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Math & Computer Science

FAQs

Mathematics Questions

Q. I’m a first-year student. I might want to major in math. Which courses should I take?

A. You should make every effort to take at least MAT 201 and MAT 202 during your first year. If your schedule allows, or if you have AP credit, you might also take CSI 201, MAT 120, or MAT/CSI 240. Each of these three courses could be taken along with calculus or as a break from calculus if you have AP credit. Of course, if you have AP credit, you could also take the third semester of calculus, MAT 203.

Q. I took the AP Calculus exam. For which courses can I get credit?

A. A score of 4 on the AB exam gives you credit for MAT 201. A score of 4 or higher on the BC exam gives you credit for MAT 201 and MAT 202.

Q. I took the AP Calculus exam. I think I did well, but I do not yet have my scores. For which course should I register?

A. Since you can change classes during the first week of the semester, the main thing to keep in mind is to leave openings in your schedule in case you need to change classes. In most semesters, we offer a section of MAT 201 and a section of MAT 202 at the same time. Sign up for one of those sections to make the change easier.

Q. I don’t like math, but I need to take a course for distribution. Which course should I take?

A. The most popular courses for distribution are CSI 100 and MAT 109. CSI 100 is “Basics of Computing” and many students find this course both interesting and useful. MAT 109 is “Statistics”, which can also be very useful, especially for social science majors. Some majors, like Business, have courses that are taught within that department that count for distribution. Be sure to check with your advisor and with faculty in the areas you might like to study to see which courses they recommend for distribution. This is also a something to talk to other students about.

Q. I want to be a math teacher. What should I keep in mind as I schedule classes?

A. You should coordinate your schedule each semester by talking with advisors in both the math/cs department and the education department. You will likely spend the fall of your senior year student teaching. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind as you plan for your sophomore and junior years.

Q. I want to go to graduate school in math. Which courses should I take?

A. All of them. Seriously, though, you should take as many different math courses as possible so you have an idea of the various areas of math that you might be interested in. In particular, you should try to take all four of the “proof” courses: MAT 325, MAT 322, MAT 311, and MAT 312.

Q. What is the senior capstone experience for a math major?

A. The senior capstone experience in math consists of a written thesis and an oral presentation of the thesis. It also includes six problem presentations at the math majors seminar. You should present at least two problems during your junior year. See also the math major page. Recent thesis topics may also be found here.

Q. How do I find problems for the problem presentations?

A. Problems can be found in a number of regular mathematical publications. In addition, the department provides supplementary problems from time to time, usually passed out at the math majors seminar. See also the math major page.

Q. How do I pick a topic for my senior thesis?

A. Some students find a topic in the process of their course work. Others come to a faculty member and ask for a choice of topics. If you are not sure which topic you want to study, it is a good idea to talk with a few different faculty members and get some ideas. Many times, a faculty member can offer a quick summary of several possible topics. You can do a little preliminary research on a few areas and then come to a decision.

Q. Can I double major in math and something else?

A. Yes. Various majors can be combined with a math major. Recently, we have had math/economics, math/physics, and math/computer science double majors. Some majors (like cs or physics) blend particularly well with math since several courses can count for both majors. Of course, your schedule will be a bit tighter as you complete the requirements for two majors. Just be sure to check with advisors from both departments to make sure you stay on track from semester to semester.

  

Computer Science Questions

Q. I’m a first-year student. I might want to major in computer science. Which courses should I take?

A. You should make every effort to take CSI 201 and MAT 201 during your first year. If your schedule allows, you should also take CSI 202. You might also want to take MAT/CSI 240.

Q. I took the AP Computer Science exam. For which courses can I get credit?

A. A score of 4 or 5 on the A exam gives you credit for CSI 201. A score of 3 on the AB exam gives you credit for CSI 201. A score of 4 or 5 on the AB exam gives you credit for CSI 201 and CSI 202. Note that our Computer Science curriculum teaches C++ as the first language instead of Java.

Q. I took the AP Computer Science exam. I think I did well, but I do not yet have my scores. For which course should I register?

A. Since you can change classes during the first week of the semester, the main thing to keep in mind is to leave openings in your schedule in case you need to change classes. In most semesters, we offer a section of CSI 201 and a section of CSI 202 at the same time. Sign up for one of those sections to make the change easier.

Q. I don’t like computer science, but I need to take a course for quantitative distribution. Which course should I take?

A. The most popular courses for distribution are CSI 100 and MAT 109. CSI 100 is “Basics of Computing” and many students find this course both interesting and useful. MAT 109 is “Statistics”, which can also be very useful, especially for social science majors. Some majors, like Business, have courses that are taught within that department that count for distribution. Be sure to check with your advisor and with faculty in the areas you might like to study to see which courses they recommend for distribution. This is also a something to talk to other students about.

Q. I want to go to graduate school in computer science. Which courses should I take?

A. All of them. Seriously, though, you should take as many different computer science courses as possible so you have an idea of the various areas of computer science that you might be interested in. In particular, you should try to take CSI 450 and CSI 470.

Q. What is the senior capstone experience for a computer science major?

A. The senior capstone experience in computer science consists of a prototype (computer program), a written thesis, and an oral presentation. Recent thesis topics may be found here.

Q. How do I pick a topic for my senior thesis?

A. Some students find a topic in the process of their course work. Others come to a faculty member and ask for a choice of topics. If you are not sure which topic you want to study, it is a good idea to talk with a few different faculty members and get some ideas. Many times, a faculty member can offer a quick summary of several possible topics. You can do a little preliminary research on a few areas and then come to a decision.

Q. Can I double major in computer science (CSI) and something else?

A. Yes. Various majors can be combined with a CSI major. Recently, we have had several double majors. Some majors (like math or physics) blend particularly well with CSI since several courses can count for both majors. Of course, your schedule will be a bit tighter as you complete the requirements for two majors. Just be sure to check with advisors from both departments to make sure you stay on track from semester to semester.