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Colgate University    
2017-2018 University Catalogue 
  Sep 19, 2017
2017-2018 University Catalogue


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Professors Hart, Lantz, Robertson, Saracino, Schult, Strand, Valente (Chair)
Associate Professor Ay
Assistant Professors Chen, Christensen, Cipolli, Howard, Jiménez Bolaños, Seo
Visiting Assistant Professor Agbanusi

There are many good reasons to study mathematics: preparation for a career, use in another field, or the beauty of the subject itself. Students at Colgate who major in mathematics go on to careers in medicine, law, or business administration as well as areas of industry and education having an orientation in science. Non-majors often require mathematical skills to carry on work in other disciplines, and all students can use the study of mathematics to assist them in forming habits of precise expression, in developing their ability to reason logically, and in learning how to deal with abstract concepts. There are also many people who view mathematics as an art form, to be studied for its own intrinsic beauty.

All mathematics courses are open to qualified students. Entering first-year students who have successfully completed at least three years of second-ary school mathematics, including trigonometry, should be adequately prepared for MATH 161 . Students who have studied calculus in secondary school are typically ready to enter MATH 162  or MATH 163 .

Students who are planning to undertake graduate study in mathematics are advised to take MATH 485  and MATH 487 .

Course Information

The following classification scheme is used for MATH courses:

100-149: Only requires knowledge of mathematics before Calculus

150-199: Calculus-level knowledge and/or sophistication

200-249: Linear Algebra level (gentle transition-type course)

250-299: Transition to the major level

300-349: Courses with requirements at Math 150-249 level

350-399: Courses with requirements at the Math 250-299 level

400-449: Courses with requirements at the Math 300-349 level

450-474: Courses with requirements at the Math 350-399 level

475-484: Research experience seminars

485-499: Advanced material

Honors and High Honors

For a student to be considered for honors in Mathematics or in Applied Mathematics the student must achieve a 3.3 GPA in the respective major; in order for the student to be considered for high honors, a 3.7 GPA in the major is required. For both honors and high honors, completion of a course numbered 440 or above that is not a research seminar is required.

Honors / High Honors are attained by a student’s production and defense of a thesis of distinction. A grade of A- or better is required to be considered for honors. A grade of A or better is required to be considered for high honors.  The student’s thesis advisor puts forward the thesis for honors consideration. Joint theses are allowed but will not normally be considered for honors. Exceptions may be made with departmental permission.

As a reminder to the student writing theses for two different departments: In Colgate’s Honor Code, it states: Substantial portions of the same academic work may not be submitted for credit or honors more than once without the permission of the instructor(s).


The Allen First-Year Mathematical Prize —This prize is awarded for excellence in mathematical work throughout the student’s first year.

The Edwin J. Downie ‘33 Award for Mathematics — created in memory of Edwin J. Downie ‘33, professor of mathematics emeritus, this award will be given annually to a senior majoring in mathematics who has made outstanding contributions to the mathematics department through exemplary leadership, service, and achievement.

The Osborne Mathematics Prizes — established in honor of Professor Lucien M. Osborne, Class of 1847, to be awarded to any student who maintains a high average in mathematics courses in the junior year.

The Sisson Mathematics Prizes — established in honor of Eugene Pardon Sisson, a teacher of mathematics in the academy 1873–1912 and awarded to an outstanding sophomore student in mathematics.

Calculus Placement

Students should review the MATH 161 , MATH 162 , and MATH 163  course descriptions for information on topics and prerequisites, or consult with a department faculty member. In general, students are encouraged to enroll in a higher-level course. Students may drop back from MATH 162  to MATH 161  within the first three weeks, subject to available space in an acceptable MATH 161  section.

Advanced Placement

Students who have taken the Calculus-BC, Calculus-AB, or Statistics Advanced Placement exam of the College Entrance Examination Board will be granted credit according to the following policy:

  1. Students earning 4 or 5 on the Calculus-BC Advanced Placement exam will receive credit for MATH 161  and MATH 162 . Students earning 3 on the Calculus BC exam will receive credit only for MATH 161 .
  2. Students earning 4 or 5 on the Calculus-AB Advanced Placement exam will receive credit for MATH 161 .
  3. Students earning 4 or 5 on the Statistics Advanced Placement exam will receive credit for MATH 105 .
  4. There are no other circumstances under which a student will receive credit at Colgate for a mathematics course taken in high school.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for a mathematics course taken at another college will be granted upon the pre-approval of the department chair. Mathematics and Applied Mathematics majors or minors may not receive transfer credit for MATH 250 , MATH 260 MATH 375 , MATH 376 , or MATH 377 , but must pass these courses at Colgate and must take them as regularly scheduled courses, not as independent studies. At most, two transfer or independent studies courses may be counted toward a major or minor.

International Exam Transfer Credit

Transfer credit and/or placement appropriate to academic development of a student may be granted to incoming first year students who have achieved a score on an international exam (e.g., A-Levels, International Baccalaureate) that indicates a level of competence equivalent to the completion of a specific course in the department. Requests should be directed to the department chair. Any such credit may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry requirement, but may count towards the major.

Related Majors/Minors

Teacher Certification

The Department of Educational Studies offers a teacher education program for majors in mathematics who are interested in pursuing a career in elementary or secondary school teaching. Please refer to Educational Studies .

Study Groups

Colgate sponsors several study-abroad programs that can support continued work toward a major in mathematics. These include, but are not limited to, the Wales Study Group (U.K.), the Australia Study Group, the Australia II Study Group, and the Manchester Study Group (U.K.). For more information about these programs, see Off-Campus Study .


Majors and Minors



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