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Kalamazoo College

Courses & Requirements for a Major in Mathematics

Requirements for the Major in Mathematics

Number of Units
Eight units of mathematics are required, exclusive of SIP and CS Cognate.
Typically up to two units from outside courses (AP, transfer, dual enrollment,
or study abroad) may count towards the major or minor in mathematics.
Students who wish to apply additional external units toward the major must
consult with the department.

In order to graduate with a major in mathematics a student must, in addition to the regular course requirements:

Pass the Sophomore Comprehensive Examination (also referred to as the New Majors Math Exam)

•Includes problems in calculus (both single and multivariable) and linear algebra.

•24 challenging true/false questions, six from each of the four introductory courses:  Calculus I, II, III, and Linear Algebra.

•Students should have taken at least three of the four core math courses before attempting the exam.

•Administered once per quarter – 3rd or 4th Saturday (twice in Spring).

•We insist that students pass the exam by the end of the next resident term following declaration of major.

Practice questions are available on Moodle.

Pass the Senior Comprehensive Examination

•This comprehensive exam is a standardized exam given to math majors designed by the Educational Testing Service.

•The exam fairly represents the core knowledge that a graduating Kalamazoo College math major should have.

•The exam is divided into three major components: Calculus (about 35%), Linear and Modern Algebra (about 35%), and additional topics (about 30%).

•The additional topics include such varied subjects as logic, differential equations, topology, probability, combinatorics, complex variables, algorithmic processes, statistics, and graph theory.

•While no single student would have studied all of these areas, you should be prepared to answer questions relevant to your own advanced coursework.

•Administered in February of Senior Year. 

Mathematics Colloquium Credit (MC2)
In addition to the requirements stated above, mathematics majors are
required to attend at least 10 approved mathematics colloquia and write three mathematical reflection papers. See the mathematics department for details.

Required Cognate
One computer science course.

Required Courses

MATH 112-113 Calculus I and II

MATH 214 Calculus III

MATH 240 Linear Algebra and Vectors

MATH 320 Real Analysis I or MATH 330 Abstract Algebra I

One two-term sequence beyond calculus (e.g., Real Analysis I and II,
Abstract Algebra I and II, Probability and Mathematical Statistics,
Abstract Algebra I and Linear Algebra II)

Among the courses we offer, MATH 320 and MATH 330 are at the highest level
of abstraction. Before enrolling in one of these courses, students are strongly
encouraged to complete MATH 314 or MATH 316 or MATH 318.

For students interested in graduate work in one of the mathematical sciences,
additional work in MATH 280, 310, 314, 316, 320, 330, 420, 430, and 450 is
appropriate. Those with a strong interest in computing should elect the minor
in computer science in addition to MATH 300. For those students interested in
applied work (mathematical biology, mathematical economics, operations
research, etc.), election of MATH 270, 280, 305, 310, 362, 365, 440, and at least
two courses in computer science is appropriate. Other departments offer classes that use mathematical ideas: BIOL 112, 426, and 436; CHEM 310 and 410; ECON 305 and 412; PHIL 107; PHYS 340, 400, 410, and 420; and PSYC 390.

Senior Seminar Requirement

Currently, there is no senior seminar in mathematics.  Instead, students pursuing a major in mathematics fulfill their senior seminar requirement either (1) by completing a senior seminar offered by another department in which they are also pursuing a major or (2) by completing an interdisciplinary senior seminar.

Honors in the Major

Conferral of honors in the major falls entirely within the purview of the department.  In order to qualify for honors in the major, a math student must be judged by the faculty to meet two of the following three criteria: honors level GPA in coursework in mathematics; honors in the senior comprehensive examination; honors on a SIP in mathematics.

Study Abroad

Students interested in mathematics are especially encouraged to consider the study abroad program in Budapest. The Budapest program is given in English; no prior knowledge of Hungarian is needed. It offers a number of mathematics courses as well as history, language, and literature courses. Mathematics majors have also studied mathematics in Erlangen, Quito, Perth, Aberdeen, and Lancaster. Early consultation with the department is strongly urged. 


Requirements for the Minor in Mathematics

There are four options for the minor in mathematics, each of which requires six
units of credit in mathematics. Each of these options requires the “core”
courses: Single variable calculus (MATH 112 and MATH 113),
Multivariable Calculus (MATH 214), and Linear Algebra (MATH 240). The
other required courses for each option are as follows:

Statistics Option
MATH 362 Probability
MATH 365 Mathematical Statistics

Computational Mathematics Option
MATH 250 Discrete Mathematics or MATH 330 Abstract Algebra I
MATH 300 Automata, Formal Languages, and Computability

Applied Mathematics Option
MATH 280 Differential Equations
MATH 310 Complex and Vector Variables

Pure Mathematics Option
MATH 320 Real Analysis I or MATH 330 Abstract Algebra I
And one other mathematics course from the following list:
MATH 310, MATH 314, MATH 316, MATH 320, MATH 330, MATH 362, or
any 400-level course


MATH 112 Calculus I

MATH 113 Calculus II

MATH 214 Calculus III

MATH 240 Linear Algebra and Vectors

MATH 250 Discrete Mathematics

MATH 260 Applied Statistics I

MATH 261 Biostatistics

MATH 270 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

MATH 280 Differential Equations and Numerical Methods

MATH 300 Automata, Formal Languages, and Computability

MATH 305 Dynamic Models in Social Sciences

MATH 310 Complex and Vector Variables

MATH 314 Topics in Geometry

MATH 316 Topics in Number Theory

MATH 318 Topics in Topology

MATH 320 Real Analysis I

MATH 330 Abstract Algebra I

MATH 360 Applied Statistics II

MATH 362 Probability

MATH 365 Mathematical Statistics

MATH 420 Real Analysis II

MATH 430 Abstract Algebra II

MATH 450 Topics in Pure and Applied Mathematics


For more  detailed information please check the Kalamazoo College Academic Catalog.

Mathematics Course requirements - Kalamazoo College Academic Catalog