Mathematics

Requirements

MATHEMATICS

MAJOR: The minimum requirements for the major outlined below permit students great flexibility in designing a course of study to meet their own intellectual and career goals.

Fundamental courses: Calculus 1, 2, Mathematics 210, Mathematics 212, and Mathematics 214. 

Any student who places out of a Calculus 1 or 2 class satisfies the corresponding requirement for the Math Major.

Advanced courses: Students must have 24 units of Mathematics or Computer Science courses numbered 310 or above (excluding Mathematics 400) in which their grade point average is equal to or greater than 2.0.

Colloquium requirement: Mathematics 300 and 400.

Breadth requirement: Mathematics 150; or any 4 units of Computer Science courses; or a 2-unit Computer Science course coupled with Mathematics 160.

The Mathematics department has prepared guidelines for majors considering future study or careers in pure and applied mathematics, education, actuarial science, and computer science. These guidelines are available on our website.

WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in Mathematics should familiarize themselves with this requirement at the time of declaring the major. The Third-Year Writing Requirement is addressed in Mathematics 300. Students not taking Mathematics 300 (e.g., study abroad students) may petition to satisfy the writing requirement at a different time.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION: This examination has two parts. The first part measures competence in the fundamental courses and is handled during Mathematics 300: Junior Colloquium. The second part consists of an independent project culminating in a written report and public presentation during the senior year, and is handled through Mathematics 400: Senior Colloquium. Further information is available from the department.

MINOR: At least 12 units from Mathematics 150, 210, 212, and 214. In addition, at least one 300-level 4-unit course is required. Students must take at least 20 units or the equivalent of five semester-courses in Mathematics at Occidental or through college transfer (not AP) credit to earn the minor in Mathematics. The grade point average for all Mathematics courses taken at Occidental and through college transfer must be at least 2.0.

HONORS: Students who wish to be considered for honors in mathematics should complete at least the five fundamental courses in their first two years with a grade point average greater than 3.0. Honors students must complete three approved upper division courses beyond those required for the major. These courses should be chosen to prepare the student for the senior honors project. Honors students enroll in Mathematics 499 to prepare this project, which is substituted for Mathematics 400 in satisfying the major requirements. Consult the Mathematics Department and the Honors Program for additional details.

CALCULUS PLACEMENT: Placement in calculus courses (Mathematics 108, 110, 114, or 128) is determined in part by the Calculus Placement Exam, administered online prior to the beginning of Fall Semester. Students achieving a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination in Calculus (AB or BC) are exempt from the Calculus Placement Examination.

Students will be placed into Mathematics 108, 110, 114, or 128 based on previous mathematical experience, advising, and the results of the Calculus Placement Exam. Students with qualifying scores on the Advanced Placement Examination in Calculus are most often placed in calculus courses as follows:

Calculus AP Exam ScoreWhich Math course to take
BC 4 or 5150, 210, 212, or 214.
BC 3 (AB sub-score of 4 or 5)128 (possibly 120 after consultation with Math Dept)
BC 3 (AB sub-score of 1, 2 or 3)108, 114, or 120: attend Math Advising Session
BC 1 or 2Take Calculus Placement Exam
AB 4 or 5128 (possibly 120 after consultation with Math Dept)
AB 3114 or 120: attend Math Advising Session
AB 1 or 2Take Calculus Placement Exam
IB Exam ScoreWhich Math course to take
IB 6 or 7150, 210, 212, or 214.
IB 5114 or 120 or 128: attend Math Advising Session
IB 4114
IB 3 or lessTake Calculus Placement Exam

In addition to the calculus courses, Mathematics 105, 146, 150, 160, 210, 212, 214, and Computer Science 211 may be taken by first-year students meeting the prerequisites.

Students with transfer credits should confer with the Department for advice on placement in an appropriate mathematics course.

STATISTICS PLACEMENT: Students receiving a 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics Exam are exempt from Math 146; Math 150 is recommended for these students wanting to take further statistics courses.

MATHEMATICS COURSES: Calculus is a prerequisite for all mathematics courses with the exceptions of Mathematics 105 and 146, as well as for most Computer Science courses. All students planning to take Calculus must take the online Calculus Placement Exam prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester unless they are exempt due to having received an Advanced Placement exam score. (See Calculus Placement above or contact the Mathematics Department for further details.) Prerequisites for any course may be waived with permission of the instructor.