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Academic program

A dynamic subject, with connections to many disciplines, mathematics is an integral part of a liberal arts education, and is increasingly vital in understanding science, technology, and society. Entry-level courses introduce students to basic concepts and hint at some of the power and beauty behind these fundamental results. Upper-level courses and the capstone experience provide majors with the opportunity to explore mathematical topics in greater depth and sophistication, and to delight in the fascination of this important discipline.

During new-student orientation the department assists students planning to study mathematics in choosing an appropriate starting course. Based on a student's academic background and skills, the department recommends a 100-level course, MATH 205, MATH 206, or a more advanced course. For students unsure whether to start in MATH 105, 106, or beyond, the department recommends taking the online placement examination
(abacus.bates.edu/~etowne/placementExam.htm).

The mathematics department offers a major and a minor in mathematics. More information on the mathematics department is available on the website (bates.edu/mathematics)).

Major Requirements. The mathematics major requirements accommodate a wide variety of interests and career goals. The courses provide broad training in undergraduate mathematics, preparing majors for graduate study, and for positions in government, industry, and the teaching profession.

The major in mathematics consists of:

1) MATH 205 and 206;

2) MATH s21, which the department encourages taking during Short Term of the first year;

3) MATH 301 and 309, which the department encourages taking before beginning a senior thesis or the senior seminar;

4) Four elective mathematics courses numbered 200 or higher during a semester, or 30 or higher during Short Term, not including 360, 395, 457, 458, or s50; one of these four electives may be replaced by either ECON 255 or PHYS 301;

5) completion of either a one-semester thesis (MATH 457 or 458), a two-semester thesis (MATH 457–458), or the senior seminar (MATH 395). The thesis option requires departmental approval. Students satisfy their [W3] requirement by successful completion of either a thesis or MATH 395, the senior seminar.

Major Courses Taken Elsewhere. Of the nine courses (205, 206, 301, 309, s21, and four electives) required for the mathematics major, up to four may be taken at other institutions, in off-campus study programs, or in other Bates departments. These courses are subject to these limitations:

1) At least one of 301 (Real Analysis) and 309 (Abstract Algebra) must be completed at Bates.

2) s21 (Introduction to Abstraction) must be completed at Bates.

3) At least two of the four elective mathematics courses must be completed at Bates, and listed or cross-listed in the Bates mathematics department.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Minor in Mathematics. Designed either to complement another major or to be pursued for its own sake, the minor in mathematics provides a structure for obtaining a significant depth in mathematical study.

The minor in mathematics consist of:

1) MATH 105 and 106 (successful completion of only MATH 106, or of MATH 206, satisfies this requirement, even if no course credit has been granted by Bates);

2) MATH 205 and 206;

3) Three elective mathematics courses numbered 200 or higher during a semester, or 20 or higher during Short Term, not including 360, 457, 458, or S50.


Minor Courses Taken Elsewhere. No courses outside the mathematics department can be counted toward the mathematics minor. At least one of the three elective courses must be taken at Bates.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor in mathematics.


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