- Degree Type Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Science
- Department Mathematics
- Academic Division The College
- Offerings Major Minor
Mathematics welcomes students with a wide range of interests. Mathematics pairs well with many other fields, and students experience the subject as a creative endeavor as well as a useful tool in modeling and exploring physical and social processes.
In the Mathematics Department at W&L, dedicated professors help all math students develop the perseverance they need to move beyond numbers and formulas to the underlying ideas they express. Students are taught to identify, describe and understand patterns, and to recognize, admit and correct their mistakes.
During their four years at W&L, mathematics majors and minors gain a mastery of fundamental areas of mathematics including single and multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra and real analysis. In addition, students complete a number of electives.
The Math Center
Math Department faculty want all students to succeed in their mathematics classes. You can always see your professor during office hours. In addition, the Math Center is open five evenings each week; this is a place where students can seek help on material in 100-level courses, with no appointment necessary.
“The Math Center is staffed by some of our best math majors who can really help these students,” said Professor Gregory Dresden. “But they won’t just present the student with the solution to a math problem. They’ll have students work out the problem on their own and guide them toward finding the right answer.”
Collaborative research with faculty: Every year, we have a number of students conducting research with mathematics faculty at W&L during the academic year or during the summer. Students may earn one to three credits for this work, and the Summer Research Scholars program provides funding for summer research. Some research students give talks at regional mathematics conferences or publish articles in mathematics journals. Some mathematics majors extend their research project and write an honors thesis in mathematics.
Study abroad: Mathematics majors have completed some mathematics coursework while studying abroad at the London School of Economics, the University of St. Andrews and Oxford University. In addition, there are study abroad programs in mathematics in Budapest and Moscow.
Here are a few careers that use mathematics: actuarial mathematics, data science, applied mathematics, biomathematics, biostatistics, computer science, financial mathematics, economics law, medicine, music, technical writing, operations research, public heath and epidemiology, public policy research mathematics, statistics and education
In addition to mathematics and related fields, recent mathematics majors at W&L have pursued graduate studies in analytics, operations research, business, economics, computer science, engineering, law and medicine.
Cory Colbert, assistant professor of mathematics at W&L, will present on this year’s International Mathematical Union’s Fields Medal on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.
Mathematics of Politics
In this course, we focus on mathematical reasoning about politics. What makes this course mathematical is not numbers or formulas but rather reasoning. Students must think about what is possible and what is impossible. Is there a good way to determine winners of elections? Is there a good way to apportion congressional seats? Is there a good way to make decisions in situations of conflict and uncertainty? We begin by carefully and precisely formulating environments in which we can discuss approaches to elections, apportionment and rational decision-making. We contemplate criteria that capture the notions of goodness within these environments, and see importance of precise definitions and consistent rules of logic in mathematical reasoning. Throughout the course, we pay attention to the way that technical words are defined so that the precise technical meaning is not confused with the ordinary meaning that the word carries in natural language.
Bridges to Advanced Math
The course explores various important mathematical constructions and ideas, with a particular emphasis on mathematical inquiry and reasoning. Topics include: sets, functions, equivalence relations, modular arithmetic, and basic properties of the integers, real numbers and complex numbers.
Financial & Actuarial Mathematics
An introduction to some of the fundamental topics in financial and actuarial mathematics. Possible topics include calculating present and accumulated values for various streams of cash and the theoretical basis of corporate finance and financial models and the application of those models to insurance and other financial risks.
Mathematics of Puzzles & Games
The application of mathematics to puzzles and games. A brief survey on the designs of tournaments. The puzzles and games include but are not limited to the Rubik's Cube, poker, blackjack and peg solitaire.
Probability, probability density and distribution functions, mathematical expectation, discrete and continuous random variables, and moment generating functions.
Topics in Geometry & Topology
Topics vary but can include knot theory, topology and geometry of surfaces, differential geometry, Riemann surfaces, 3-manifolds, tilings, geometric probability, geometry of spacetime, finite geometry, computational geometry, differential topology and projective geometry.
Meet the Faculty
At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.
Professor of Mathematics
Abrams teaches courses on the dimensions of art and math. His research combines geometry, topology, group theory, combinatorics and probability. His current research pertains to tilting of a square by triangles and rectangles.
Associate Dean of the College for Administration and Professor of Mathematics
Beanland teaches a variety of mathematics courses but specializes in mathematical analysis. His primary research area is Banach space theory, on which he has published several scholarly papers.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Broda’s research interests include modelling of carbon content of ecosystems, population dynamics, catastrophes, stochastic processes and dynamical systems. His most recent scholarship has focused on employing statistical methods to study semi-stochastic processes.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Professor Bush teaches a wide range of mathematics courses. He particularly enjoys teaching courses and mentoring undergraduate research projects in algebra, number theory and discrete mathematics. He also has an interest in recreational and contest mathematics and often helps students prepare for the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.
Dean of the College and Professor of Mathematics
In addition to her duties as Dean of the College at W&L, Kimber is a member of the Mathematics Department faculty. Her research interests include ordered rings and groups.