Our department offers majors in Mathematics. What’s it all about? Well, it’s about mathematics! Not mathematics as you may have met it in high school, a set of arbitrary rules for doing things, but rather mathematics as an intellectual pursuit. Someone once said that mathematics is the one discipline where nothing need ever be taken on faith: everything is susceptible of proof. Proof is one of the main themes of the math major.
The other main theme is probably the amazing imagination of mathematicians, who come up with so many incredible ideas and beautiful theories. We hope that as you go through the major you will grow in your appreciation of this beauty as you learn more and more mathematics.
The math major is the right major to choose if you are interested in going to graduate school in mathematics (pure or applied). It may also be an appropriate choice if you are interested in graduate work in other fields, such as physics, statistics, and economics, which make intensive use of mathematics. Most of all, the math major is for people who love mathematics! The Mathematical Sciences major is a broad and flexible major. Because it gives students lots of choices, the major can be tailored to diverse interests, so it is the perfect choice of second major. MathSci majors should work closely with their advisors to devise a selection of courses which has a well-defined theme and which focuses on their areas of particular interest. Honors are possible in both Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences. Learn more about the honors program and see a list of recent projects.
We also have a Mathematics Minor. A minor in mathematics is a wonderful way to add mathematical preparation to majors in the sciences and in economics, all of which have become increasingly dependent on heavy-duty mathematical theories. It also is a wonderful way to learn about mathematics as a cultural and intellectual accomplishment, one of the most extensive human conversations, bridging many cultures and many centuries. As mathematics becomes more and more a part of our world, hidden just below the surface of our technological achievements, it becomes more and more important to have some knowledge of the power and the content of mathematics. A math minor allows students to savor all this without requiring the single-minded concentration that a major tends to evoke.
You can read our department’s learning goals and reflect on how your courses have enabled you to progress on the road to mathematical maturity.
If you’re interested in studying mathematics at Colby, let us draw your attention to several features of our department:
- A premier 1st-year Honors Calculus sequence for the most mathematically adventurous students, as well as other engaging 1st year calculus courses for those without prior to exposure to calculus. (We have plenty more information on calculus placement.)
- Many advanced courses in Algebra, Analysis, Geometry/Topology, and Applied Mathematics
- A vibrant mathematics colloquium.
- A community of mathematics majors and minors with wide-ranging interests and career goals.