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News from the Mathematics Department

Baylor Approves Secondary Major in Mathematics

Dec. 21, 2011

In December 2011, Baylor University officially approved a secondary major in mathematics. The upshot of this move is that Baylor students outside of the College of Arts and Sciences can now study mathematics and earn a secondary major in mathematics. Before this initiative, it was essentially impossible for a student to major in two subjects that were offered in different colleges or degree programs on campus.

The idea of a secondary major was brought forward to departments last semester by Dr. Edward B. Burger, the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award winner for Great Teaching and currently Vice Provost for Strategic Educational Initiatives at Baylor. Dr. Burger has been a strong advocate of promoting ways and means for Baylor students to obtain a broader education.

Lance Littlejohn, chair of the Department of Mathematics at Baylor, remarks "Since I have been here at Baylor, I have had dozens of very bright, motivated engineering students lament to me that they wish they could earn a degree in mathematics alongside their engineering degree but were unable to because of Baylor's 'two-college rule'. This is terrific change in policy and a win-win situation for our students and various academic programs on campus. I can see that new bridges between campus colleges will be built as a result of this fundamental change."

Mathematics has long proved its value in academic disciplines outside of the College of Arts and Sciences. Indeed, mathematics finds its way into, for example, finance, economics, engineering, computer science, and music. "Engineering students at Baylor automatically earn a minor in mathematics because they need 21 hours of mathematics credit for their degree", says Littlejohn. "If these students can complete an additional 12 hours of upper division mathematics or statistics, they will earn a secondary major in mathematics. I have talked to several students in the past few weeks who have indicated that they plan to pursue our secondary major."

A Baylor student whose home department is not mathematics must take eleven mathematics classes (for a total of 33 semester hours) to count mathematics as a secondary major. In addition, they must earn a grade of "C" or better in these eleven courses. Specifically, these courses are:

A. MTH 1321 (Calculus 1), MTH 1322 (Calculus 2)

B. MTH 2321 (Calculus 3), MTH 2311 (Linear algebra)

C. MTH 3312 (Combinatorics and Algebra), MTH 3323 (Introduction to Analysis), MTH 3325 (Ordinary Differential Equations)

D. Twelve additional hours of MTH or STA courses at the 3000-level or higher that apply toward the mathematics major (such courses are listed in the current undergraduate catalog).

Interested students should contact either Dr. Littlejohn (email: or their academic advisor. Students should also visit the website FAQs on Secondary Majors for answers to various questions on secondary majors.