Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Sunday, June 16, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2018-2019 Course Catalog

Required for the major in mathematics

Students who major in mathematics will develop the ability to learn mathematics independently, to express mathematical knowledge clearly and cogently, and to understand, critique, and construct mathematical arguments. They will apply the principles of careful argumentation—agree on meaning before debating truth, expose all (especially hidden) assumptions, abstract from examples, seek the underlying structure, apply logic pristinely—to critique arguments in other fields.

The major in mathematics requires the following:

  1. Complete or place out of the calculus sequence: MATH 140, 150, and 160
  2. One of the following:
    • MATH 210
    • MATH 220
    • MATH 240
  3. One computer science course numbered 110 or above (excluding 170)
  4. MATH 300 and 310
  5. 24 additional units in mathematics courses numbered 400 or above
  6. Completion of a 6-unit independent study project in at least one term of the senior year.

Course suggestions

In choosing courses beyond the core sequence, students should note that certain advanced courses may be particularly relevant to majors with specific interests or career goals. These lists offer suggestions; students are not expected to take all the courses in a given list.

  • Pure mathematics: 410, 525, 530, 535, 545, 550, 555, 560, 565, and 600
  • Computer science: 420, 435, 525, 555, and 565
  • Operations research: 410, 420, 435, 440, 445, 525, and 550
  • Applied mathematics: 410, 420, 435, 440, 445, 535, and 550
  • Statistics and actuarial science: 410, 420, 435, 440, 445, and 550
  • Engineering: 410, 420, 435, 440, 535, and 550
  • Secondary teaching: 410, 525, 530, 535, 545, 550, and 600

Required for the interdisciplinary major in mathematics-computer science

The major in mathematics-computer science prepares students to demonstrate independent learning in the context of an independent study project: to establish a project of appropriate scope; to identify appropriate approaches and problem-solving strategies, including the appropriate level of abstraction to apply to the project to design and implement software that satisfies the requirements of the project; and to communicate the results of the project work to others clearly using methods appropriate to the discipline of computer science.

The major in mathematics-computer science requires the following:

  1. The core sequence: MATH 140, 150, 160 and CMSC 150, 250, 270
  2. MATH 220 and 300
  3. CMSC 460, 510, 515
  4. 6 additional units in mathematics courses selected from:
    • MATH 310
    • MATH 420
    • MATH 525
  5. 6 additional units in a computer science course numbered 400 or above
  6. 6 additional units in a computer science course numbered 400 or above or selected from among MATH 310, 420, 525
  7. Completion of an independent study project prior to the Spring Term of the senior year
  8. CMSC 600 in the senior year

Required for the interdisciplinary major in mathematics-economics

Students who complete the major in mathematics-economics will pursue the outcomes described for the economics and mathematics majors with an explicit focus on economics in constructing and critiquing mathematical arguments.

The major in mathematics-economics requires the following:

  1. The mathematics component of the major is:
    • MATH 140, 150, 160, 240, 300, 310
    • Either MATH 435 or 445
    • 6 additional units in a mathematics course numbered 400 or above, with 435, 440, 445, or 560 recommended
  2. The economics component of the major is:
    • ECON 100
    • ECON 300, 320, and 380 (majors must take all three courses prior to completion of the junior year. The economics department must approve any exception.)
    • Any three six-unit courses numbered between 400 and 580
  3. The interdisciplinary component of the major is:
    • Completion of an independent study project that has been approved by both departments.
    • A major must have an advisor in each department.

Senior Experience in mathematics

The mathematics department's Senior Experience consists of a 6-unit (typically one-term) independent study project completed in the senior year. The project must demonstrate the capacity to learn mathematics (or statistics) independently or to utilize mathematics or mathematical technique as an innovative or substantive part of a larger project.

Interdisciplinary mathematics-economics majors must demonstrate the ability to combine topics in both disciplines—bringing appropriate techniques of mathematics or statistics to bear on the study of economics, or learning mathematics or statistics suggested by economic models

Interdisciplinary mathematics-computer science majors must complete their independent study project in two parts: an independent study in the Fall or Winter Term of the senior year (usually 3 units), followed by a presentation of their results in the Winter Term computer science senior seminar (3 units).

For mathematics and mathematics-computer science majors, the project must be approved and supervised by a faculty member in the mathematics department. For mathematics-economics majors, the project must be approved by a faculty member of each department and supervised by a member of one of the departments. Students should consult with departmental members in the spring before their senior year, in order to plan appropriately for their Senior Experience.

Required for the minor in mathematics

  1. Calculus through MATH 160
  2. One of the following:
    • MATH 210
    • MATH 220
    • MATH 240
  3. MATH 300 and MATH 310
  4. 6 units in any one upper-level mathematics course numbered from 400 to 600
  5. C average in the minor.

Teacher certification in mathematics or computer science

Mathematics or mathematics-computer science majors can seek certification to teach math or computer science at the secondary level. Students can add an endorsement in a second area by completing an appropriate minor. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.

Course numbering

Typically, courses numbered below 400 are offered each year, while courses numbered 400 or higher are offered every other year.

First-year courses

The department offers two calculus sequences: MATH 140, 150, 160 (Calculus I, II, III) and MATH 120, 130 (Applied Calculus I, II). Students intending to major in mathematics, mathematics-computer science, mathematics-economics, physics, or chemistry, or any student intending to take advanced mathematics courses, must complete the Calculus I, II, III sequence. Properly prepared students should enter this calculus sequence their freshman year. Proper preparation means strong high school mathematics, including a pre-calculus or elementary functions course. Strong scores in a standard college preparatory exam offer good evidence, as well. Students who lack this preparation yet need the three-course sequence should consult their advisor and the mathematics department as soon as possible. In every case, all students intending to enroll in MATH 140, 150, or 160 must take the ALEKS online diagnostic exam covering topics in pre-calculus, and a score of at least 75% is required for enrollment. Students who score below 75% may receive supplemental instruction through the Center for Academic Success to improve their score.

The Applied Calculus I, II sequence is designed to introduce students to the mathematics used in the social and life sciences. This sequence demands less technical proficiency than does the Calculus I, II, III sequence. Good performance in high school mathematics through the junior year should be adequate preparation.

Advanced placement

Advanced placement in the Calculus I, II, III sequence and up to 12 Lawrence units may be obtained by presenting a score of 4 or 5 on the AB or BC calculus exams administered by the College Board. Consult the department for proper placement. 

Advanced placement and six Lawrence units (for CMSC 150) may be obtained by scoring 4 or 5 on the A or AB College Board computer science exam. Consult the department for proper placement.

Six Lawrence units (for MATH 107) may be obtained by scoring 4 or 5 on the College Board statistics exam. Consult the department for proper placement.


The department views tutorials as opportunities to enhance its usual course offerings, not duplicate them. In order to reserve tutorials for this purpose, no tutorials or directed studies are given for courses routinely offered, and the department does not normally permit a tutorial to be used to satisfy any requirement for the major.

Off-campus and cooperative programs

Students wishing to combine a liberal arts degree with engineering should consider the 3-2 program in engineering.

The department encourages students to apply to the many Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs funded by the National Science Foundation; in these summer programs, students receive a stipend and participate in research teams at various campuses throughout the country. Students may also be interested in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics or in one of several other off-campus study options. Department faculty members can provide details.