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Home » Undergraduate College » Admission » Mathematics & Statistics » Majors & Minors

The increasing complexity of society has made the mathematical sciences important for people trying to solve problems not only in the science areas, such as physics, chemistry, and biology, but also in the areas of social science and management. In addition, the pure mathematical areas continue to appeal to many as an intellectual discipline, art form, or game.

The major in mathematics is designed to provide a strong background in various mathematical sciences and their applications. By her choice of electives, a student may prepare herself for graduate work or careers in statistics, scientific programming, operations research, or teaching.

Furthermore, many opportunities exist for students who are interested in combining mathematics with other disciplines. Joint and double majors exist with the Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Management, Nursing, and Psychology Departments. Other fields may also be combined fruitfully with mathematics. Students interested in such majors should consult with the chairs of the Departments involved.

Independent Learning

All students majoring in mathematics must complete four semester hours of independent learning. The choice and timing of these courses must be approved by the student's adviser. Recent examples include:

  • Research on the use of Leslie matrices to model the population dynamics of North Atlantic salmon
  • Internship at  Boston University School of Medicine examining the correlation between patient religiosity and health outcomes
  • Research on modeling thermal noise for the Enhanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
  • Internship at John Snow, Inc., to analyze survey data from project OPTIONS, a physician delivered intervention for HIV positive patients in clinical care
  • Research assistant for the C - Change program at the Health Care Research Unit of Boston University School of Medicine on the treatment of elderly patients who are on Medicare
  • Internship at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Tuberculosis Division, to study the correlation between how far patients live from the closest TB clinic and the extent to which they complete their treatment program


All-College Requirement Competency in Basic Mathematics


 As of September 1996, the Competency in Basic Mathematics Requirement will replace the former Quantitative Skills Requirement for all students. Students may satisfy the Competency in Basic Mathematics Requirement in any of the following ways:

  1. Passing a Mathematics Competency Test designed and offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Department usually offers the test during orientations-in June, July, September, and January-and again in November and April. A student can take the test at most three times.
  2. Achieving a grade at the 75th percentile or higher on either the Math SAT Exam, the ACT exam, or a Mathematics Achievement Test; or a grade of 3 or higher on an AP Calculus exam.
  3. Passing Math 101 or Math 102, or a higher level math course at Simmons College.
  4. Presenting evidence to the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of having passed, at another college, a mathematics course at the level of Math 101 or higher.

Only courses and scores taken within seven years will be accepted in fulfillment of the Competency in Basic Mathematics requirement.