Degree options

  • Major/minor in mathematics
  • Minor in applied mathematics
  • Teaching major in mathematics

Program overview

As a mathematics major at Cornell, you can choose from three areas of focus: theoretical mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics. During your studies, you will learn from faculty with expertise in each of these areas.

Mathematics is a language, and like all languages, it is best learned through immersion. Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule provides opportunities for you to focus intently without artificial time constraints. Learning occurs quickly and deeply, and professors are available to support students of all ability levels.

At Cornell, math classes meet for three to four hours a day, but this does not mean three to four hour lectures. Professors use the extended class time for group projects and collaborative problem solving, allowing you to develop teamwork, communication, and presentation skills to supplement your mastery of mathematics and statistics concepts.

For example, you might work with a team to find the optimal arrangement of housing designs in an apartment complex or serve as expert witnesses in assessing the safety of a local skate park. And in Data Analytics, which is team-taught by professors of statistics and computer science, you can learn sophisticated ways to analyze and visualize "big data."

Beyond the classroom

Majors complete a capstone experience consisting of an advanced research project and the department’s innovative culture points program. You can earn culture points through a variety of activities, including attending seminars, competing in mathematics competitions, solving challenge problems provided each block, or participating in the Math Club.

You can also join Cornell faculty and fellows students during summer research on campus. Recent projects topics include the biofluid mechanics of fish suction feeding, cellular automata clusters, the Menger sponge in n-dimensions, and the dispersal of beetles in tall-grass prairies. Students have also been successful in landing summer or semester-long research placements at a variety of prestigious institutions, both in the U.S. and abroad.

In our data-driven society, our graduates find their skills in demand for roles such as business analysts, actuaries, statisticians, and web developers. Others have been successful in graduate programs as varied as economics, applied statistics, physics, and computational biology.

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