI 303 may be counted for the purpose of satisfying the depth requirement in computational mathematics.
The courses below, and (with permission of the Mathematics department chair and the instructor) any other courses in the Computational Operations Research program, taken as independent study courses. In addition, if a student elects to fulfill the depth requirement in Operations Research, then (and only then) MATH 401 may be counted toward Operations Research rather than toward Probability and Statistics;
Probability and Statistics:
The courses below, and (with permission of the Mathematics department chair and the instructor) CSCI 616 and CSCI 680 taken as independent study courses;
The courses below, and (with permission of the Mathematics department chair and the instructor) CSCI 616 and CSCI 680 taken as independent study courses.
The department chair may allow appropriate three-credit sections of MATH 380 and MATH 410 to count toward applied areas in this concentration.
Note that in the computing requirement discussed above, students must show proficiency at the level of CSCI 241 . Students who are considering graduate school in mathematics are strongly advised to take both MATH 307 and MATH 311 .
Entering students may receive credit for mathematics courses through AP or IB and transfer credit. In each of the mathematics major concentrations, well-prepared students may begin their studies beyond MATH 111 without receiving credit for earlier courses listed in the core requirements section of each concentration. Each skipped course for which the student does not receive credit must be replaced by an additional three-credit 300-400 level mathematics course.