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Undergraduate Program

mathematics

Table of Contents

Contacts

  • Department Offices: Carney Hall, Rooms 301 and 318
  • Department Phone: 617-552-3750
  • Department Fax: 617-552-3789
  • www.bc.edu/math

Undergraduate Program Description

The Mathematics Department offers two undergraduate degree programs, leading to the Bachelor of Science and to the Bachelor of Arts.

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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

The Bachelor of Arts program in Mathematics is designed to provide a solid foundation in the main areas of mathematics and mathematical applications. Course work is offered in preparation for careers in the actuarial profession, applied areas of government and industry, and education. Students who succeed in the program make excellent candidates for law school and other professional schools.

Requirements for Mathematics B.A.

The Mathematics B.A. major requires completion of at least 33 credits, including:

  • MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus or MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (Honors)
  • MATH2210 Linear Algebra or MATH2211 Linear Algebra (Honors)
  • MATH2216 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
  • MATH3310 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
  • MATH3320 Introduction to Analysis
  • Eighteen elective credits chosen from MATH courses numbered 4000 or higher

No more than three credits may be accumulated toward the major in courses granting fewer than three credits.

With the approval of the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs, advanced students may omit required courses, substituting three credits in MATH courses numbered 4000 or higher for each.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

The Bachelor of Science program in Mathematics is designed to give students a rigorous and thorough mathematical experience, one that includes connection to another area of scholarship in which mathematics is an essential tool. In particular, the program is strongly recommended for those who wish to pursue graduate study in mathematics.

Requirements for Mathematics B.S.

The Mathematics B.S. major requires completion of at least 36 credits, including:

  • MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus or MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (Honors)
  • MATH2210 Linear Algebra or MATH2211 Linear Algebra (Honors)
  • MATH2216 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
  • MATH3311–3312 Algebra I, II
  • MATH3321–3322 Analysis I, II
  • MATH4460 Complex Variables
  • Twelve elective credits in mathematics numbered 4000 or above
  • Twelve credits in natural science, computer science, or economics courses (listed below).

NNo more than three credits may be accumulated toward the major in courses granting fewer than three credits.

With the approval of the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs, advanced students may omit required courses, substituting three credits in MATH courses numbered 4000 or higher for each.

Corequisite Science Courses for B.S. in Mathematics

  • BIOL2000 Molecules and Cells
  • BIOL2010 Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL2020 Organisms and Populations
  • BIOL3040 Cell Biology
  • BIOL3050 Genetics
  • BIOL4200 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • CHEM1109 (1117)–1110 (1118) General (Modern) Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM3351 Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM4475–4476 Physical Chemistry I, II
  • CSCI1101–1102 Computer Science I, II
  • Any upper division course for majors in Computer Science
  • ECON2228 Econometric Methods
  • ECON3308 Game Theory in Economics
  • ECON3311 Mathematics for Economists
  • EESC1132–1134 Exploring the Earth I, II
  • EESC3391 Introduction to Geophysics
  • EESC4424 Environmental Geophysics
  • PHYS2100/2110–2101/2111 Introduction to Physics (Calculus) I and II
  • Any upper division course for majors in Physics

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Additional Major Requirement (all students)

A grade point average of at least 1.67 in the MATH courses used to fulfill the major.

Some students may need to complete (or will benefit from completing) MATH1102 Calculus I (Mathematics/Science Majors) and Calculus II (Mathematics/Science Majors), (numbered MATH1105 in the fall and MATH1103 in the spring) to prepare for the major. Well prepared students with a strong Calculus BC program may, and sometimes should, begin directly in MATH2202. Exceptionally strong students may apply for the Honors Section MATH2203, and should contact the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs. More information about Calculus courses and suggestions for choosing the right Calculus course can be found at www.bc.edu/mathadvise.

Each student should consult directly with the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs or a Mathematics Advisor at Orientation to determine the appropriate and recommended Calculus choice for their situation.

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Departmental Honors

Candidates for either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science who meet the following requirements will be awarded Departmental Honors in Mathematics:

  • Completion of the mathematics requirements for the B.S. degree.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.3 in all mathematics courses numbered 300 and above.
  • Completion, as one of the required electives, of an honors thesis course MATH4961 or an independent study course MATH4901 under the direction of a faculty member; or completion, as one of the required electives, of one graduate course at the 8000 level.

Each student's honors program must be approved individually by the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs.

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The Minor in Mathematics

The Mathematics Department also offers a program for majors in other disciplines leading to the Minor in Mathematics.

Requirements for the Minor in Mathematics for the Classes of 2015 and 2016:

  • MATH1101 Calculus II, MATH1103 Calculus II (Math/Science), or MATH1105 Calculus II
  • MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus or MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (Honors)
  • MATH2210 Linear Algebra or MATH2211 Linear Algebra (Honors)
  • Nine elective credits, chosen from:
    • MATH2216 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
    • MATH2226 Probability for Bioinformatics
    • MATH3305 Advanced Calculus (Science majors)
    • MATH3310 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
    • MATH3311–3312 Algebra I, II
    • MATH3320 Introduction to Analysis
    • MATH3321–3321 Analysis I, II
    • MATH major courses numbered 4000 or higher

Only one of MATH2226 and MATH4426, only one of MATH3305 and MATH4410, only one of MATH3310 and MATH3311, and only one of MATH3320 and MATH3321 may be counted toward the Mathematics minor.

