Undergraduate Advising

Most students must take the Math Placement Test before taking their first math course at Western, including many students who have transferred credits for math courses taken elsewhere. Enrolled students, need help with math? Stop by the Math Center.

Students interested in declaring a BS in Math, Applied Math, or Math/Computer Science should use these interactive forms to help sketch out a plan of study. We encourage students to fill out a form and bring a copy when they meet with their advisor

General Information for Enrolled Students

Thinking of Declaring the Major?

Need help deciding whether Mathematics is the major you want to declare? You're invited to meet with a Mathematics Adviser at any time to ask questions and explore various options. If you're thinking of declaring the major, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible in order to establish a plan of study.

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Program Options : Majors and Minors

The department has programs leading to the B.A. and B.S. in Mathematics, B. S. in Applied Mathematics, and the B.A. in Education (elementary and secondary). We also offer combined majors with Biology, Chemistry (for secondary education), Computer Science, Economics, and Physics (for secondary education). A General Studies major is designed for students who want to focus their studies across courses and departments of their choosing. Minors are available in Mathematics and Secondary Education. The mathematics department also offers an accelerated B.S.-M.S. option. For detailed information about each of these options, see Majors and Minors. If you have any questions, or if you need help deciding which option is for you, make an appointment with a Mathematics Adviser.

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Procedure for Declaring

Students interested in declaring a BS in Math, Applied Math, or Math/Computer Science should use these interactive forms to help sketch out a plan of study. For all other majors, there is also a generic plan of study form available online or in paper form at the math office. We encourage students to fill out a form and bring a copy when they meet with their advisor.

Then go to the Mathematics Office in BH 202 and get an Official Declaration of Major card. Next, you need to contact a Mathematics Adviser to declare in person or by mail. Be sure to bring your Official Declaration of Major card, your Degree Planning Guide (the blue book), and copies of your transcript(s) (unofficial is fine). We can determine which courses may be applied toward the major, and develop a plan of study for the remaining course work. For information on the various mathematics major options, see Majors and Minors.

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Information for Minors

Two different minors are available: Mathematics and Secondary Mathematics Education. For details about these minors, see Majors and Minors. Students planning to take Woodring’s MIT program in order to be credentialed as a secondary math teacher should consider doing the minor in Secondary Math Education rather than the math minor. For Minors in Secondary Math Education, see Prof. Johnson in BH 212. The following refers only to Mathematics Minors.

1. The faculty advisor for math minors is Prof. Ypma in BH 202; email: tjalling.ypma@wwu.edu

2. Math minors need to be declared as early as possible. To do so, collect the appropriate yellow minor declaration card and related information sheets from the math office staff in BH202. Fill in and sign the card and ask the staff to make an appointment with Prof. Ypma to get his signature on the card. Once he has signed the card, take the completed card to the Registrar.

3. For advice regarding required and acceptable courses to take, obtain the relevant handout from the department staff in BH 202. For further advice or clarification, consult with Prof. Ypma.

4. You need to get at least a C- in each course you want to count towards completion of the minor.

5. At least 50% of the credits counting towards the minor need to be from WWU. If you transfer in some of the courses required for the minor, then credits from math courses from WWU beyond those required for the minor may replace some of the required math credits for the purposes of satisfying this rule. In other words, you need at least 18 WWU math credits in total, and some of those credits may be from WWU math courses you take beyond those actually required for the minor. Consult with Prof. Ypma to get clarification on this and to discuss the options, if relevant.

6. When you have nearly completed the requirements for the minor, that is, when only one or two required courses are still in progress or remain to be completed, you need to have your minor evaluated. This means that you need to get the signature of Prof. Ypma on a completed minor evaluation form. Make an appointment to meet him or go to his office hours to get this done.

7. Prior to meeting with Prof. Ypma, do the following:

  • Print a copy of your student record.
  • On your student record, highlight the courses used to meet the requirements for the minor.
  • Obtain and complete the minor evaluation form, available from the staff in BH 202.

8. Bring the materials listed above to your meeting with Prof. Ypma. This meeting will probably take less than 2 minutes if your materials are properly organized.

9. Take your signed minor evaluation form to the Registrar.

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Information for Declared Majors

Graduating with Academic Excellence

The Mathematics Department offers three means of recognition for outstanding students. One - Graduation with Merit in Mathematics is an award which recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement in courses required for the major.

