As the liberal-arts school of engineering, mathematics and science, Harvey Mudd College depends on the strength of its mathematics department. We serve a dual role at the College—we provide every student with a solid foundation in the common core and we also provide majors with rigorous training in advanced mathematics, including graduate-level courses.
Although Harvey Mudd enrolled its first class only a few decades ago, the College has earned national recognition for the accomplishments of its students, alumni, and faculty. Admission is among the most selective in the country, with well over 1,000 students applying for about 225 places in the freshman class.
Although the largest number of students come from the West Coast, the student body is national in scope, with each class including representatives from around forty states.
By all objective measures, Harvey Mudd students rank among the nation’s best: for four of the last five years, the Harvey Mudd freshman class has led the country in its percentage of National Merit Scholars; and 25% were valedictorians of their high school class.
Harvey Mudd alumni continue to be high achievers. Two-thirds of all Harvey Mudd students go on to graduate school. A recent study ranked Harvey Mudd College first in the nation in percentage of graduates (40.7%) earning the PhD. Needless to say, Harvey Mudd is proud of the percentage of its graduates who win National Science Foundation fellowships and other prestigious awards.
Over the years Harvey Mudd mathematics students have received many postgraduate fellowships including (during the past decade): National Science Foundation Fellowships, Hertz Foundation Fellowships, Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, Churchill Fellowships, Watson Fellowships, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and a Rhodes Scholarship.
Two awards for mathematics students are also administered by the department. The Giovanni Mathematics Fellowship is an annual award of at least $500 to one or more HMC mathematics majors who have distinguished themselves scholastically and show promise of contributing in an important way to the mathematical sciences. Chavin Prizes of $100 each are awarded annually to one or more HMC students who have distinguished themselves through authorship of a paper in the mathematical sciences. The RIF Scholarship is awarded to an entering freshman who has shown promise in mathematical competitions such as the AHSME and the International Math Olympiad.
Our mathematics programs are designed to give every mathematics major breadth and depth. Beyond vector calculus, linear algebra and differential equations, every math major is required to take courses in discrete mathematics, analysis, probability, algebra, and applied analysis. Then, through a flexible system of electives within the mathematics major, an HMC student can design a program that has been designed to lead to his/her career goal, whether that be graduate study in mathematics or a related field, or work in industry. All mathematics majors must complete a year-long project, either through the Mathematics Clinic, or individual research leading to a senior thesis.
The department has 12 permanent tenured or tenure-track faculty members who hold PhDs from distinguished graduate programs in their research areas. We often have several faculty visitors in residence.
Areas of specialization for our permanent faculty include differential geometry, probability, complex analysis, combinatorics, algebraic structures, combinatorial topology, dynamical systems, differential equations, population genetics, fluid dynamics, parallel computing, operations research, and game theory.
The Claremont Consortium
The other members of The Claremont Colleges—Claremont Graduate University, Claremont McKenna College, Keck Graduate Institute, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College—also provide HMC and our department with additional resources.
Together, the other Claremont Colleges campuses have around 30 more mathematicians. Cooperation between our mathematics departments enhances the course offerings available to HMC students, which surpass those of many large universities.
The weekly mathematics-colloquium program features talks on topics of current mathematical interest and there are also seminars in combinatorics, applied mathematics, analysis, and topology.
Additional Resources and Opportunities
There are many other mathematical opportunities available for our students, many of which are discussed in our resources section.
Each year the department sponsors a student team in the William Lowell Putnam Competition and two student teams in the MCM. Both competitions are open to students throughout the United States and Canada, and HMC has historically done very well in these competitions: see our impressive-facts page for more details.