• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Programs Best Places to Recieve a Degree (Maths) From?

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
having criticized the general level of my university, i want to say that we have some extremewly strong students here and some outstanding faculty. when those two get together, in the right courses, the result is an excellent experience for all concerned.

thus in regard to the general subject here of where to graduate from, the value of graduating from my university is as much dependent on the students ability as on the overall level of the university.

i once taught a high school student here a cousre of graduate algebra, decomposition of finitely generated modules over pid's, galois theory, commutative algebra, and so on.

he graduated from our modest university simultaneously with graduation from high school and entered berkeley graduate school the next year.

so really an educational experience can be what you make of it.
 
3,761
8
mathwonk said:
marlon, i do not know if you will readily believe this, but here are the core math requirements for a (non math) university student to graduate from my university.
ok i believe you

one could apparently not graduate from high school with only this in belgium.
Why Not ? What are you saying here ? It is not clear to me

marlon
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
i was saying that i gathered an average high school grad in belgium knew more math than we require of our university grads.
 
3,761
8
mathwonk said:
i was saying that i gathered an average high school grad in belgium knew more math than we require of our university grads.
yes that is very possible, especially those students that followed 8 hours of math per week, the last two years of high school. But that are not the average students ofcourse

marlon
 

AKG

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,559
3
gravenewworld said:
AKG I go to Villanova University. Its is kind of well known school here on the east coast of the US. As far as the math requirements

-Calculus I-III
-Differential Equations w/ Linear algebra
-Foundations of Mathematics (which is like a intro course on proofs)
-Linear Algebra
-Advanced Calculus
-Modern Algebra
-Seminar in Math
-1 other upper level analysis class
-4 other upper level math elective classes

All in all I would say you need about 130 credits to graduate, so even with all the non-math courses I listed before and with these math required math courses you still have to take about 4 elective courses. The math major here leaves plenty of room for math majors here to get minors in comp sci., economics, physics, philosophy, or business which is typically what most of our math majors do.
My program is actually a mathematics specialist program (11.5 credits - our credit system is different as one full year course is 1 credit), which is more or less equivalent to a major (7 credits) and a minor (4 credits) in mathematics. Looking at your requirements, it is actually equivalent to 2 full years of extra requirements, whereas my extra requirements are only 2/5 of a year. Now that I think about it, though, I can see how those courses would fit in. A major and a minor would take up 11 credits, and doing all those requirements you have would take up 10 credits. A person can do 5 credits a year, so a person could do your program in 4 years and maybe take a full year course in summer school, or I guess most people count one of those requirements (like the computer science requirement) towards a minor (a comp. sci. minor). Are you allowed to count one of those requirements towards a minor?

I think the advantage at my school is that if you want to do a major and a minor, you can, just as you can at your school, but then you still have almost 2 years worth of courses which you are still free to play with, whereas it's kind of set in stone at your school. One has the freedom to double major at my school, I don't see how that would be possible in 4 years at Villanova. However, the courses you're "forced" to take look like an interesting variety anyways, but it seems that letting people choose if they want to take such a variety of courses or not would be advantageous. But if you're enjoying your education, that's all that matters.
 
Here is a sample schedule a student would have to take to get a math degree w/ econ minor

http://www.math.villanova.edu/degrees/CurriculumSheetMathMajorEconMinor.doc

You really don't need to take summer school. The type of courses that we have to take are set in stone, but we are not limited to what course we can take in each subject. We can take the same classes say an english or a philosophy major would take. Yes, the classes that we have to take can be applied to minors, so a person who would want to get a philsophy minor would only have to take 4 more courses after taking the required 2.
 

cronxeh

Gold Member
949
10
Do they require you to take Numerical Analysis/Methods class as well?
 
No, you can take that as an elective though.

These were all the math classes I took as an undergraduate.
-Calc III
-Diff eq. w/ linear algebra
-Foundations of math
-Linear algebra
-Advanced calculus
-game theory
-combinatorics
-complex analysis
-math seminar
-modern algebra
-topology
-independent study on topics in algebra
-independent study on math logic
-independent study on hilbert spaces
-I also took 3 graduate classes on linear algebra, geometry, and number theory

So it basically works out to only about 2 math classes every semester or 3 math classes if you decide to go "crazy".
-
 
In the UK, you go to university to read a subject and ONLY that subject. You might do a joint honours course, such as Physics and Philosophy, Physics with a Language, etc, but there is very little opportunity for study outside of that. I had one open unit in my first year, where I could've chosen just about anything from the university, but chose astrophysics as it kept my options open in terms of available second / third year courses.
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
by the way when you exit school, in most cases I believe the question you should anticipate is not "what did you take?" or even "what do you know?", but "what can you do?"
 
by the way when you exit school, in most cases I believe the question you should anticipate is not "what did you take?" or even "what do you know?", but "what can you do?"

