Double Major Math and CS vs Single Major Applied Math?

Which is better for graduate school in mathematics or computer science or work prospects assuming that I can have 3.7+ GPA with single major and ~ 3.6 GPA with both majors?

Thank you

PS: I go UCB and want to get into a top graduate program

Depends on the type of graduate program and your specific interests, as well as the coursework that you take in either combination.

If you were going for pure or theoretical mathematics, then just a single major in math would be fine; a major in applied math obviously wouldn’t be a great choice.

On the other hand, if you were specifically interested in a PhD in applied math - well, it probably wouldn’t matter either way. You can get the preparation you need with either major.

And if you were interested in some area of math research that required a lot of CS - the double major might look better. But you also might serve your purposes by major in applied math and minoring in computer science, or by taking a lot of coursework in it.

At Berkeley it appears that the biggest differences between the applied math and the regular math major are 1) applied math majors have to take numerical analysis, which regular math majors do not; and 2) applied math majors take their remaining three electives in a clustered applied area, whereas regular math majors pick two from a list and select the remaining two from any upper-division math courses. Practically speaking, an applied math major’s coursework could look very similar to a regular math major’s.

So it doesn’t matter; focus your coursework on your areas of interest. You have a little more freedom in the regular math major sequence, so if you don’t know what you want to do yet, maybe start with that.

If you think you might want to go to graduate school for math, make sure you have all the core courses for the Math subject test of the GRE. Many top schools require this score for Mathematics applicants for either Pure or Applied programs.

You can also apply for CS graduate schools even with an undergrad degree in mathematics if you take several CS classes as an undergraduate. But I agree that you don’t have to do a double major to do that. One advantage of doing a second major or a minor that I have seen is that you can highlight a major/minor on a resume for potential employers more easily than just listing the classes. Sure, they are also on your transcript but you have to get past the initial cut before they look at a transcript.