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Academic Program: Summary of Contents

Math 20: Mathematics and Social Justice
January term

This course examines the roles that mathematics and mathematicians play in society, particularly through the lenses of equity and social justice. Students will explore what it means to practice mathematics ethically and we will discuss mathematical influence in areas such as policing, politics, healthcare, and the military-industrial complex.

Prereqs: Placement out of, or credit for, either Math 15 or Stat 11.

Math 55: Intermediate Topics in Geometry
January term

Knot Theory
Tie a knot in a string then glue the ends together.  Can this knot be untangled without cutting it open? This question and many others relating to these “mathematical knots" have increasingly been studied by mathematicians, with many breakthroughs occurring in the past 20 years.  In this course we will discuss methods of knot tabulation, invariants (properties) of knots such as the bridge-number, surfaces associated to knots, ties to Hyperbolic Geometry, Physics, Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and other sciences, as well as open problems in the field.  While our proof-based approach will heavily feature drawing, artistic skill is not a prerequisite.

Prereqs: Any proof-intensive course (such as Math 28 or Math 29), or permission of the instructor.

Stat 41:  Visualization of Data and Models
January Term

Graphical displays of information can improve our understanding of both data and statistical models. This course will cover the most common forms of graphical displays and their uses and misuses. Students will learn how to create, critique, and present graphics in a concise and statistically sound way. Topics include: common data types and visualizations in R; incorporating statistical concepts such as transformations, smoothing, and uncertainty into visualizations; interactive graphics; and non-traditional types of data which may include time series, maps, networks, text, or images.

This is a project-based course and you are encouraged to bring your own ideas for datasets and research questions. You will leave the course with a portfolio of static and interactive visualizations, statistical writing, and presentations.

Prereq: Stat 21 or permission of instructor.


NOTE: Much of the information on these pages can also be found in the Swarthmore Course Catalog. The catalog takes precedence if there is conflicting information.

  • Major Requirements: A description of the requirements for a regular (non-honors) major in mathematics.
  • Minor Requirements: A description of the requirements for a regular (non-honors) major in mathematics.
  • Honors Program: The honors program is one of the treasures of Swarthmore College and we encourage those students coming in with a strong background in mathematics to give serious consideration to this program. Described here are the requirements for becoming an honors major in mathematics.
  • Teaching Certification: If you are considering becoming a mathematics teacher, here is information on what we require in order for you to earn teaching certification from our department.
  • Courses: A list of the courses we offer. Students also have the opportunity to go beyond these standard offerings through the Senior Conference, through summer research, and sometimes through directed reading courses.
  • Placement Information: Information on how we determine placement and credit for your prior work, including AP exams, college work and the like.
  • Transfer Credit: Information on how we determine credit for courses taken at comparable colleges or universities during the summer or during a semester on leave.
  • Next Two Years [pdf]: This document presents possibilities for a major's or honors major's program for the last two years of study.