Major Requirements


The mathematics major is designed to expose students to the fundamentals of mathematics and to give students a solid mathematical foundation. The major is designed with enough flexibility to accommodate students who want to major in mathematics but whose postbaccalaureate plans may not be math-related and students who want to double major in physics, engineering, economics, computer science, or other fields, as well as students who intend to pursue graduate study in mathematics, statistics, or computer science, or students interested in careers requiring a strong mathematical background. Students intending to pursue graduate study in mathematics should supplement the basic major requirements with as many additional 300-level mathematics courses as possible and should consult with their adviser or with the department chair at the earliest possible date in order to plan their course of study.

Students are required to take nine courses, of at least one credit, at the 200-level and above, including MATH 228, 231, 307, 331, and 400. Courses counted towards the major require a grade of C- or better. Of the four electives, at least one must be a 300-level mathematics course, and at most one may be a cognate course chosen from the courses listed below, each of which is offered by another department.

  • CHEM 309L. Physical Chemistry I
  • CPSC 203. Mathematical Foundations of Computing
  • CPSC 219. Theory of Computation
  • CPSC 320. Analysis of Algorithms
  • ECON 312. Mathematical Economics
  • ECON 328. Applied Econometrics
  • ENGR 212L. Linear Circuit Theory
  • ENGR 226. Mechanics II
  • ENGR 301L. Signal Processing and Applications
  • ENGR 303. Analog and Digital Communication
  • ENGR 312. Automatic Control Systems
  • ENGR 362L. Fluid Dynamics
  • PHIL 205. Symbolic Logic
  • PHIL 255. Philosophy of Logic
  • PHIL 390. Advanced Logic
  • PHYS 231L. Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves
  • PHYS 300. Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • PHYS 301. Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 302. Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 304. Statistical and Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 313. Quantum Mechanics

Although a student may begin the mathematics major as late as the fall semester of the sophomore year, the department recommends that prospective majors adopt the following typical schedule:

Year Fall Spring
First 131 132
Sophomore 231, 205 228, elective
Junior 307 or 331 two electives
Senior 307 or 331 400

The Writing Intensive Part II requirement is fulfilled by taking either MATH 307 or MATH 331. In order to fulfill the requirement, one of these courses must be taken at Trinity.

Honors—Honors in mathematics, granted by departmental vote in the spring of the honor candidate's senior year, is earned by:

  • receiving a grade of at least a B- in any mathematics course taken at the 200 level and above,
  • receiving a grade of A- or better in at least four 300-level courses excluding MATH 497, and

  • writing and presenting a suitable thesis on an area of mathematics that the student finds particularly interesting.

The student must apply to the department chair for honors candidacy in the second semester of the junior year. Upon acceptance, the candidate, together with the department chair, will select an honors adviser who will supervise the honors thesis. The student will then submit a thesis proposal by the last day of classes for the spring semester of the junior year.

Honors theses need not be one of newfound mathematical results, but it is expected to be a balance of the historical, biographical, and mathematical aspects of the topic. The project will culminate with the submission of the final polished draft to the honors adviser no later than one week before the last day of classes of the spring semester. A formal presentation will be given by the candidate prior to the day on which senior grades are due. Complete guidelines for the completion of the honors thesis may be obtained from the department chair.

Study away—Students of mathematics have many opportunities to study abroad, but all of them require a certain amount of early planning. Students are encouraged to discuss their plans with their advisers or the department chair as soon as possible since many courses in the Mathematics Department are not offered every year. Well-prepared students should consider the Budapest semester in mathematics; more information on this program can be found on the study-away website.

Many study-abroad programs in English-speaking countries offer a wide range of mathematics courses that will count toward the major. For specific advice, please consult the department chair. Students who feel they are sufficiently proficient in a language to take mathematics courses in a foreign language should discuss this with their advisers. Students who take mathematics courses while abroad should be aware that universities that follow the European model cover the material in a somewhat different order than is done in the United States and that classes are primarily lectures with far less feedback from the instructor than is typical at Trinity.