Or basically "what do i remember?" To be honest with you I don't have a photographic memory. Most of the stuff I learned 2 or 3 years ago I have forgotten. If you mentioned a topic to me from a course I have taken I would tell you I am familiar with it or that I have heard of it before, but if you asked me to solve a problem I might have to read the text that I used for about 20 or 30 min to jog my memory. To tell you the truth I have no idea how in the hell i managed to fit so much information in my head the semesters I took 21 credits. It is a lot easier for a professional mathematician or a math professor to remember theorems and mechanics of solving problems since they do it almost everyday and get paid for it. And no, I didn't learn things just to pass the test and forget about it. When I took the math courses I took, I actually knew the material quite well. I learned in psychology that if you don't use or practice things you learned previously, the information stored in your mind deteriorates severely or you completely forget all together unless you have a photographic memory. That is the whole reason why I have been studying and will continue to study all summer long for the math subject GRE.
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
i'm not sure you understand me. being able to solve problems is quite different from remembering how to solve them.

people who are successful often "know" very little information, but are extremely capable at dealing with whatever situations they find themselves in.

the point is to learn how to think, not to memorize ways of doing things.

once you begin to understand what they were trying to tell you in those books it should be necessary to consult them again endlessly.

i.e. you should have a few well chosen tools that enable you to regenerate the main concepts and techniques.

try it, you probably actually do. i.e. what do you actually remember from school?

i only remember one thing from harvard calculus: "a derivative is a linear map".

in fact that is almost all you need to know from calculus, if you think about it.

i.e. the linear map is a local approximation to the original map, so properties of that linear map should translate into local properties of the original map, etc etc.
e.g. if the linear map is invertible, then the original map is locally invertible (inverse function theorem,....)

if thje lienar map is a surjective projection, then the original map is smoothly equivalent (locally) to a projection, (implicit function theorem,...)


what do you remember? :rolleyes:

them point is to get where you do not need the books any more. not because you remember every stupid fact in them but because you have finally understood the key point they were making.

this summer while you are studying, take some time to think about what the ideas are. it will all become much easier when you do.

(listen for the grasshopper)
 
Last edited:

cronxeh

Gold Member
949
10
tell me something, because I'm pondering

if someone goes for a doctorate in mathematics vs applied mathematics - what is the advantage?

i mean from a real world perspective and from a perspective of understanding the mind of geniuses like erdos and euler. how does one get to a level where you can think in terms of functions and not use paper or computers - to only rely on your memory and imagination to plot everyting in your head, to sit in a card game and know what hand everyone has at the final moment, to have probabilities piling up with every action around you. how does one achieve the state of mind where you can formulate or even solve the riemann hypothesis? how many courses and books does it take?
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
well since no one can solve the riemann hypothesis, presumably none of us can answer your question.

in my opinion euler was a genius, erdos was an eccentric.

i would suggest however based on my own experience, that if you want to maximize your chances of doing some excellent work, you should read the works of those people you wish to emulate, like euler, gauss, riemann, erdos if you like.

oh, and the advantage of an applied math degree is probably a good job and good salary.
 

cronxeh

Gold Member
949
10
I'm curious what sort of research you are doing, and why you are doing it. I want to know what is the hardest problem in Math today in your opinion, why its significant, what would it mean for you personally to have it solved, and what do you think is the future of Mathematics, e.g. where are we going today in terms of the latest findings

Oh and also I'm curious what is the significance of Finsler manifolds and Collatz conjecture (in plain english)
 

matt grime

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
9,394
3
how about starting a different thread in another forum on those questions? this one has wandered a lot as it is and about the only thing we've decided is that comparing systems is fruitless and that it is not necessarily what the objects of study are but what you do to study them that is important.
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,690
871
that sounds reasonable, as it would be more self explanatory to people browsing. you might call it "future of math". i personally am not going to be able to enlighten much on it though. that needs a hilbert, and i suspect we do not have any right now. but people here make penrose sound interesting as a commentator.
 

Related Threads for: Best Places to Recieve a Degree (Maths) From?

  • Posted
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Posted
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
577
Replies
5
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
5K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top