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Mathematics: Liberal Arts

The Liberal Arts Mathematics Specialization is a specialization of the Mathematics major that offers students the opportunity to study all areas of mathematics from pure mathematics to applied mathematics.  This page lists the program documents and other information about the specialization.  For more information, please contact your advisor or the department chair.

Program Documents for the Mathematics Liberal Arts Specialization:

  • Program Planner:
    • For students declaring the specialization in the 2014-15 academic year: 2014-2015.
    • Past years:  2013-2014.
  • The four-year Planner gives a suggested schedule plan for taking the courses in your major:
    • For students declaring the specialization in the 2014-15 academic year: 2014-2015
    • Past years: 2013-2014
  • General Advising Information for Math Majors.
  • Science requirements:
    • For students declaring the specialization in the 2014-15 academic year: 2014-15.
    • Past years: 2013-14.

The Undergraduate Bulletin is the official list of major requirements. However, by following the list of requirements below, and meeting the retention and graduation grade requirements, students will meet all their requirements.  An Honors program is available for Mathematics: Liberal Arts majors. More information can be found at Mathematics: Liberal Arts Honors.


Liberal Arts Mathematics Specialization Learning Goals

Students will demonstrate the following:

  1. The ability to understand and write mathematical proofs at the advanced undergraduate level
  2. The ability to bring together concepts from various areas of mathematics to solve mathematical problems
  3. The ability to effectively communicate mathematical ideas to their peers, both orally and in writing
  4. The ability to use technology appropriately to investigate mathematical problems
  5. Engagement in mathematics as a discipline

Requirements of the Mathematics Major/Mathematics Specialization:

This information is for students declaring the specialization in the 2014-15 academic year.  Please consult the above documents for previous years.

1. Courses in the Major (13 course units)

MAT 099 Orientation for Math/Stat Majors 0
MAT 128 Calculus B 1
MAT 200 Proof Writing through Discrete Mathematics 1
MAT 205 Linear Algebra: Theory and Applications 1
MAT 229 Multivariable Calculus 1
MAT 305 Abstract Algebra 1
MAT 310 Real Analysis 1
MAT 498 Senior Capstone Course (writing intensive) 1
Mathematics Options 6

The six Mathematics Options may be any MAT course at the 300/400 level , with at least two courses at the 400 level.

Students may count at most one course unit of independent study, guided study, or independent research courses as part of their options towards the major. Additional courses may be taken as electives, but will not count towards the major. When taking an independent study, guided study, or independent research course, a student’s course load should not be more than 4.5 course units. Independent study, guided study, or independent research courses may not be taken in order to improve a grade, or to replace a course that a student failed to sign up for.

In addition to the course requirements, there are graduation and retention grade requirements that must be met.  Details can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin and on the department website.


2. Correlate/Science Courses (2 units)

One natural science course with lab on the approved list.  One computer science course that must CSC 220 or CSC 250.


3.  First Seminar Course (1 unit)

All students must take a first seminar course in their first year. If the First Seminar is in Category 1 or 2 of the Liberal Learning areas (see below), it will count towards that area’s requirements. The writing intensive First Seminar satisfies one of the writing requirement in (5).


4. Academic Writing Requirement (1 unit, possibly 0)

A student must either take WRI 102: Academic Writing or be exempted from it.


5. Additional Writing Experiences

In addition to the academic writing requirement in (4), students must take three writing intensive courses. One of these courses is the First Seminar listed above. The second writing requirement is satisfied with MAT 205. The third course is the senior capstone course MAT 498.


6. Second Language Requirement (0-3 units)

You must complete the language requirement at the 103 level or higher. Also, if you took four or more years of a language in high school and continue with this language and you are placed at the 101 level, then the 101 level course will NOT count towards the 32 units required for graduation.


7. Additional Liberal Learning Requirements (6 units, possibly 5)

The Liberal Learning system defines graduation requirements in a broad set of learning categories. As a Mathematics major with an Applied Mathematics Specialization, the Natural Science and Quantitative Reasoning Requirement is automatically met. The other requirements are listed below. Please note that it is possible for a course to fulfill a requirement in more than one category. For example, the course “The Evolution of Middle Eastern Women Writers” would satisfy the Gender requirement (Category 5), the Global Perspectives requirement (Category 4) as well as count as 1 unit towards the Category 1a requirement. However, a course can satisfy at most two of the requirements in Categories 3-6.

Liberal Learning Categories

  1. Arts and Humanities (3 units required)
    • a. Literary, Visual and Performing Arts (at least 1 unit)
    • b. World Views and Ways of Knowing (at least 1 unit)
  2. Social Sciences and History (3 units required)
    • a. Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives (at least 1 unit)
    • b. Social Change in Historical Perspective (at least 1 unit)
  3. Race and Ethnicity (1 unit/program/experience required)
  4. Global Perspectives (1 unit/program/experience required
  5. Gender (1 unit/program/experience required)
  6. Community Engaged learning (1 unit/program/experience required)

Note: Categories 3, 4, 5 & 6 may be met through courses, programs, or other experiences.

Six courses must be taken to satisfy the requirements of Category 1 and 2 of the Liberal Learning requirements. If the First Seminar is chosen in these areas, only five other courses will need to be taken to satisfy these requirements.


8. Information Literacy

IDS 102 is a required online, non-credit course administered by the library staff. Students must meet this proficiency prior to graduation, but are encouraged to do so as early as possible.


9. Free Electives (5 or more course units, depending on other course choices)

These are courses that students can take without having to meet any requirements. You must take enough electives so that you meet the graduation requirement of 32 total units. You may opt to use these free electives to satisfy the requirements of a minor of your choice, or if you have plans for graduate school to take further upper level courses in the major.

Note: If course requirements such as WRI 102 or second language are waived through placement or other means, then electives should be substituted to meet the 32 course unit total.

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