#### Advising guide for new students

## Requirements for the Major

### 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.

#### Requirements for the 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 or the equivalent.
- Mathematics 470.

#### Requirements for the Mathematics Major with Concentration in Statistics

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

Strongly recommended: Computer science 121 and 221, and courses in fields of application such as biology, psychology, sociology, or economics.

### 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-Economics

The mathematics–economics major gives the student an opportunity to acquire a firm foundation in both fields during the normal four-year college program without sacrificing electives. Modern economic analysis relies heavily on the application of mathematical methods. The joint major is particularly useful for students who intend to do graduate work in economics. Early consultation with members of both departments is important for students considering this major. Mathematics-economics majors must pass junior qualifying exams in both the mathematics and economics departments. The thesis is normally jointly supervised by advisers from both departments and should involve substantial content from both disciplines.

#### Requirements for the Mathematics-Economics Major

- Eight units of mathematics to include Mathematics 111, 112, 113, 141, 201, 202, and two other mathematics courses chosen from courses numbered higher than 300. Recommended: selections from Mathematics 321, 322, 332, 382, 391, and 392. Students should also consider taking a 200-level statistics course. At the discretion of the Department of Mathematics, Mathematics 111 may be waived for students entering with sufficient background in calculus. Students with adequate background in statistics may substitute a 200-level statistics course or an upper-division mathematics course for Mathematics 141.
- Six units of economics, including Economics 201, 312, 313, and 314, and two units from among Economics 315–469, excluding Economics 402.
- Two units in one department in the Division of History and Social Sciences, excluding Economics.
- The junior qualifying examination is taken in both departments.
- Mathematics–Economics 470 (thesis). The thesis is usually jointly supervised.

### Mathematics-Physics

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. Expectations are set between the student and their thesis adviser at the beginning of the year, based on the student’s goals and interests. In all cases, a desired outcome 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.