Building a Background

At the undergraduate level, a student's most important task is to build a strong foundation in the essentials of mathematics. However, with a specific goal in mind, there are certain topics that can augment a general course of study. Students should take time to think about their goals and ambitions, devise a plan to achieve those goals, and revisit that plan as they progress through their coursework. Breadth of coursework is not only important for gaining a wide range of knowledge, but it also aids in discovering fields of interest for careers in both academia and industry.

A decision tree is a discrete structure used to model possible paths of a process. Uncertainty is natural in a decision tree as it is in a student's plan for the future. Do not worry! Mathematicians are experts at handling uncertainty.

Core Requirements for All Math Majors*:

  • Calculus Sequence (I, II, and III)

  • Applied Linear Algebra I

  • Ordinary Differential Equations

  • Programming I

  • Introductory Math Stat I

  • Introduction to Advanced Math

Questions to Consider:

  • Why did I choose to study mathematics?

  • What topics interest me the most?

  • Where do I see myself after graduation?

  • What are my goals?

  • What can I do to now to reach my goals?

Natural Progressions from Core Requirements (Talk to advising):

  • Calculus Sequence (I, II, and III) --> Advanced Calculus I, and II**, Complex Variables

  • Applied Linear Algebra I --> Applied Linear Algebra II, Abstract Algebra I, and II**

  • Ordinary Differential Equations --> Partial Differential Equations I, and II

  • Programming I --> Object Oriented Programming, Numerical Analysis I

  • Introductory Math Stat I --> Mathematical Statistics, Applied Multivariate Analysis

All fields of mathematics, regardless of major, train a student to think deeply and with clarity. Students should follow their passions, study what they enjoy, and let their field flow naturally from their interests. Keep professors and advising updated on these interests, so they can recommend courses, graduate programs, and career options.

*The Actuarial Science core requirements differ slightly. Applied Linear Algebra I and Ordinary Differential Equations are two of three options for additional required math courses. Also, Introduction to Advanced Math is not required.

**These courses require a proofs course as a prerequisite. Students should take Intro to Advanced Math beforehand.

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