Mathematics Department Located in Robinson Hall
The Mathematics Department seeks to teach, challenge, and inspire all Washington & Lee students and the broader community, with the beauty and power of mathematics.
As professors, we want our students to experience mathematics as a creative endeavor as well as a useful tool in modeling and exploring physical and social processes. Our students learn to question assumptions; to dissect complex problems; and to move beyond numbers and formulas to the underlying ideas they express; to develop perseverance; to recognize, admit, and correct mistakes; and to identify, describe, and understand patterns.
As mathematicians, we contribute to the understanding of mathematics through our own discoveries, through cooperation with other mathematicians, and through outreach to the communities around us.
Mathematics at Washington & Lee
The study of mathematics has provided many opportunities for recent majors. They have pursued careers as analysts with consulting firms, as actuaries, as financial analysts in the banking and finance arenas, as teachers, and as software developers. Other majors have pursued advanced degrees in mathematics, computer science, economics, engineering, law, and medicine.
During their four years at W&L, mathematics majors gain a mastery of fundamental areas of mathematics such as single and multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, modern abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations, geometry, topology, mathematical statistics, discrete mathematics, graph theory, and other topics. In the past five years, at least nine faculty members have mentored mathematics research students during the summer. There have been more than 40 students involved in these projects. Each year, some of these students give talks at regional mathematics conferences, and their research is published in mathematics research journals. In addition to summer research opportunities, mathematics faculty work with students completing research projects in order to write an Honors Thesis in Mathematics. The number of these students varies from year to year, averaging 1-2 students per year.
What You Can Do With a Math Major:
Just like most history majors don't become historians, most math majors don't become professional mathematicians. So what can they do?
- Be an actuary: See BeAnActuary.org and Preparing for an Actuarial Career at W&L.
- Who uses math? See WeUseMath.org.
- The Wall Street Journal says the three of the top four jobs in 2014 are Mathematician, Actuary, and Statistician.
- According to Forbes, Applied Math, Math, and Statistics are 3 of the 15 most valuable Majors,
- Read some Alumni Profiles and see what other W&L math majors have done.