No more than three credits may be accumulated toward the minor in courses granting fewer than three credits.

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Requirements for the Minor in Mathematics for the Class of 2017 and following:

  • MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus or MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (Honors)
  • MATH2210 Linear Algebra or MATH2211 Linear Algebra (Honors)
  • Twelve elective credits, chosen from:
    • MATH2216 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
    • MATH3310 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
    • MATH3311–3312 Algebra I, II
    • MATH3320 Introduction to Analysis
    • MATH3321–3321 Analysis I, II
    • MATH major courses numbered 4000 or higher

No more than three credits may be accumulated toward the minor in courses granting fewer than three credits.

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Five-Year Combined B.A./M.A.

The Department offers a combined B.A./M.A. program, leading to the bachelor’s degree after four years, and the master’s degree after completion of a fifth year. In short, this program allows the student to complete a master’s degree in just one year, rather than the usual two years.

Applications to the combined program should be made during the spring semester of junior year, and careful planning of undergraduate courses is essential to completion of the program. Interested students should consult with the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs.

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Information for Study Abroad

Normally, Mathematics majors should have completed MATH1103, MATH2202, MATH2210, and MATH2216 before going abroad. For students abroad in the second semester of junior year only, you should also complete at least one of MATH3310/MATH3311 or MATH3320/MATH321 before leaving.

Students usually may take no more than two mathematics courses for credit towards the mathematics major while abroad, although exceptions may be made if the host institution provides suitable offerings. All courses to be used for major credit must be approved beforehand.

There are no restrictions on what type of mathematics course you may take while abroad, but usually each will be counted as an elective. Choices most commonly available include courses in Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, Graph Theory/Combinatorics, Number Theory, Complex Analysis, Probability and Statistics, Mathematical Modeling, and Operations Research.

Substitutes for the required 3000-level courses in Algebra and Analysis may be available while abroad. However, these titles are generic, and thus it is extremely important that you check with the Department about taking either one of these two courses abroad, to be sure that the level of the course matches your background.

For course approval, contact the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs.

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Choosing Courses and Fulfilling Core Requirements

All students at Boston College are required to complete one mathematics course as part of the University Core Curriculum. A score of 4 or higher on either the Calculus AB or BC Advanced Placement Exam (once recorded on your transcript by the Admissions Office) exempts you from this Core requirement.

Some schools or major programs, however, may require more than this minimum, or perhaps require a specific Calculus course or courses. Basic guidelines for students who fall into these categories (or who are seriously thinking about choosing majors in these categories) are as follows:

Majors in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science (B.S.), Geology, or Geophysics

Enroll in your first semester of freshman year in one of the Calculus courses MATH1102 (Calculus I/Math and Science), MATH1105 (Calculus II-AP/Math and Science), or MATH2202 (Multivariable Calculus). If you have had a solid year of calculus, MATH1105 is usually the most appropriate choice. Well prepared students with a strong Calculus BC program may, and sometimes should, begin directly in MATH2202. Exceptionally strong students may apply for the Honors Section of MATH2202, and should contact the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs.

Majors in Biology or Computer Science (B.A.), and all Premedical students

Enroll in your first semester of freshman year in one of the Calculus courses MATH1100 (Calculus I), MATH1101 (Calculus II), or MATH2202 (Multivariable Calculus). If you have had a solid year of calculus (the AB curriculum), MATH1101 is usually the most appropriate choice. Particularly well-prepared students should consider MATH2202. If you have a strong interest in mathematics, you should consider choosing a Calculus course from the MATH1102–MATH1105–MATH2202 sequence mentioned above.

Carroll School of Management students

If you have not received AP credit for Calculus, you should complete one of the Calculus courses MATH1100 (Calculus I), MATH1101 (Calculus II), or MATH2202 (Multivariable Calculus) in one of the semesters of freshman year. If you have had a year of calculus, MATH1101 is usually the most appropriate choice. Particularly well-prepared students should consider MATH2202. If you have a strong interest in mathematics, you should consider choosing a Calculus course from the MATH1102–MATH1105–MATH2202 sequence mentioned above.

Other students

For all other students seeking to fulfill the Core requirement in mathematics, you may take a Core-level mathematics course at any time--it need not be (and sometimes simply cannot be) completed right away in freshman year. You certainly have the option to elect a Calculus course for the Core requirement, but there often may be more appropriate course selections available to you, such as:

  • MATH1004 Finite Probability and Applications
  • MATH1007 Ideas in Mathematics
  • MATH1180 Principles of Statistics for the Health Sciences (CSON students)
  • MATH1190 Fundamentals of Mathematics I (LSOE students in Elementary Education or Human Development)

For more complete information on course selection, please visit the course selection area of the Mathematics Department website at www.bc.edu/mathadvise.

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