We’re excited that you are interested in exploring our curriculum in Mathematics.

Courses for Non-Majors:

  • For students interested in the insights of mathematics but whose area of specialization is likely to lie outside mathematics, we suggest you consider the following courses that do not have prerequisites: MATH 102, 105/106, 111, 140, 150, and 220.
  • Beyond those courses, we encourage you to take any course whose requirement you've met, whether you're a major or not.
  • Most students start in our calculus sequence, MATH 111, 121, or 211, depending on their placement.
  • Many of our other courses (especially 200-level electives) require only MATH 111 or MATH 121 as a prerequisite and are most appropriate for students relatively early in their study of mathematics. Electives explore sub-areas of mathematics.
  • Non-majors with the necessary prerequisites also take our 300 and 400 level courses.
  • All of our courses count towards the major with some restrictions on how many at certain levels can count. See our About the Major page for more information.

Transfer Students Interested in Majoring in Mathematics:

Transfer students intending to major in mathematics are typically assigned an advisor in the Department upon acceptance to Amherst. While the Registrar's Office determines which courses are transferred, together with your advisor, you will look carefully at the coursework you've already done to determine which courses will meet requirements for the major and then make a plan for how best to succeed moving forward in the major. For any questions related to majoring in Mathematics, please contact the department chair.

Students Interested in Majoring in Mathematics:

Be sure to visit our About the Mathematics Major page!

Majors in Mathematics need to complete the Calculus sequence (MATH 111, MATH 121, and MATH 211) as well as Linear Algebra (MATH 271/272) to acquire a foundation in the subject. You’ll want to be certain your initial placement in Mathematics is correct. If you have questions regarding placement, please contact Danielle Benedetto (dbenedetto@amherst.edu).

You should also consult our Getting Started in the Major webpage for lots of information on how to start off on these courses and pathways through the Mathematics major.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions from first-year students:

If I want the option to major in Mathematics, what’s the best thing for me to do this semester?

There are several ways to navigate the mathematics courses necessary for a mathematics major. Begin by looking at your Amherst College Math placement. If you have questions about your placement, contact Danielle Benedetto. (dbenedetto@amherst.edu) Having your placement will give you a starting point in the major. If you have placed out of some courses, that may open up elective courses for you to consider, for example.

In consultation with your advisor, you should tailor your own path to give you the best opportunity for success in these courses so that you can move on to advanced courses with confidence. As you choose a path forward, consider the following:

  • your previous preparation in mathematics, including exposure to proof-writing
  • requirements for courses, and other majors you might be interested in, including the pre-medical track
  • your other curricular/extracurricular commitments for the coming semesters to decide if there are semesters you might more easily double up on courses for the major
  • your ultimate career interests or general areas of interest

How does placement in Mathematics work?

Amherst does not grant College credit for AP courses. It is possible to place out of, i.e. to be exempted from taking, some the introductory mathematics courses (e.g. calculus and linear algebra, and in more rare circumstances, upper-level courses). See our Policy on Competency Exams.

We work very hard on placement to be sure that every student starts in the curriculum at a course appropriate for them. We do not advise students to start “lower” than their placement. For example, if you have been placed into MATH 121, we do not recommend taking MATH 111 to start instead. If you have questions about your placement, contact the mathematics placement advisor, Danielle Benedetto (dbenedetto@amherst.edu).