The second Graduation with Distinction in Mathematics is a program which rewards exceptional achievement in mathematics as evidenced by meeting all the requirements for Graduation with Merit and completing certain additional requirements detailed below.

The third Graduation with Honors in Mathematics is part of the University Honors Program and includes a substantial general education component as well as most of the requirements for Graduation with Distinction. While Graduation with Merit is automatically conferred on all students who qualify, students must apply to the chair of the Department of Mathematics to participate in either or both of the other programs.

Students interested in these programs should also inquire into the possibility of earning both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in mathematics within five years of study. See Accelerated B.S.-M.S.

Graduation with Merit

To graduate with merit in mathematics, a student must complete one of the majors or combined majors offered by mathematics alone or by mathematics in cooperation with another department.

The students program must include at least 32 quarter hours of mathematics or math-computer science courses taken at Western, including Math 225, 304 and 312 and at least 23 approved credits at the 400 level or above. The cumulative GPA for mathematics and math-computer science classes taken at Western must be at least 3.6.

Graduation with Distinction

To graduate with distinction in mathematics, a student must meet all the requirements for graduation with merit in mathematics. Furthermore, the student must successfully complete:

  • A comprehensive examination covering Math 124, 125, 224, 225, 226, 204, 331
  • An approved senior project

The comprehensive examination should be taken no later than the junior year. This examination may be retaken if necessary, but must be passed no later than Fall of the senior year and before beginning the senior project.

The senior project is subject to approval of the Undergraduate Committee and is undertaken under the direction of a faculty member. It includes some independent work, the preparation of a report and a colloquium presentation. The senior project constitutes a course at the 400 level and is letter graded with 4 credits applicable towards the major.

Students interested in graduating with distinction in mathematics should declare their interest to the chair of the Department of Mathematics at an early point in their career at Western in order to receive appropriate advice and guidance.

Graduation with Honors

Students may graduate with honors in mathematics by completing one of the majors listed for graduation with merit in mathematics and completing the usual requirements for the Honors Program with the following modifications:
Entering freshmen must satisfy the GUR in science by completing one of the following sequences:

  • Chem 121, 122, 123
  • Physics 121, 131, 122, 132, 123, 133

The Honors Program will generally allow the senior project (as described above) to be used also for the Honors senior project. A student interested in the Honors Program should contact both the chair of the Department of Mathematics and the director of the Honors Program.

Accelerated B.S.-M.S. Program

This program is intended to facilitate completion of both a B.S. and M.S. degree in mathematics within at most 5 years of study. Students in this program take graduate courses as undergraduates, and complete only 36 additional graduate credits to satisfy the requirements for the graduate degree. A detailed listing of the program policies and procedures may be obtained from the Secretary of the Department of Mathematics. A summary that highlights the main features of the program is available here.

When to apply for graduation

Plan to apply for graduation two quarters prior to your final quarter. For example, if you're graduating at the end of Spring Quarter, you'll need to apply for graduation during Fall Quarter.

How to apply for graduation

Make an appointment ASAP with a Mathematics Adviser to do your major evaluation. Please plan to do this well in advance of registration. Plan to bring a copy of your transcript(s) so your coursework can be evaluated (unofficial is fine, or grade report cards. You can get a transcript off the net).

The final step will be to turn in your major evaluation, along with a Degree Application, to the Registrar's Office. Degree Application packets are available online.

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Graduation Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

Mathematics students must meet the graduation requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences. Here are the requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree:

  • Complete all requirements for the major in Mathematics (or combined major) according to your Plan of Study. Requirements include a WWU writing proficiency course (designated in the Timetable and completed with a grade of C- or better). All courses in the major must be completed with a C- or better.
  • Complete a minimum of 180 total credits. This includes 90 credits of GURs (or a direct transfer A.A. degree from a community college). Note: English 101 must be completed with a grade of C- or better.
  • Complete a minimum of 60 upper division credits (300/400 level). (That is, 60 credits of the 180 total required must be upper division).
  • Complete a minimum of 45 credits in residence at WWU (correspondence coursework does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Your final quarter must be in residence--i.e. you must be registered for at least one Western course in the quarter in which degree is to be awarded. Correspondence courses are allowed only by exception.
  • Your cumulative GPA at Western must be at least 2.00.
  • For the B.A. Education degree, complete the professional education sequence.
  • Submit an application for the degree no later than the last day of classes two quarters prior to quarter of intended graduation.
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Page Updated 04.13.2016