The Department of Mathematics offers courses for students who: (1) plan a career in an area of pure or applied mathematics; (2) need mathematics as support for their chosen major; or (3) elect to take mathematics as part of their liberal arts education or to fulfill the area requirement in quantitative reasoning.
The department offers majors in mathematics and in mathematical sciences as well as minors in mathematics and (together with Computer Science and Statistics) data science. Majors in mathematics and in mathematical sciences can be taken with honors.
Colby mathematics majors in recent years have entered graduate school to do advanced work in mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, engineering, economics, computer science, biomathematics, and the sciences. They also have used the major as a solid foundation for careers in teaching, law, medicine, banking, insurance, management, the computer industry, data science, and other areas.
All incoming students who intend to enroll in mathematics courses in the fall semester are required to complete the mathematics placement questionnaire prior to registration.
Requirements for the Major in Mathematics
Completion of each of the following with a grade of C- or higher: Mathematics 160 or 165; Mathematics 253, 274, 333, 338, and either 434 or 439; four additional courses selected from Mathematics 262 and any three- or four-credit mathematics courses numbered 300 or above (excluding 484). In exceptional cases, with the permission of the department, another 400-level course may be substituted for 434 or 439.
The department recommends that students complete Mathematics 274 or 275 before the end of their sophomore year. Although Mathematics 262 and 352 are not specifically required, the department strongly recommends that mathematics majors complete both courses.
Requirements for the Major in Mathematical Sciences
Completion of each of the following with a grade of C- or better: Mathematics 160 or 165, 253, 274, 311; SC 212; one three- or four-credit course from Computer Science; three additional three- or four-credit courses selected from mathematics courses numbered 200 or above; one “Topics” course in mathematics numbered 400 or above (excluding 484). The department recommends that Mathematics 274 be completed before the end of the sophomore year.
Requirements for the Honors Program in Mathematics or Mathematical Sciences
An honors program is available for students majoring in mathematics and mathematical sciences who have a grade point average of at least 3.25 in all mathematics and statistics courses numbered 200 or higher and who complete an additional, preapproved program of independent study in the major (Mathematics 484 or Statistics 484) culminating in both a written paper and a colloquium presentation. Students who successfully complete the requirements and who receive recommendation from the department will graduate with “Honors in Mathematics” or with “Honors in Mathematical Sciences.”
Requirements for the Minor in Mathematics
Six three- or four-credit mathematics courses numbered 120 or above, including Mathematics 122, 160, 162, or 165, Mathematics 253, and at least one course at the 300 level or above. Statistics 212 may substitute for one of the elective mathematics courses.
A minor in data science is described in the Data Science section of the catalogue.
The point scale for retention of the majors and minors applies to all courses in the majors/minors. No requirement for the majors or minors may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.