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2020-2021 Math Major Information Session


About the Program
Why Mathematics?
Admission Requirements & Criteria
Degrees & Options
When & How To Apply


About the Program

The University of Washington Mathematics Department is one of the major research mathematics departments in the United States. It has an excellent research reputation, a strong, demanding program of graduate study in mathematics, and a full range of excellent undergraduate course offerings. The department consists of approximately 60 permanent faculty with research interests in virtually every area of mathematics. Students, faculty, and numerous visitors are encouraged to interact through a variety of courses, seminars, colloquiums, and in other less formal ways. The faculty have been supported in their research by the Sloan Foundation, National Science Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, National Security Agency, and other organizations. 

seminars  ♦  internships  ♦  study abroad  ♦  Washington Experimental Mathematics Lab (WXML)  ♦  William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition Ÿ ♦  Washington Directed Reading Program (WDRP)

Actuarial Club @ UW
Assoc. for Women in Mathematics Student Chapter – UW
University of Washington Math Club - facebook


Why Mathematics?

Mathematics is a foundational tool that's utilized in every discipline of science, engineering, industry, and technology.

If admitted to the Math major, your focus of study will be pure mathematics. You’ll solves problems, find facts, and answers questions that don't necessarily depend on the world around us, but on the rules of mathematics itself.   As students continue their studies in math, they’ll transition from computational mathematics (i.e. calculus) to studying theories and proofs.   Math 308, Matrix Algebra is typically a student's first introduction into theoretical math.

 What can you do with a degree in mathematics?
Our majors graduate with proficiency in problem solving and strong analytical skills. By studying pure mathematics, they will become critical thinkers, which often involves:

  • creative problem solving
  • collaboration
  • inductive & deductive reasoning
  • objective observation

Employers value our UW alumni for their ability to argue logically and think abstractly.  They are seeking candidates who can gather and analyze data, test conclusions, and present relevant and accurate information used to make data-informed decisions.

Secondary Teacher
Data Analyst
Computer Science/Software
Bio technology
Operations & Market Research
Amazon Web Services
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center
Seattle Public Schools


Admission Requirements & Criteria

A minimum 2.0 grade in each of the courses listed below and an overall minimum 2.50 GPA in all mathematics courses.

MATH 124* MATH 134
MATH 125* OR MATH 135
MATH 126 MATH 136

*Course equivalencies earned with AP / IB / A-Level exams can be used to meet the course requirements.


2020-2021 applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Performance in all mathematics courses as measured by GPA ; typically more recent MATH coursework will be weighted heavier
  • Difficulty of math courses completed
  • Frequency of incompletes or withdrawals
  • Number of repeated courses
  • Demonstrated interest in mathematics

Applicants can show their interest in mathematics by consistently taking one math course each quarter up until the time of application.  In addition to the criteria listed above, a personal statement about your interest in mathematics will also help us evaluate your application.


Degrees & Options

We offer two types of degrees: a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts, with a total of 4 math options. Applicants will need to indicate which option they would like to be considered for; only one option can be selected per application quarter.

Bachelor of Arts

     -Philosophy Option
     -Teacher Prep Option
     -Standard Option 

Bachelor of Science

Degree Option Comparisons*

B.A. Philosophy
B.A. Teacher Prep
B.A. Standard
Bachelor of Science
45 MATH credits 49-50 MATH credits 51 MATH credits 69 MATH credits
two 400-level MATH two 400-level MATH three 400-level MATH six 400-level MATH
16-20 credits in PHIL 7 credits in MATH, AMATH or STAT five add'l upper
division MATH
six add'l upper
division MATH

*Refer to the Requirements & Graduation Planning Sheets for option descriptions, specific course requirements and restrictions :


When & How To Apply


Quarter of Enrollment
      Application Opens 
 Application Deadline
Admission Decisions
(notified via email)

Math Major Application & Personal Statement Prompt:

If admitted, you must be enrolled and registered at the UW during your first quarter of enrollment to the major.

Students who plan to take a vacation quarter, that is take a quarter off, need to be mindful of when they apply to the Math Program.  Students who plan to apply in September, must be enrolled at the UW during winter quarter.  Students who plan to apply in January, you must be enroll at the UW during spring quarter. 

The math major application is a relatively short Google form.  We ask for basic personal information such as name, student number, and email address, and academic grades in some math classes. In addition to writing a short personal statement, students will be required to attach an unofficial copy of their UW transcript.

The personal statement, approximately half a page in length, should tell us something about you and why you are interested in applying to the major.  For instance, students can share an interesting mathematical relevant experience in a class at UW, and how that impacted their academic and/or career goals.  There is also an optional short paragraph. This paragraph is an opportunity for students to explain any extenuating circumstances or experiences that might misrepresent their potential as a math major.




What are my chances of being admitted?

We cannot predict a student's chance of being admitted because there are several factors that affect the admission decision, such as the number of applicants applying and the number of students graduating.

Our advise to students who are applying to a competitive major -- do the best you can, and also apply to your back-up major.  Students will have the opportunity to share any extenuating circumstances that negatively impacted their academic performance in the application.

What does a competitive applicant* look like?

  • Math grades above a 3.0.
  • Successfully completed 1 or more math courses beyond first-year calculus; such as MATH 307, 308, 309, 324
  • Demonstrated interest in the major by consistently enrolling in a math course each academic quarter, including the quarter of application.
  • Good academic performance in most recent MATH courses; period of sustained success in math courses.

*The Math Program cannot assure admission to all competitive applicants.

Can I apply if I have a math grade below a 3.0?

The answer is yes, as long as you have an overall minimum 2.50 GPA in all mathematics courses. If applicable, we suggest that you explain any extenuating circumstances that impacted your academic performance in the application.

Should I repeat a math course?

We typically advise students not to repeat a math course. Instead, we recommend that students move onto the next advanced-level course and focus on getting a better grade. Only if a student didn’t understand the majority of the course content, should they consider retaking a MATH course, and we strongly advise students to speak with a math advisor first. 

Repeating a UW MATH Course:

Can students reapply?

Yes.  Before a student reapplies, we suggest they speak with a Math advisor to discuss what they can possibly do to become a more competitive applicant.