Which LAC for math?

Daughter has a choice of Bowdoin or Wesleyan Univ. She is interested in pure math. Any inputs that may help choose welcome. Thanks!

She has also applied to the regular universities whose decisions are still awaited.

Wesleyan is about as pure math as you can get; a majority of the profs are said to lean in the direction of topology as a sub-specialty. There’s also a doctoral program (which in itself is unusual for a LAC) with courses that can be used by a qualified undergraduate who burns through the regular curriculum.

In terms of sources you might consider, Bowdoin appears in a Princeton Review (print edition) sampling, “Great Schools for Mathematics Majors,” as well as in the site below:

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Thanks. Some math departments (such as williams) put out information about what students are doing after graduation – like where they went to grad school or for employment. Can we get such information for recently graduated class of Wesleyan math majors?

I couldn’t find anything for the math department specifically, but in one of the most difficult job environments in a generation, 14% the Class of 2020 as a whole reported finding jobs in the tech/engineering/sciences sector:


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I found this on Amherst’s website: After Amherst | Mathematics & Statistics | Amherst College

tagging @homerdog who has a son studying Math at Bowdoin.

Bowdoin math courses: Mathematics (MATH) < Bowdoin
Wesleyan math courses: Courses Regularly Offered, Mathematics and Computer Science - Wesleyan University

For pure math, Bowdoin offers (E = every semester, 1 = every year, 2 = every two years):
MATH 2020 (a, MCSR) Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning (E)
MATH 2209 (a, MCSR) Numerical Methods (2)
MATH 2301 (a, MCSR) Intermediate Linear Algebra (2)
MATH 2303 (a, MCSR) Functions of a Complex Variable (2)
MATH 2351 (a) Lie Theory (rarely)
MATH 2404 (a, MCSR) Geometry (2)
MATH 2502 (a, MCSR) Number Theory and Cryptography (2)
MATH 2601 (a, MCSR) Combinatorics and Graph Theory (2)
MATH 2602 (a, MCSR) Group Theory (2)
MATH 2603 (a, MCSR) Introduction to Analysis (2)
MATH 2702 (a, MCSR) Rings and Fields (2)
MATH 3204 (a) Topology (2)
MATH 3303 (a, MCSR) Advanced Complex Analysis (2)
MATH 3602 (a) Advanced Topics in Group Theory (2)
MATH 3603 (a) Advanced Analysis (2)
MATH 3702 (a) Advanced Topics in Rings and Number Theory (2)

For pure math, Wesleyan offers (check schedules for frequencies):
MATH 223: Linear Algebra
MATH 225: Fundamentals of Analysis
MATH 226: Complex Analysis
MATH 228: Discrete Mathematics
MATH 241: Set Theory
MATH 242: Topology
MATH 243: Mathematical Logic
MATH 244: Topology: Point Set
MATH 251: Topics in Geometry: Geometric Analysis and Discrete Groups
MATH 261: Abstract Algebra
MATH 262: Abstract Algebra, Part II
MATH 272: Number Theory
MATH 273: Combinatorics
MATH 274: Graph Theory
MATH 283: Differential Geometry

College Scorecard reports the following for recent math graduates who received federal financial aid:

Bowdoin: 48 graduates, median pay $67,101
Wesleyan: 39 graduates, no other data shown

Common math graduate employment destinations generally (not specific to any college) appear to be finance, operations research, and computing, but taking electives for such purposes is a good idea if those are of interest.

Wesleyan is known for pure math but write each college’s department and ask what type of math grad school/program their graduates who went for a PHD got into.

Course offerings as posted by @ucbalumnus shows Wesleyan leans toward purer math as @MYOS1634 said, and Bowdoin leans toward the more applied side.

Thanks for the above lists. Can you/anyone have a look at the below pdf and in case you know – what do the numerals 1, 2 and 3 indicate? https://www.bowdoin.edu/math/pdf/course-rotation.pdf

Also if we look at a course say MATH 2602 – does the pdf mean that it is only offered in Fall 2021 and not in Spg 22, Fall 22 or Spg 23?

The numerals 1, 2 and 3 appear to represent the number of class sections that will be offered in a given semester.

The course in groups (2602) will be offered once during that four-semester time frame.

@ucbalumnus Thanks for the advice on taking electives for the common employment destinations. She is actually interested in going to grad school to pursue math further. So more looking at which college amongst these two would help prepare her better for grad school.

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Preparation for graduate school should include courses in complex analysis, topology and functional analysis. An REU and a semester in Budapest also would enhance a student’s preparation for graduate school.

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Here is an example of what one PhD program says for undergraduate preparation:

The referenced undergraduate major in math is shown here:

Additionally, undergraduate research is important, and additional upper level (or graduate level, if available) math electives can be taken.

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Perhaps, a tad long-in-the-tooth for this crowd, but this National Science Foundation (NSF) study has been the standard citation for some years, now. Pay particular attention to Table IV which is filtered for institutional size:

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