Mathematics Major and Minor

Through our rigorous curriculum, majors learn to “think mathematically”, identifying mathematical problems and engaging those problems within a mathematical framework. They apply the perspective and skills developed in our program in traditional core areas as well as at the frontiers of a growing array of other disciplines.

Curriculum & Courses

Math majors take a three-year core sequence of courses in calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and analysis. This cornerstone coursework is designed to provide a foundation for further study in the major areas of modern mathematics. Once they’ve completed the core sequence, students can choose from an array of advanced courses—offered as electives—on topics such as algebra, analysis, topology, probability and statistics, and applied mathematics. Majors are also required to take our year-long Senior Seminar in which they develop their senior papers and oral presentations, working both one-on-one with their thesis advisors as well as in a group setting.

Students in the major have the option of pursuing four concentrations that explore related areas: Computer Science, Mathematical Economics, Mathematics Education, and Scientific Computing. Math majors can also declare a Statistics minor.

  • Major Requirements

    • MATH H215, and either MATH H121 or MATH H216.
    • MATH H317 and MATH H333, and one of MATH H318 or MATH H334.
    • Four additional electives in mathematics or approved related courses at the 200 level or higher. At least one of these must be at the 300 level. (Note: MATH H399F, MATH H399I, MATH H400, MATH H460, and MATH H480 do not count toward this requirement.)
    • The senior seminar, fall and spring.
    • A senior paper and oral presentation.

    We strongly advise students planning graduate study in mathematics or related fields to take additional courses at the 300 level. Majors may substitute equivalent courses in mathematics at Bryn Mawr College for any requirement, subject to advisor approval.

    Majors must take either MATH H317 or MATH H333 at Haverford College; exceptions to this rule are granted only under unusual circumstances, with advance permission of the department chair. Majors may substitute equivalent courses at Bryn Mawr College for any other course requirement for the major, subject to advisor approval. Courses taken at other institutions may be used to satisfy major requirements, provided that the department chair approves these courses in advance.

    Senior Project

    A senior paper is written by each major in close coordination with a faculty member. The senior paper is a year-long research project that includes both a written thesis and an oral presentation.  All seniors take a year-long senior seminar to support the senior paper. In the seminar, students learn how to use library resources, produce a mathematical document, and take turns presenting portions of their senior papers to each other to develop their skills in constructing and giving oral presentations.
    In the fall of the senior year, the student begins to focus on a topic (sometimes an interesting theorem, other times building a mathematical model or analyzing a data set) and works through the material with the faculty advisor. The student completes a detailed thesis proposal, an annotated bibliography, a "mini-paper," and a core fragment of the thesis. In the spring, the student develops the first draft, the second draft, and the final draft of the thesis, and concludes by presenting the thesis to faculty and fellow students.

    Senior Project Learning Goals

    Our students will engage with advanced content and techniques in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics. They will gain ownership of the process and material through understanding the content and the details of the problem they are investigating, constructing illustrative examples, carrying out novel computations or carefully analyzing a data set. Our students will write clear, careful and correct mathematics/statistics, from precise definition or description of a model to rigorous proofs or well-supported analyses. They will develop an oral presentation that highlights the central ideas of their thesis work at a level appropriate for an audience in the mathematical/statistical sciences.

    Senior Project Assessment

    The grade for the senior thesis is determined by the following:

    • Level of engagement with advanced mathematics or statistics.
    • Level of ownership of the material and of the writing process.
    • Adherence to professional standards of written mathematics and statistics.

    The grade for the senior seminar is determined by the following:

    • Completing all the assignments in accordance with the assignment description.
    • Meeting deadlines for each assignment.
    • Quality of intermediate drafts, including whether easily discernible progress has been made from one assignment to another.
    • Engaged participation in seminar meetings.
    • Quality of the thesis presentation.
  • Minor Requirements

    Mathematics minors take the same core sequence as do the majors, though not necessarily to the same depth, followed by a selection of electives tailored to the student’s interest. Statistics minors take a separate core sequence in probability and statistics, with later flexibility in pursuing either a more applied or a more theoretical track.

    Mathematics Minor Requirements

    • MATH H215 (Linear Algebra) and either MATH H121 (Multivariable calculus) or MATH H216 (Advanced Calculus).
    • MATH H317 (Analysis I) and MATH H333 (Algebra I).
    • Two additional electives in mathematics at the 200 level or higher.

    Courses taken at other institutions may be used to satisfy minor requirements, provided that the department chair approves these courses in advance.

    Statistics Minor Requirements

    • One of the following courses (Introduction to Statistics): STAT H203, ECON H204, PSYC H200, SOCL H215
    • STAT H286 (Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis)
    • MATH H218 (Probability)
    • MATH H215 (Linear Algebra)
    • MATH H121 or MATH H216 (Multivariable Calculus)
    • One of the following:
      • STAT H328 (Mathematical Statistics)
      • STAT H396 (Advanced Topics in Probability and Statistics)
      • ECON H324 (Advanced Econometrics)
    Courses taken at other institutions may be used to satisfy minor requirements, provided that the department chair approves these courses in advance. For classes of 2020-2022, ECON H304 or SOCL H320 can be used as the 300-level course. 

    Notes for the Statistics Minor

    • A math minor can also be a statistics minor. If a student wants to be a math minor and a statistics minor, the following courses: STAT H203, ECON H204, MATH H218, STAT H286, STAT H328 and STAT H396, cannot be counted to satisfy both the math minor and statistics minor.
    • A math major can also be a statistics minor. If a student wants to be a math major and a statistics minor, the following apply:

      • STAT H203, ECON H204 and STAT H286 cannot be counted to satisfy both the math major and statistics minor requirement.

      • At most one of the following courses can be counted to satisfy both the math major and statistics minor: MATH H218, STAT H328 and STAT H396.

    • Math majors with economics concentration: If a math major wants to be an econ concentrator and a statistics minor, MATH H218, STAT H286, STAT H328 and STAT H396 cannot be counted toward both the economics concentration and the statistics minor.

    • Economics majors with math concentration: If an economics major wants to be a math concentrator and also a stat minor, MATH H218, STAT H286, STAT H328 and STAT H396 cannot be counted to satisfy both the stat minor and the math concentration requirement.

    For further information about the statistics minor, please see the PDF supplement on the mathematics website, or contact the minor coordinator.

Research & Outreach

Math majors research and write a senior thesis over the course of their senior year. Working closely with a faculty advisor and through our year-long Senior Seminar, they select and develop a topic during the fall semester, then draft their papers in the spring. Each major also delivers an oral presentation to faculty and students at the end of the year. In addition to providing personal guidance and feedback, Senior Seminar also hones research skills and familiarizes students with the discipline’s paper and presentation conventions.

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