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Requirements for the Course Major

math majors '22

Students apply for a major in the middle of the second semester of the sophomore year. By the end of the sophomore year, an applicant should have received credit for, or placement out of, at least four of the following five course groups:

  • Elementary Single-Variable Calculus (MATH 015); 
  • Further Single-Variable Calculus (MATH 025); 
  • Linear Algebra (MATH 027 or 028); 
  • Discrete Mathematics (MATH 039 - previously called MATH 029); 
  • Several-Variable Calculus (MATH 033, 034, or 035).

In addition, a candidate should have a grade-point average in mathematics and statistics courses of at least C+. This should include at least one grade at the B level. In some cases, applicants may be deferred, pending successful work in courses to be designated by the department.

Mathematics majors are urged to study in some depth a discipline that makes use of mathematics and to acquire some facility with computers and software. Students bound for graduate work should obtain a reading knowledge of French, German, or Russian.

Details of the Requirements

All majors must complete Linear Algebra and Several-Variable Calculus by the end of the first semester of the junior year.  They must have at least 10 credits in mathematics and statistics courses; have credit or placement out of Introduction to Real Analysis (Math 063); and take Senior Conference (Math 097) in both semesters of their senior year.

There are three pathways to the course major, each with their own additional requirements as detailed below.

Course Major without a special emphasis

A student may major in mathematics without a special emphasis by taking, in addition to the requirements listed above:

  • Modern Algebra (Math 067); 
  • At least 5 credits in mathematics and statistics courses numbered above 038.

Course Major with an emphasis in Applied Mathematics

A student may major in mathematics with an emphasis in applied mathematics by taking in addition to the requirements listed for all majors:

  • Stochastic and Numerical Methods (Math 066);
  • Differential Equations (Math 043 or Math 044);
  • At least one of Partial Differential Equations (Math 054) or Modeling (Math 056);
  • At least one additional course from the following:  Partial Differential Equations (Math 054), Modeling (Math 056), Probability (Stat 051), or Complex Analysis (Math 103);
  • Credit or placement out of Introduction to Computer Science (CS 021).

Course Major with an emphasis in Statistics

A student may major in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics by taking the following courses in addition to the requirements for all majors:

  • Probability (Stat 051);
  • Mathematical Statistics I (Stat 061);
  • Mathematical Statistics II (Stat 111);
  • Statistical Methods II (Stat 021);
  • Credit or placement out of Introduction to Computer Science (CS 021).

Credit/No Credit Policy

At most one upper level math/stat course taken outside of Spring 2020 can be taken credit/no credit and still count for the major.  This limit does not include courses that are only offered credit/no credit, but it does include courses for which the grade is uncovered after completion of the course.  In any case, no seminar may be taken credit/no credit except for those taken during Spring 2020.  There are also requirements on which courses must be taken at Swarthmore; see the document for the Last Two Years for full details.