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Information for Mathematics Majors

How to Become a Math Major

The short answer is you come to see me and fill out a major card. Of course, you need to do a bit of homework first so that we can select the right courses for you -- or at least a first approximation. (Filling the card out the first time can be a bit daunting, and many students revise their plans as they learn more about mathematics.)

The requirements are pretty straightforward. You have take all the prerequisites: Math 3, 8, 13 and 22/24. Of course, you can use advanced placement credit or placement to deal with these. Then you must take 8 more courses which must include an algebra course (Math 31 or 71), an analysis course (Math 35, 43 or 63) and one of your eight courses must satisfy the culminating experience requirement (these courses are listed in the ORC which is a good thing to be looking at right now).

I strongly encourage anyone who wants to major in math to take either 22 or 24 as soon as possible. After that, you'll have a better idea of how to craft your major.

Why Major in Mathematics?

There is only one real reason to major in mathematics: because you enjoy it. There are also lots of reasons that mathematics is an important subject. It is the language of science and technology. It has important applications and it is beautiful to those whose can appreciate its beauty. But ultimately, you should spend your precious time at Dartmouth doing something that moves you.

On the other hand, you may still want some more concrete reasons. I have collected a few documents here that others have written that may help.

So You Want to go to Graduate School in Mathematics?

If you think you might be interested in graduate school in mathematics after you finish your mathematics major at Dartmouth, then I strongly encourage you to come in and talk. The simple truth is that you can't take too much mathematics to prepare for graduate school. Just meeting the minimum requirements for the major is not good preparation. For example, I will encourage you to be sure to take both Math 71 and 81, Math 63 and 73 as well as Math 43 and several other advanced courses (depending on your interests). These are all great courses, so even if you don't end up going to graduate school in mathematics, you'll have a great time.

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Last modified on December 24, 2012