Courses of Study

Mathematics and Statistics
See course descriptions for this department or program 

Chair, Professor Leo Livshits
Fernando Gouvêa, Leo Livshits, and Benjamin Mathes; Associate Professors Jan Holly, Liam O’Brien, and George Welch; Assistant Professors Otto Bretscher and James Scott; Visiting Assistant Professors Mark Rhodes; Faculty Fellow Scott Taylor

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers courses in mathematics and statistics 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 three programs: majors in mathematics and mathematical sciences and a minor in mathematics. Majors in mathematics and mathematical sciences can be taken with honors. In addition, there is an interdepartmental joint major in economics-mathematics.

Colby mathematics majors in recent years have entered graduate school to do advanced work in mathematics, statistics, computer science, biomathematics, and physics. They also have used the major as a solid foundation for careers in teaching, law, banking, insurance, management, the computer industry, and other areas.

All incoming students who intend to enroll in one of the 100-level calculus courses in the fall semester are required to complete the mathematics placement questionnaire prior to registration.
Requirements for the Major in Mathematics
Completion of one year of calculus, Mathematics 253, 274, 333, 338, either Mathematics 434 or 439, plus four additional courses selected from three- or four-credit mathematics courses numbered 300 or above (excluding Mathematics 484). In exceptional cases, with the permission of the department, another 400-level course may be substituted for 434 or 439.

Although Mathematics 302 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 one year of calculus, Mathematics 253, 274, 302, Computer Science 151; one course (to establish an overall theme for the major) selected from Mathematics 311, 332, 372, 381, Computer Science 231; four three- or four-credit courses selected from mathematics courses numbered 200 or above (excluding Mathematics 484). With written permission of the advisor, one (or, in exceptional cases, two) of these courses may be replaced by a course with significant mathematical content from another department.
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 courses numbered 200 or higher and who complete an additional, pre-approved program of independent study in the major (Mathematics 484) culminating in both a written paper and a colloquium presentation. Students who successfully complete the requirements and who receive recommendation of 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, including completion of at least one semester of calculus, Mathematics 253, and at least one course at the 300 level or above.

The point scale for retention of the majors and minor applies to all courses in the majors/minors. No requirement for the majors or minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.