If you're considering study abroad, the very first thing you should do is to check with the Overseas Study Office about the procedure, costs, application deadlines (May 1 for the following spring semester, and February 1 for the next fall semester, February 15 for the following summer, and May 1 for the following spring semester), etc.
Math majors planning to spend a semester or year abroad should consult with their advisors or Professor John Shareshian as early as possible. If the plan is for just one semester abroad, then there needs to be a discussion about which semester, fall or spring, is preferable from the perspective of your major(s). The answer will depend on the courses you have already taken and your major track. For example:
- What courses are available each semester at the school where you want to go?
- What are the prerequisites for these courses?
- If you go in the spring: is there a selection of math courses that aren't continuations of courses that were taught in previous term? Or, at least, courses where your WU preparation would let you slip into a continuing sequence overseas?
- If you go in the fall: what math courses will be available for you at W.U. when you return in the spring? Will this affect major planning?
Math Intensive Programs
For students interested in an intensive program abroad in mathematics, we are aware of only a few programs in English that are specifically geared to visiting mathematics students.
- The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics A unique WU approved study abroad opportunity for talented math students, that is coordinated through St. Olaf College. If you're interested in spending a semester or a full year abroad with a serious emphasis on mathematics, this is a program to seriously consider. All teaching is in English and the program is intended speifically for U.S./Canadian undergraduate mathematics majors. Several W.U. mathematics majors have participated in this program and all of them have reported having a great experience.
To be admitted to the Budapest program and profit from the experience, some background in required. The program requirements include that a student "have completed one semester of Advanced Calculus (a first course in the Theory of Analysis) or Abstract Algebra by the start of the program." A mathematician would usually interpret this requirement to mean either Math 4111 or Math 430. The linear algebra course Math 429 might substitute for Math 430, since Math 430 is offered in our spring semester. The program can make exceptions to these prerequisites, but this gives you an idea of the planning you need to make.
Explore their website, in particular the pages Program Specifics (for list of coourses) and Apply (for qualifications). This is their schedule of current and past courses.
Eight "Must-See" Buldings in Budapest
- Math in Moscow Some students might also be interested in this semester-long program, taught in English, at the Independent University of Moscow. Each semester, the American Mathematical Society offers scholarships to assist students in attending this program.
- Research in Industrial Projects for Students. This summer program usually includes a study abroad option .Students with a special interest in applied mathematics should take a look.
Read the testimonials of some WU students who have participated in these programs. If you're seriously interested after looking at the web pages, contact Professor John Shareshian. It may be possible to put you in touch with one or more students currently in one of these programs, or who have been in them recently.
In general, for all of these programs: the more mathematics courses you've taken before you apply, the stronger your application and the more you will get out of the program while you're there.
Of course math majors have also studied abroad at other schools. Depending on the school, it is sometimes possible to find one or two mathematics/statistics courses that can fulfill specific or elective requirements in the major. You can check on programs through the Overseas Programs Office on campus. It's important to get an idea of what mathematics/statistics courses are typically offered at schools that interest you. If the school you plan to attend has a wide offering of mathematics and statistics courses, then usually the more mathematics or statistics you've studied here before you go, the easier it will be to find one or more courses for you to study abroad.
Of course, sometimes majors lay out their W.U. progam here so that courses taken abroad aren't needed to fulfill major requirements.