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Many mathematics majors study abroad during their junior year. If you are planning to study abroad and be a math major, you should see someone in the department in the Spring of your sophomore year to talk about your plans. You should also make use of the school resources like the Study Abroad Office. You can also read comments by previous mathematics majors who studied abroad on our new Study Abroad comments page.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Study abroad programs often require that you declare a major before submitting a study abroad application. Hence you should consider declaring your major early in the Spring semester of your sophomore year. This way, you can discuss your study abroad plans with your advisor in mathematics.
- Some study abroad programs are specifically aimed at mathematics, such as the Budapest program and MASS program from Penn State. For other programs, it is not always possible to take math courses while abroad, and even if you can, sometimes you can't determine which courses are appropriate until you get there. This is why it is important to discuss your plans with your advisor in your sophomore year.
- If you take one or more math courses while abroad, you need to petition the department to have the courses count toward the major. Your petition should include as much information as possible about the courses, including the title, professor, text, course description, and syllabus. If the course has a web site, this information is often available at the web site, so that all you need to give us is the url for web site. Petitions should be sent to the department chair. Email is preferred, though hardcopy is also ok. We encourage you to contact us while abroad to let us know what math courses you are taking.
- It can be difficult to take required courses like Math 350 or 355 (formerly Math 26 or 28) while abroad. In the past, it has often been most convenient for math majors to study abroad during the Fall semester due to Math 350 and 355 being offered every Spring. We have started to offer one of these two core courses each Fall, though. Especially if you take Math 350 or 355 as a sophomore, then doing your study abroad during the Spring semester should pose no difficulties to completing the math major.
- If you study abroad during the Spring and want to participate in the honors program, you will need to take the Honors Qualifying Examination while abroad. This is easy to do provided you find someone (professor, teaching assistant, or administrator) who is willing to proctor the exam. We email a copy of the exam to the proctor, who then either faxes or mails your exam paper back to us. If the exams are mailed back, you may need to pay the postage.
If you have any questions about the math major and study abroad programs, you should discuss them with the department chair or your advisor.