Mathematics, B.A.

Program Code: MTHBA_BA

Program Description

Two degrees are offered in mathematics: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Both programs have a common core of mathematics courses; both programs prepare students for graduate work in mathematics. In addition, the Bachelor of Arts degree is oriented toward applications of mathematics in the arts and the humanities. The Bachelor of Science degree has a number of options. These options are oriented toward actuarial science, applied and industrial mathematics, computational mathematics, graduate study and systems analysis.

Many of the options are designed for students who want to use mathematics in industry, commerce, or government. In short, the degree requirements have the flexibility to fit many individual interests. The student, with the assistance of a faculty adviser, should select an option by the end of the sophomore year.

What is Mathematics?

The study of mathematics emphasizes careful problem analysis, precision of thought and expression, and the development of mathematical skills needed for work in many other areas. Theoretical mathematicians increase basic knowledge in "pure" fields like abstract algebra, analysis, or topology. Applied mathematicians use tools growing out of calculus, analysis, computing, statistics, and operations research to solve problems in science, industry, government, and other areas.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You want to take a broad liberal arts program with a strong mathematical foundation.
  • You want mathematics to complement your study of other subjects.
  • You like mathematics, like to think, like a challenge, and like to know why things are true.
  • You want to develop strong problem-solving skills, comprehension of abstract concepts, and creative thinking ability.

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Mathematics major, a student must have:

  1. attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average; and
  2. completed MATH 140 and MATH 141 and earned a grade of C or better in each of these courses.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 0-1
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 56

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GQ courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course4
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 220Matrices Keystone/General Education Course2-3
MATH 230Calculus and Vector Analysis4
MATH 311WConcepts of Discrete Mathematics3-4
MATH 312Concepts of Real Analysis3
MATH 403Classical Analysis I3
Additional Courses
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Programming Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Programming Techniques
Programming for Engineers with C++ Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MATH 250Ordinary Differential Equations3-4
or MATH 251 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations
MATH 435Basic Abstract Algebra3
or MATH 436 Linear Algebra
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Ordinary Differential Equations
Fourier Series and Partial Differential Equations
Qualitative Theory of Differential Equations
Theoretical Mechanics
Complex Analysis
Select 6 credits of 400-level MATH courses 16
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 8-11 credits from department list8-11

Select 6 credits of 400-level MATH courses except:

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Integrated B.A. or B.S. in Mathematics and M.A.S. in Applied Statistics

Available at the following campuses: University Park

Requirements for the Integrated B.A. or B.S. in Mathematics and M.A.S. in Applied Statistics can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate technical expertise within major areas of mathematics, recognizing connections between different branches of mathematics, and understanding and appreciating the relationship of mathematics to other disciplines and fields.
  • Students will demonstrate a breadth and depth of knowledge within mathematics, linking applications and theory, applying mathematics in a wide variety of settings, and demonstrating the ability to use mathematics as a tool to solve problems in disciplinary and interdisciplinary settings.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for the integration of technology in mathematical settings to explore mathematical problems and interpret the results.
  • Students will demonstrate an ability to communicate mathematics effectively, presenting full and cogent solutions that include appropriate justification for their reasoning, describing mathematical ideas from multiple perspectives, and writing/presenting explanations clearly and precisely to an audience of peers and faculty.
  • Students will demonstrate an ability for assessing and interpreting complex situations, choosing among several potentially appropriate mathematical methods of solution, understanding the differences between proofs and other less formal arguments, and making vague ideas precise by formulating them in mathematical language.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Undergraduate Mathematics Office
Academic Advising

104 McAllister Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2023-24 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Mathematics, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
STAT 2004MATH 220*2
ENGL 153World Language level 24
World Language level 14General Education Course3
PSU 161General Education Course3
 16 16
Second Year
MATH 230*4MATH 250 or 251*3-4
MATH 311W*3MATH 312*3
World Language level 34CMPSC 101, 121, or 2013
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 Supporting Course (Chosen in consultation wtih an academic adviser)3
 14 15-16
Third Year
MATH 411, 412, 417, 419, or 421*3MATH 435 or 436*3
CAS 100, CAS 100A, CAS 100B, or CAS 100C3B.A. Fields 3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (Chosen in consultation wtih an academic adviser)3
General Education Course3ENGL 202C, 202A, 202B, or 202D3
Other Cultures3Supporting Course (Chosen in consultation wtih an academic adviser)3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 16.5 16.5
Fourth Year
MATH 403*3MATH 400 level selection: any 400 level except MATH 401, 405, 406, 470 and 4713
MATH 400 level selection: any 400 level except MATH 401, 405, 406, 470 and 4713General Education Course3
General Education Course3B.A. Field 3
B.A. Field 3Supporting Course (Chosen in consultation wtih an academic adviser)3
Supporting Course (Chosen in consultation wtih an academic adviser)2-3 
 14-15 12
Total Credits 120-122

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL 15/ENGL 30H and CAS 100A/CAS 100B/CAS 100C. Each course is 3 credits.

Career Paths

Students with an undergraduate degree in mathematics pursue graduate study or careers in business and industry.


Students with an undergraduate degree in mathematics pursue careers in the fields of science and technology, business and consulting, research and industry, and teaching.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Students with an undergraduate degree in mathematics pursue graduate study in a variety of different fields such as mathematics, statistics, economics, finance, computer science, or operations research.


Professional Resources


University Park

104 McAllister Building
University Park, PA 16802