Professors: Bivens, Davis, Klein, Molinek (Chair), Neidinger (On leave), Swallow
Associate Professors: Heyer, Mossinghoff (On leave)
Visiting Associate Professor: Whitton
Assistant Professors: Chartier, Mason
Mathematics 110, 118, 130, 135, 137, 150, and Computer Science 121 count towards the fulfillment of the distribution requirements in Natural Science and Mathematics; specifically, each fulfills the requirement of one course in Mathematics. Credit for Mathematics 130 can be obtained by departmental approval of a student’s performance on one of the Advanced Placement Examinations in Mathematics. Credit for Computer Science 121 can be obtained by departmental approval of a student’s performance on one of the Advanced Placement Examinations in Computer Science.
Information for Prospective Mathematics Majors
Prospective mathematics majors should complete the following five mathematics courses (or their high school equivalents) by the end of the sophomore year: Mathematics 130, 135, 150, 235 and 300. Note that Mathematics 130, 135, 150, and 235 are sequenced, although the last two may be taken together. These courses, along with Mathematics 300, are prerequisites for many electives in mathematics, a number of which are offered only in alternate years. Students who are interested in computer science electives should complete Computer Science 231 by the end of the sophomore year.
The major in mathematics consists of eleven mathematics or computer science courses: Mathematics 135, 150, 235, 300, 355, one course from each of Group A, B, and C listed below, and three additional mathematics or computer science courses chosen from 137 and all courses numbered above 200.
Group A: Computer Science 231 (Data Structures) and 325 (Numerical Analysis); Mathematics 210 (Mathematical Modeling) and 341 (Mathematical Statistics)
Group B: Mathematics 221 (Discrete Methods), 255 (Elementary Number Theory), and 365 (Geometry)
Group C: Mathematics 335 (Vector Calculus and Partial Differential Equations), 340 (Probability), and 435 (Complex Analysis)
At least five courses in the major must be at the 300- or 400-level. At most three computer science courses may be included in the major. Computer science independent studies may not be included unless the specific instance is approved by the department. Groups A, B, and C establish breadth in three areas of mathematics, and students are encouraged, therefore, to consider courses outside these groups as potential electives for inclusion in their majors.
A minor in mathematics consists of six mathematics courses: Mathematics 135, 150, 235, 300, and two additional mathematics courses chosen from 137 and all courses numbered above 200, one of which must have Mathematics 300 as a prerequisite. Unless a specific exception is approved by the department, the five courses numbered above 135 must be taken at Davidson and may not include independent studies or computer science courses other than Computer Science 325.
No pass-fail course may be applied toward the minor. College requirements specify a grade point average of 2.0 for those courses which constitute a student’s minor and an overall grade point average of 2.0 for all courses.
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 221, 335, 340, 360, 430, 435 and either 450 or 455 in their programs. Course work for those emphasizing applied mathematics must include Mathematics 210, 221, 335, Computer Science 325, a two-course sequence consisting of Mathematics 340 and 341 or of Mathematics 430 and 435, and one additional course chosen from Mathematics 340, 430, 435, 437, or an approved seminar. All honors candidates must participate in an independent study course in which they prepare an honors thesis that is defended orally before the mathematics faculty. College requirements for honors specify minimum grade point averages of 3.2 overall and 3.5 in the major. The major average is computed on all Mathematics and Computer Science courses numbered above 130. The final recommendation of the department for graduation with honors is determined by the quality of the honors thesis, the oral defense and the complete overall academic record of the candidate. At the department’s discretion, high honors may be awarded when the candidate’s academic record is truly exceptional and his or her thesis is of the highest quality and includes original mathematical concepts or results.
Any student considering an honors program should notify his or her academic advisor and the chair of the department during the spring semester of the sophomore year or as soon as possible thereafter. During the junior year, the student should identify an area of mathematics he or she would like to explore and should seek out a member of the department to serve as the potential honors supervisor. Formal application for honors should be made in writing to the chair of the department no later than April 30 of the junior year. Early application is encouraged. Applications must include the name of the honors supervisor, the general area of investigation, and a semester by semester schedule for the required course work and independent study.
A student who intends to go to graduate school in mathematics should: (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, and (3) acquire a reading proficiency in French, German or Russian.
Certificate for Secondary School Teaching
Mathematics 340 and 365 are required for students who intend to seek North Carolina certification in the teaching of secondary school mathematics. Mathematics 210 and 481 are also recommended for such students.
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.
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. In addition, valuable experience can be gained by serving as a student assistant for Information Technology Services. Inquiries concerning these opportunities should be made at the User Services Building.
The student who intends to pursue graduate study in computer science should augment the Computer Science Concentration with Mathematics 150, 235, 300, 340, and 355. The Graduate Record Examination should be taken during the fall semester of the senior year.
Depending on previous background, one of the courses at the 100 level is usually the best choice as a first course at Davidson (see placement advice on the department website). Courses at the 200 level typically have only 100 level prerequisites. Mathematics 300 is a gateway course that is required for most Mathematics courses numbered above 350. In general, courses at the 300 and 400 level usually have at least a 200 level prerequisite. While the first digit usually indicates a level of required maturity within the discipline, any level may be taken at any point within a student’s career as long as the course prerequisites and restrictions are satisfied.