The math majors at W.U. are a medium-sized group. For the past few years, we have been graduating about 75 majors each year; the number in 2015-2016 was about 90. In June 2014, shortly after graduation, there were about 215 declared majors. Many math majors have another major as well (often, not just "math-physics" or "math-computer science" as you might guess).
Freshmen and sophomores who have not yet declared a math major might want to look at some suggested schedules for prospective majors for the first first few semesters of study.
To declare a major or second major in mathematics:
- familiarize yourself with the requirements and options for a math major
- sign on to your WebStac account and use the Major Programs link to request a major (first or second) in mathematics
- make an appointment for a 15-20 minute meeting with Dr. Blake Thornton.
Math majors must complete Calculus I, II, III ( Math 131,132, 233) or the equivalent. (Math 233 can be replaced in the requirements by Math 201, last offered in FL2014, or by Math 204 (first offered in SP2016). In addition, each major must complete the requirements in one of five major tracks.
No matter which major track is completed, a major's permanent university record at graduation simply reads "Major in Mathematics."
To count a course toward the major, a letter grade of C- or better is required: pass/fail is not allowed. This applies even to the required 100-200 level courses in the major. The only exception is courses for which credit is given through by AP, IB, or some similar advanced placement award.
If a student takes a required course for a “pass/fail” grade (perhaps before deciding to do a major or minor) then: a) if we are able to verify from the course instructor that the grade in the course would have been a C- or better, then the student can choose another course at the same level or higher (300-level, 400-level, …) to replace the course that was taken P/F, or b) the student can retake the course for a letter grade. (In the latter case, the student might not be able to count the course units twice (6 units) toward the required 120 units for the degree.)
The department also requires that each graduating major, late in the senior year, participate in an exit interview; some randomly selected majors are asked to participate in a more detailed extended exit interview.
The requirements for each track, as well as department policies about issues like independent study, using courses from other departments, and similar questions, are detailed on Major Tracks web page.
Note that Math 217 (Differential Equations) is required only for majors in the "Applied" track. However, it's a very useful course (that may be required) for students in the sciences and engineering.
Ross Middlemiss Undergraduate Math Majors' Lounge
The Undergraduate Lounge (Cupples I, room 222) is for the exclusive use of math majors. It was made possible by a generous gift from the late Ross R. Middlemiss, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics. The room has chalkboards, tables, furniture, microwave, refrigerator, and a collection of mostly undergraduate level books available for use while working in the room. There is a computer and printer. A wireless transmitter has been installed so majors can use tablets and laptops while in the Lounge. Students get the combination for the lock on the Lounge door when they declare the major. If you’ve lost the combination, you can get it again from one of the staff in the Math Office (Cupples I, Room 100), or from Dr. Blake Thornton.
Job Opportunities in the Department
The department usually needs undergraduates for grading and sometimes other jobs each semester. Interested students should contact Dr. Blake Thornton (Cupples I, Room 108A; 935-6301) for information about salary and to fill out an application. The best time to do this is near the end of the preceding semester.
Students who are interested in being leaders for PLTL Calculus Groups should contact Lisa Kuehne (935-4226) who coordinates the department's PLTL program. PLTL leaders are chosen in the spring for the following academic year. Applications are usually due just before Spring Break, with interviews in late March, and selection in April.
Undergraduates are also hired by Cornerstone for tutoring and leading study groups. You should contact Cornerstone directly to fill out an application.
Planning Ahead for Latin Honors or the Distinction in Mathematics Award
Stong students might want to look ahead and plan their courses to try to earn a Distinction in Mathematics Award or Latin Honors.