Requirements for the Math Major

The major in Mathematics is designed to meet four learning objectives:

         1.  Learn central ideas of mathematics and mathematical thinking,

         2.  Improve problem solving ability by combining creative, critical, and abstract thinking with rigorous reasoning,

         3.  Communicate mathematical ideas effectively, both orally and in writing,  to technical and non-technical audiences,

         4.  Be exposed to the power of mathematics and mathematical thinking in applications, research, and beyond.

The major requires nine courses taken at Williams plus colloquium. Click here for the placement chart. Students are urged to consult with the department faculty on choosing courses appropriate to an individualized program of study.  Students interested in an applied mathematics pathway through the math major should see these recommendations.


2 courses

  • Mathematics 140 (formerly 104) Calculus II
  • Mathematics 150 or 151 (formerly 105 or 106) Multivariable Calculus

Except in unusual circumstances, students planning to major in mathematics should complete the calculus sequence (Mathematics 130, 140, 150/151) before the end of the sophomore year, at the latest.

Applied/Discrete Mathematics/Statistics

1 course

  • Mathematics 200 (formerly 251) Discrete Mathematics
  • Mathematics 209 Differential Equations and Vector Calculus
  • Mathematics 210 Mathematical Methods for Scientists (Same as Physics 210)
  • Statistics 201 Statistics and Data Analysis Statistics
  • a more advanced elective in discrete or applied mathematics or statistics, with prior departmental approval.

Core Courses

3 courses

  • Mathematics 250 (formerly 211) Linear Algebra
  • Mathematics 350 (formerly 301) Real Analysis or Mathematics 351 (formerly 305) Applied Real Analysis
  • Mathematics 355 (formerly 312, 315, or 317) Abstract Algebra


3 courses plus colloquium

  • The Senior Major Course is any Mathematics or Statistics course numbered between 400 and 479 taken in the junior or senior year.
  • Two electives from Mathematics or Statistics courses numbered 300 and above.
  • Weekly participation as a senior in the Mathematics Colloquium, in which all senior majors present talks on mathematical or statistical topics of their choice.


For more details and recommendations, including advanced placement, applied mathematics, and graduate school, see the catalog.