The Undergraduate Program

The Mathematics Department serves a very large number of undergraduate students. We aim for excellence in our teaching of algebra, precalculus, and calculus, for all students taking mathematics. In addition to our teaching staff, we work with Learning Support Services  to provide instructional assistance (tutoring) and the division administers Mathematics Placement in order to place students in an appropriate course. In addition to serving the campus itself with mathematical resources, we support a large number of undergraduate mathematics majors.

The Mathematics Department offers a Major program leading to a B.A. in Mathematics, as well as a Minor in Mathematics. A joint Economics/Mathematics B.A. is now possible, and administered through the Economics Department. Within the Mathematics Major, there are three tracks: Pure Mathematics, Mathematics Education, and Computational Mathematics.

The Pure Mathematics track is designed for students who value the study of mathematics, not only for application, but also for its own sake. Pure mathematicians focus on the big how and why questions of mathematics, and attempt to find new formulae and methods while utilizing insights from a tradition of thousands of years. The Pure Mathematics track is recommended for those interested in graduate study in pure mathematics, and those who seek a rigorous education that involves not only rote computational skills but also rigorous explanations of how mathematics works. To give a well-rounded education in mathematics, the Pure Mathematics track requires an introduction to proof class, and a balance of advanced coursework in algebra, analysis, and geometry. Majors who seek graduate study at top institutions often go beyond the required courses to enroll in graduate courses as well. 

Our Mathematics Education track is specially designed for prepare students for a career in K-12 mathematics education. It shares a rigorous approach to advanced mathematics, but requires coursework that is particularly relevant to the K-12 classroom:  number theory, classical geometry, and the history of mathematics. In addition, the Math Education track requires experience in Supervised Teaching. Many Math Education majors also participate in CalTeach, to enhance their experience and directly connect with local schools.

Our Computational Mathematics track offers flexibility to students who are interested in mathematics together with its applications – students in Computational Mathematics pick up skills in statistics, computer science, and mathematical modeling, among other topics. Much of the coursework for the Computational Mathematics track is offered outside of the Mathematics Department, offering an interdisciplinary experience.

The Mathematics Minor provides an excellent foundation in mathematics, which can serve a student well in careers that require quantitative analysis.  The Mathematics Minor can also provide an enjoyable supplement for students who love mathematics but have already decided to pursue another major.  The Mathematics Minor fits particularly well for students pursuing a quantitative major such as physics.  We encourage students to consider a combination of major and minor involving mathematics with physics, economics, computer science, and environmental science, for example. 

All major degree programs have introductory requirements, major requirements, and a comprehensive requirement (or senior capstone). These requirements are specifically detailed in the UCSC General Catalog on the Degree Requirements page of our site.