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.

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.

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 student interests and career goals. Courses provide broad training in undergraduate mathematics, preparing majors for graduate study, and for positions in a wide variety of careers, such as government, industry, and the teaching profession.

Changes in requirements:
The major requirements have changed with the Class of 2024. Students in the classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 may fulfill either the old or the new requirements.

Major requirements for the Class of 2024 and beyond:

1) All of the following:
MATH 205. Linear Algebra.
MATH 206. Multivariable Calculus.
MATH 221. Introduction to Abstraction, which can only be taken after a full semester at Bates. The department encourages students to take this course during the sophomore year, at which time it can count toward the [W2] requirement. Completion of MATH s21 satisfies the MATH 221 requirement.

2) Six additional courses, satisfying the following stipulations:
a. At least one of the following, taken at Bates. The department encourages students to take this before beginning a senior thesis or senior seminar:
MATH 301. Real Analysis.
MATH 309. Abstract Algebra I.

b. At least two additional mathematics courses numbered 300 or higher, not including MATH 360, 457, 458, 495, or any Short Term course.

c. At least one of the following:
MATH 219. Differential Equations.
MATH 255. Topics in Mathematical Modeling.
MATH 355. Topics in Computational Mathematics (any 355 course may also satisfy requirement 2b).

d. Additional elective mathematics courses must be numbered 200 or higher during a semester, or s30 or higher during Short Term, and may not include MATH 360, 457, 458,495, or s50. One of the following courses may count as one of these electives:
ECON 255. Econometrics.
PHYS 301. Mathematical Methods of Physics.

3) Completion of either a one-semester thesis (MATH 457 or 458), a two-semester thesis (MATH 457 and 458), or the senior seminar (MATH 495). The selection of thesis or senior seminar requires departmental approval. The thesis or senior seminar requirement must be completed during the student's last year at Bates. Students satisfy their [W3] requirement by successful completion of either a thesis or a senior seminar.

Courses for the Major Taken Elsewhere

Of the nine courses (205, 206, 221, and six 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, subject to these limitations:

1) MATH 221 (Introduction to Abstraction) must be completed at Bates.

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

3) At least three of the remaining five elective mathematics courses must be completed at Bates, listed or cross-listed in the Bates mathematics department.

Major requirements for the classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023:
Majors in these classes also may elect to fulfill the new major requirements.

1) All of the following:
MATH 205. Linear Algebra.
MATH 206. Multivariable Calculus.
MATH s21. Introduction to Abstraction, which the department encourages students to take during Short Term of the first year. Math 221 (Introduction to Abstraction) may be taken to fulfill this requirement.

2) Both of the following, which the department encourages students to take before beginning a senior thesis or the senior seminar:
MATH 301. Real Analysis.
MATH 309. Abstract Algebra I.

3) Three elective mathematics courses numbered 200 or higher during a semester, or s30 or higher during Short Term, not including MATH 360, 457, 458, 495, or s50. One of the following courses may count as one of these electives:
ECON 255. Econometrics.
PHYS 301. Mathematical Methods of Physics.

4) A fourth elective mathematics course numbered 300 or higher, not including MATH 360, 457, 458, 495, or any Short Term course.

5) Completion of either a one-semester thesis (MATH 457 or 458), a two-semester thesis (MATH 457–458), or the senior seminar (MATH 495). The selection of thesis or senior seminar requires departmental approval. The thesis or senior seminar requirement must be completed during the student's last year at Bates. Students satisfy their [W3] requirement by successful completion of either a thesis or a senior seminar.

Courses for the Major Taken Elsewhere

Of the nine courses (205, 206, 301, 309, s21 or 221, 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, subject to these limitations:

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

2) MATH s21 or MATH 221 (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 consists of:

1) MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
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. Linear Algebra.
MATH 206. Multivariable Calculus.

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 Bates courses lacking the mathematics subject code (MATH or MA) can be counted toward the mathematics minor. At least two of the three elective mathematics 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.