## Requirements for the Major

Advising guide for new students

### Mathematics

The mathematics curriculum emphasizes solving problems by rigorous methods that use both calculation and structure. Starting from the first year, students learn to write mathematical arguments. Students discuss the subject intensely with one another outside the classroom.

Students entering the major beginning Fall 2022 are bound to the **new** requirements. Students enrolled prior to Fall 2022 can opt to use the new requirements and can do so by petitioning to the department.

#### Requirements beginning Fall 2022

See the college catalog for:

- Major requirements for
**Mathematics** - Major requirements for
**Mathematics with a Concentration in Statistics**

#### Requirements prior to Fall 2022

##### Mathematics Major

- Mathematics 111 or the equivalent, 112, 113, 201, 202, 321, and 332.
- Four additional units in mathematics courses numbered higher than 300 (excluding Mathematics 470).
- Physics 101 and 102.
- Junior qualifying examination.
- Mathematics 470.

##### Mathematics Major with Concentration in Statistics

- Mathematics 111 or the equivalent, 112, 113, 201, and 202.
- One data analysis course, either Mathematics 141, 241, or 243.
- Mathematics 321, 391, and 392.
- Two additional units in mathematics courses numbered higher than 300 (excluding Mathematics 470).
- Junior qualifying examination.
- Mathematics 470.

^{}Computer Science-Mathematics

Computer science is a vibrant and varied field of research with a strong connection to mathematics. The department offers a computer science-mathematics interdisciplinary major. For this major, the Computer Science Fundamentals I and II courses (CSCI 121 and 221) introduce their students to the discipline, each providing a significant foundation in programming and each preparing students for the core coursework in algorithms, theory of computation, and computing systems. These core courses lead students to a variety of sub-disciplines of computer science which they survey in upper-level elective courses. Students then research and pursue their chosen computer science topic for their senior thesis. The Computer Science program's website gives more detail.

### Mathematics-Physics

*Note: Students entering after Fall 2022 need to petition in order to complete the Math-Physics interdisciplinary major.*

A program intended to serve the needs of students whose major interests lie in the rich area between applied mathematics and theoretical physics. The student planning to major in mathematics–physics should consult with the head of the committee as early as possible to determine if they are qualified and, if so, to plan a program. Both departments must approve the application.

#### Requirements for the Mathematics-Physics Major

- Mathematics 111 or the equivalent, 112, 113, 201, 202, 322, and two other mathematics courses numbered higher than 310, including at least one of 311 or 321.
- Physics 101, 102, 201, 202, 311, 321, 322, 342.
- The junior qualifying examination is taken in both departments.
- The thesis (Mathematics–Physics 470) must clearly bridge the two fields.

Strongly recommended but not required:

- Two from Physics 323, 351, 362, 411, 442.

Recommended but not required:

- Mathematics 332, 411.
- Working knowledge of a foreign language: Russian, German, or French.

The student planning to major in mathematics–physics should consult with the head of the committee as early as possible to determine if he or she is qualified and, if so, to plan a program. Both departments must approve the application.

### Mathematics Junior Qualifying Exam

The Mathematics Junior Qual typically takes place the first Saturday after return from spring break, with additional tests held at the end of the summer or during January, if needed. It is a written exam covering material from Math 111, 112, 113, 201, and 202. The exam consists of a two-hour morning session in which students choose four of five problems to submit, and a two-hour afternoon session in which students choose three of four problems to submit.

Students receive access to recent quals two months prior to the exam, and they are encouraged to use these in their studying. Preparing for the qual is an opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills gained from the first two years of Reed mathematics courses.

Qual problems are graded by faculty members, and performance is assessed in parallel with students’ academic records. In order to pass, the exam and academic record should demonstrate that a student is prepared to undertake a senior thesis in mathematics. In borderline cases, students may receive a conditional pass, requiring additional work to be completed in order to pass. Students who do not pass are given a second chance (typically the next time the qual is offered).

### Thesis

There is a wide range of acceptable models for mathematics theses, ranging from expository to research-based. Guided by the student’s goals and interests, expectations are set between the student and their thesis adviser at the beginning of the year for how to shape the project and meet the benchmarks outlined by the college and the math & stats department's thesis schedule. In all cases, a desired culmination is a well-written document and an oral defense that demonstrates the student’s facility with their thesis material.

The oral defense is attended by a panel of two members of the department (including the adviser), a non-mathematics member of the Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and a member from outside our division. The defense is approximately ninety minutes in length, sometimes includes a formal presentation by the student, and always includes ample opportunity for panel members to ask questions. At the conclusion of the defense, panel members meet in private to assess the thesis (both the written document and oral presentation). After incorporating feedback from the panel as they see fit, the adviser has the sole responsibility for determining their thesis student’s grade.

For more information, visit the Thesis page for thesis instructions, schedule, template, and help with typesetting.