Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview

The study of mathematics is a hallmark of enlightened society, as it has been for millennia. Mathematics helps us understand our world and ourselves, and it is fun.  

Mathematics is one of the oldest of the liberal arts. The study of mathematics has been used for centuries to train students to think clearly and creatively. Mathematical applications enlighten other disciplines and inform society.

Mathematical thought requires curiosity, creativity, discipline and logic. As students progress through the mathematics curriculum, they are expected to become increasingly adept at developing conjectures, constructing correct proofs and refuting weak ones, creating and using mathematical models to describe physical phenomena, working with abstract structures and clearly communicating results.

A major in Mathematics requires completion of MAT 109, 110, 111, 211 and 229; MAT 330 and 331; one course from MAT 323, 329, 337, 339 or other courses in mathematical modeling as offered by the department; one mathematics course numbered 400 or higher, other than 490 or 491; and sufficient electives so that the total number of mathematics courses taken beyond MAT 111 is nine. One of the electives may be chosen from PHY 226, ECO 310, PHI 244, CHM 321, PSY 360, or, with approval of the department, other mathematically intensive courses; 100-level courses may not be used as electives for the Mathematics major.

The writing requirement in Mathematics is met by the completion of MAT 211.

A student planning to major in Mathematics should take MAT 211 as soon as possible, no later than the first semester of the junior year. A student planning to major in Mathematics and study abroad should complete 211 before going abroad.

We suggest the following guidelines for course selection:

Students intending to pursue graduate study in mathematics should take MAT 442, 446, 490 and CPS 111. We also recommend studying at least one of French, German and Russian. Prospective teachers of secondary school mathematics should take MAT 216, 316, 445 and CPS 111.

Students interested in actuarial science or statistics should take MAT 216, 316, 323 and 338 and CPS 111. We also recommend taking courses in Economics and in Business, Organizations, and Society.

Students planning to enter other fields of applied mathematics should take MAT 323, 329, 337, 338, 339 and 442. Knowledge of probability, statistics and computer science is essential in many areas of applied mathematics.

A minor in Mathematics may be completed in one of two tracks. The “theoretical math track” consists of MAT 109, 110, 111 and 211; and two courses chosen from MAT 325, 330, 331, 442, 445, 446 or other theoretical courses as designated by the department. The “applied math track” consists of MAT 109, 110 and 111; and three courses from MAT 216, 229, 316, 323, 329, 337, 338, 339, or other applied modeling courses as designated by the department.

Majors in the Department of Mathematics have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University Programs in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; American University in Cairo, Egypt. See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.