Apr 25, 2018  

Mathematics and Computer Science

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Professors: Bivens, Davis, Molinek (Chair), Heyer, Mossinghoff, Neidinger
Associate Professor: Chartier
Assistant Professors: Ramanujan, Yerger
Visiting Assistant Professor: Peachey


Information for Prospective Mathematics Majors

After MAT 113 (Calculus II), prospective majors and minors should take a non-calculus course as soon as possible, chosen from MAT 150, 220, 230, and 255.  Some students complete one of MAT 315, 330, and 355 by the end of the sophomore year, and normally majors complete one or two of these by the end of the junior year. A student who places out of a 100-level required course in the major, but without credit for that course, may petition the chair to substitute a course numbered above 200 for the omitted course in her or his major requirements.  

Major Requirements

The major in Mathematics consists of eleven Mathematics or Computer Science courses: MAT 113; MAT 150; either MAT 140 or MAT 160; one of MAT 220, MAT 230, or MAT 255; two of MAT 315, MAT 330, or MAT 355; five electives from courses numbered above 200, with at least two of those above 300.

Minor Requirements

A minor in Mathematics consists of six courses: MAT 113; MAT 150; MAT 140 or MAT 160; one of MAT 220, MAT 230, or MAT 255; one of MAT 315, MAT 330, or MAT 355 and one additional Mathematics or Computer Science course numbered above 200. Unless a specific exception is approved by the department, the courses above 200 must be taken at Davidson and may not include independent studies. No Pass/Fail course may be applied toward the minor.

Minor in Computer Science

2. Data Structures

3. Combinatorics and Graph Theory

5. One additional elective listed in requirement 4, or an approved independent-study or seminart at the 300- or 400-level


No pass/fail course may count toward the minor in Computer Science, and at most one course from this minor may be applied toward the major course of study, provided that the major department permits this.  Also, by academic regulations, a student must maintain a 2.00 grade point average overall in order to pursue a minor, and must obtain a grade of C or better in each course counting toward a minor.  Finally, a student may have a minor, a concentration, or a second major, but may not have a combination or two or more of these.

Honors Requirements

Candidates for honors in mathematics may emphasize either pure or applied mathematics. In meeting the major requirements stated above, honors candidates emphasizing pure mathematics must include Mathematics 220, 235, 330 and 355, two of  331, 340, or 360, and either 430, 450, or 455 in their programs. Course work for those emphasizing applied mathematics must include Mathematics 210, 220, 235, 315, a two-course sequence consisting of Mathematics 340 and 341 or of Mathematics 330 and 331, and one 400-level course (not an Independent Study). All candidates must prepare an honors thesis and defend the thesis orally before the mathematics faculty. Candidates must attain grade point averages of at least 3.2 overall and 3.5 on all Mathematics courses numbered above 113 and Computer Science courses numbered above 200. The final recommendation of the department for graduation with honors is determined by the quality of the candidate’s complete academic record, thesis, and defense. At the department’s discretion, in the case of an exceptional academic record, together with a thesis of the highest quality incorporating original mathematics, the department confers high honors.

The Department recommends that students interested in an honors program notify their academic advisers and the chair of the department during the spring semester of the sophomore year, or as soon as possible thereafter. During the junior year, such a student should identify an area of mathematics for exploration and seek out a member of the department to serve as a potential honors supervisor. Formal declaration of pursuit of honors is recommended by the end of the advising period in the spring of the junior year and is due by the end of the first week of classes of the senior year. See the department chair for the appropriate form and further details on the honors process and requirements.

Graduate School

A student who intends to go to graduate school in mathematics should speak with their advisor who may suggest the following: (1) take the course work portion of the honors requirements in either pure mathematics or applied mathematics, (2) take the Graduate Record Examination, including the Advanced Test in Mathematics, during the fall semester of the senior year, (3) engage in a research experience at Davidson or elsewhere, and (4) acquire a reading proficiency in French, German, or Russian.

Certificate for Secondary School Teaching

Students who intend to seek North Carolina licensure in the teaching of secondary school mathematics are required to take Mathematics 210. Other recommended courses include Mathematics 340, 365, and 380.

Applied Mathematics Concentration

This concentration offers a track for students interested primarily in the Natural Sciences and another track for students interested primarily in the Social Sciences. The concentration is described in detail in a separate section of this catalog.

Computer Science

Students who are interested in computer science are encouraged to consider the Computer Science Concentration. The concentration is described in detail in a separate section of this catalog.

The student who intends to pursue graduate study in computer science should complete Computer Science 321, 322, 324, and 325, and should augment the Computer Science Concentration with Mathematics 210, 340, and 355, and Philosophy 200.  The Graduate Record Examination should be taken during the fall semester of the senior year.

Mathematics Courses

The 100-level courses are open to all students with appropriate background. Math 108, 110, and 111 assume no calculus background. Math 111 and Math 112 each assume a precalculus background - the study of functions and their inverses, including trigonometric exponential, and logarithmic functions.  Placement in the other 100-level courses depends on previous background. See the placement advice on the department website. Note that Math 113, Math 150, and either Math 140 or Math 160 are required for the major. 

The 200-level courses are introductory and serve as an introduction to the major. While open to all students, these courses are normally taken by students with at least one 100-level mathematics course taken at Davidson.

The 300-level courses, 315, 330, and 355 are fundamental major courses and typically are taken after one or more 200-level courses. The other 300-level courses are electives for the major usually requiring one or more prerequisites.

The 400-level courses are advanced courses for upper class majors.

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