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Top Colleges for Math Majors

by Suzy Kerr

Math is usually one of those subjects that people either love or hate, but if you’ve got a love for numbers and working out problems, then majoring in math can turn your passion into a career. Math majors take all the required liberal arts courses just like other undergraduate students, but they also take a wide range of math courses like linear algebra and number theory.This focus on math can lead to a bachelor of science degree that can be used in a variety of professions or in continuing education. Schools across the U.S. have been ranked in a report for "U.S. News and World Report" based on criteria such as test scores, graduation rates and financial resources, and choosing a top-rated college for math majors can enhance your studies and future opportunities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT offers four tracks for math majors: general, applied, theoretical and math with computer science. The college is well known for its rigorous academic programs and diverse range of courses, and the math department is no exception. Math majors can elect to take anything from calculus to quantum computation. MIT students also have a number of opportunities, including mentor partnership, study abroad programs and participation in math competitions.

Harvard University

As an Ivy League heavyweight, it should come as no surprise that Harvard’s mathematics department makes the cut as a top school for math majors. Undergrads focusing on this subject will gain a comprehensive math knowledge base through coursework and campus organizations devoted to math. The Math Table at Harvard is a vital tool for students, meeting every week and discussing various topics in applied and pure math. Not only is this educational, it also helps generate ideas for the senior thesis, which all students must submit to receive honors.

Stanford University

As a testament to the program's rigor, math majors at Stanford must be approved by department faculty members. Once approved, undergraduate students will take courses in calculus, statistics, group theory and many other subjects. The college also offers the Stanford Undergraduate Research Institute in Mathematics, which is a 10-week extracurricular option that allows students to collaborate with peers and faculty members on various math problems.

Princeton University

The Department of Mathematics at Princeton offers an array of lower division courses for math majors that are designed to introduce them to the diverse field and give them the analytical skills they’ll need for higher level courses. These may include precalculus or linear algebra courses that will help prepare them for more advanced classes, such as cryptography or random processes that they will take later in their academic careers. Princeton also expects independent work from math students with junior seminars and papers and senior theses required.

University of California - Berkeley

At UC Berkeley, the undergraduate math program offers three majors: mathematics, mathematics with a teaching concentration and applied mathematics. Regardless of the concentration, all math majors are intended to graduate with extensive knowledge in calculus, linear algebra and number theories. Electives in geometry, logic and mathematical modeling are options for students interested in customizing their studies in those areas. Undergraduates at the college are also encouraged to participate in the prestigious Putnam Competition.

About the Author

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.

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