Beginning department as a sophomore is possible and is the path of many successful math majors.

Can I start the Math major as a sophomore?


How do I start the Math major as a sophomore?

I started the Math major as a sophomore and here are my recommendations.

  1. Talk to Professor Kollár: Professor Kollár is the departmental representative and he is very kind and helpful for figuring out how to be a Math major as a sophomore. Come prepared with your transcript (so he knows what you've taken and how you did) and your general (in my case, very vague) interests within the department.
  2. Contact a few upperclassmen: Upperclassmen are truly the gem of this department. They are here to help you figure out your path and what your interests are. Talk to them about which professors are good. Intimidated? Don't be! We were all in your place once. Check our bios on the Contacts page to see our other interests/experiences.
  3. Most likely, take MAT 215 and/or 217: This is probably what Professor Kollár will say. In rare cases, you may be exempt from this course (as in you will take MAT 320/330 instead) but most likely not. You may also take MAT 216/218.

The Math department encourages students interested in Math and who demonstrate evidence of Mathematical ability to pursue the department. That means that if you are in a subject - Physics, Philosophy (logic) or ORFE - that has required Math-like thinking then you can very possible become a wonderful Math major!
- Aria Wong '20

What summer Math opportunities are available for Math majors?

When you're deciding what to do during the summer, consider doing an REU, which stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates. These are open to students from all colleges. There is a list of them here. REUs are fun and are good preparation for grad schools. It's more common to do them after sophomore or junior year, although a few people do them after freshman year. On (thankfully) rare occasions, REU advisers turn out to be bad/hard to work with for one reason or another; talk to former participants about their experiences in order to avoid this. There is more information about summer opportunities on the Princeton Math Club's website here.
- Jenny Kaufmann '19

NOTE: It is also ok to not do Math during the summer. Follow your heart :)