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10 Math Courses at Colby College

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Katelyn Heuer

Colby College is located in Waterville, Maine. Some of Colby's most notable alumni include Sean McCormack, Doris Goodwin, Edward Gurney, Alan Taylor and Cecily von Ziegesar. Since the college produces such prominent alumni, it is clear that they pay close attention to how to best prepare their students for a successful career after they graduate. This includes offering the best courses available. Keep reading this post to learn of 10 math courses offered at Colby College.

1. MATH 121: Single Variable Calculus

calculus equations, formulas and graphs on a globe

This course introduces differential and integral with one variable, limits, continuity, differentiation, antiderivatives, and types of functions. Students will learn to understand and quantify changes using curves and positions of moving objects. The prerequisite for this course only applies to first-year students: simply fill out the math placement questionnaire before enrolling.

2. MATH 122: Series and Multi-variable Calculus

a piece of paper with calculus equations and graphs

Series and Multi-variable Calculus, otherwise known as Calculus II, is a continuation of Math 121. Students will learn about infinite series, partial derivatives, vectors, analytic geometry, differentials, gradient and integration with two and three variables. The course is taught by Professors Abdelghany, Gouvea, Randles and Youngs. The course prerequisite is Math 121 or any other single-variable calculus course.

3. MATH 253: Linear Algebra

a hand holding onto the corner of a linear algebra graph

Linear algebra analyzes the first approximation of complex systems. Topics include vectors, subspaces, linear transformations, matrices, systems of linear equations and abstract vector spaces. Students will use theorems in varied situations, gain insight into mathematical inquiry, and learn to reason described situations. The course is taught by Professors Friedmann, Gouvea and Livshits. The course prerequisites are one of MATH 122 and 162, and one of MATH 102, 121 and 161 along with instructor's permission.

4. MATH 274: Mathematical Reasoning

a cartoon of two people writing a mathematical proof on a black board

Mathematical Reasoning, taught by Professors Livshits, Taylor and Youngs, teaches direct and indirect proofs. Topics include the set-theoretic approach to relations and functions, the theory of infinite sets, elementary algebraic structures and different discrete mathematics techniques. The course prerequisites are W1 course and one of MATH 102, 121, 122 and 161.

5. MATH 311: Ordinary Differential Equations

a chalkboard with equations

Differential Equations, taught by Professor Randles, is a great course for students in math or science. Students will learn to analyze different differential equations and to draw conclusions using equations, graphical techniques and numerical methods. Topics include ordinary differential equations, linear differential equations, first-order linear systems, behavior of solutions, nonlinear dynamics and uniqueness of solutions. Note that students must have completed MATH 253 and either MATH 122 or MATH 162.

6. MATH 333: Abstract Algebra

topics in abstract algebra: integral, UFD, PID, Euclidean, Field, Domain

Abstract Algebra studies abstract sets with operations and theoretical math. Main topics include rings and fields. Students will learn to write formal arguments, to apply general theories to specific examples, and to recognize algebraic structures in different scenarios. The course is taught by Professor Friedmann. The course prerequisite is MATH 253 and the course corequisite is either MATH 274 or MATH 275.

7. MATH 335: Mathematical Neuroscience

a brain with highlighted neurons

In this course, taught by Professor Youngs, students will work with theoretical math models of brains. This includes studying the cellular and single-neuron levels, and interactions between brain regions using discrete and continuous techniques. The course prerequisites are MATH 253 and either MATH 122 or MATH 162.

8. MATH 355: Combinatorics

a popular graph used in combinatorics

In this course, taught by Professor Friedmann, students will learn about basic counting principles, recurrence relations, graphs, trees, distributions, partitions, generating functions, inclusion/exclusion and permutations. The course prerequisite is MATH 274.

9. MATH 381: Probability

a probability question involving 2 dices

This course, taught by professors Bontea and O'Brien, serves as an introduction to probability theory. This course is the foundation for more complex topics such as inferential statistical techniques. Students will learn about basic probability theorems and computational techniques. Some of the topics covered include axiomatic foundations, combinatorics, random variables, probability distributions, independence, expectations and the central limit theorem. While the course only requires students to have completed MATH 122 or MATH 162, it is also recommended that students to take MATH 274 prior to this course.

10. MA397f: Geometry and Topology of Knots

a drawing of a basic knot

Geometry and Topology of Knots, taught by Professor Taylor, is a unique course in Colby. The math behind knot theory is strongly connected to different math and scientific disciplines, making it an important yet not as often studied. This course introduces students to knot theory with a focus on its combinatorial, topological and geometric aspects. The course prerequisite is MATH 274.

With the wide variety of math courses offered at Colby College, students can pick the courses best suit them. Students can learn something totally new or go more in depth in a topic they are already familiar with. Keep this post in mind as you pick your math classes for next semester.


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