Math Major

Program Overview

The student of mathematics can analyze and reason like no other.  Fairfield University's Mathematics Department offers a curriculum that blends traditional, applied, and modern math courses, providing students with a solid and diverse foundation in mathematics. 

The mathematics program teaches students to think analytically, to find connections between concepts, and to spot patterns both in abstract settings and in practice. 

The mathematics program provides students with the opportunity to both solve real-world problems and address the truth that underlies them.  You will collaborate with your peers and faculty mentors, both in the classroom and out, through original research projects or applied internship opportunities

Alumni from our department graduate from Fairfield University with the skills, disciplinary awareness, and preparation to pick his or her career path, either through graduate study -- our own MS in Mathematics Program or at another institution-- or in a multitude of professional areas including engineering, computing, medical research, actuarial science, data analysis, finance, government agencies and laboratories.


The typical mathematics major curriculum consists of 39 courses and 122 credits. The typical major must take:

  • 13 mathematics courses: MA 171, 172, 231, 235, 273, 334, and 371, along with six 300-level mathematics electives;
  • MA 151 (or an equivalent course; students who can demonstrate proficiency in a computer programming language can have this requirement waived by the department chair);
  • Two semesters of a laboratory science (this also fulfills the natural science core);
  • The mathematics capstone requirement.


Although physics is the usual science taken by majors in mathematics, another laboratory science may be substituted with permission of the chair.

All mathematics majors are expected to complete a two-part capstone requirement consisting of completion of the mathematics comprehensive examination in the spring of their senior year and attendance at a total of five Mathematics Department Colloquium talks (or equivalent) over their final two years. Those who attend the requisite colloquia and receive a Pass or Pass with Distinction on their mathematics comprehensive exam will have a grade of "Mathematics Capstone Passed" or "Mathematics Capstone Passed with Distinction," respectively, recorded on their transcript; those who do not attend a total of five colloquia during their final two years or fail the mathematics comprehensive exam (or both) will have a grade of "Mathematics Capstone Failed" recorded on their transcript.

Students who wish to double major in mathematics and another area are encouraged to meet with the chairs of the respective departments so that appropriate modifications to the requirements can be made to allow these students to graduate in four years. Popular double majors with mathematics include computer science, economics and physics.

Mathematics majors are required to have a graphing calculator at least as powerful as a TI-84.

Honors Seminar

Students who take the MA 390 or MA 391 Honors Seminar receive three credits for one of their mathematics electives upon completion of one semester of MA 390 or MA 391. Students who complete two semesters of MA 390-391 earn six credits: the first semester counts as a 3-credit mathematics elective, while the second counts as a 3-credit free elective.


Students Interested in Teaching Mathematics in High School or Middle School

Students planning a career in secondary education should consult with the department chair, and with the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, as early as possible. Consult the Program in Education section of the catalog concerning requirements for the Five-Year Integrated Bachelor's-Master's degree program in secondary education with initial 7-12 certification.


The curriculum given below represents a typical option for completing the major in mathematics.

Bachelor of Science - Major in Mathematics (122 credits)



First Year



MA 171: Calculus I



MA 172: Calculus II



MA 151: Functional Programming
Core Courses



Sophomore Year

MA 231: Discrete Mathematics



MA 235: Linear Algebra



MA 273: Multivariable Calculus 



MA Elective



Core courses



Junior Year

MA 334: Abstract Algebra



MA 371: Real Analysis



Mathematics electives



Laboratory Science



Core courses



Elective courses



Senior Year

Mathematics electives



Elective courses



Mathematics Comprehensive Exam







Minor in Mathematics

For a minor in mathematics, students:

  • Complete a two course, 100-level calculus sequence;
  • Complete three mathematics courses at the 200 level or higher. At most one of EC 290, EC 380 and ME 325 will be accepted as one of the three mathematics courses.

The specific selection of courses must have the approval of the chair of the Department of Mathematics. A student may place out of one or both calculus courses, depending on his or her high school calculus background. While the student does not earn credit for these courses, they will still count toward the minor.

Course Offerings

See Math course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

  • MA 10: Mathematics for Liberal Arts
  • MA 11: Precalculus
  • MA 15: Mathematics: An Exploration
  • MA 16: Concepts of Calculus
  • MA 17: Introduction to Probability and Statistics
  • MA 119: Applied Calculus I
  • MA 120: Applied Calculus II
  • MA 145: Calculus I: Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors
  • MA 146: Calculus II: Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors
  • MA 151: Functional Programming
  • MA 211: Applied Matrix Theory
  • MA 217: Accelerated Statistics
  • MA 221: Applied Calculus III
  • MA 245: Calculus III: Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors
  • MA 251: Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MA 332: Partial Differential Equations


Mathematics Courses for Majors and Other Interested and Qualified Students 

  • MA 151: Functional Programming
  • MA 171: Calculus I
  • MA 172: Calculus II
  • MA 231: Discrete Mathematics
  • MA 235: Linear Algebra
  • MA 273: Multivariable Calculus
  • MA 300: Topics in Discrete Mathematics
  • MA 331: Applied Mathematics
  • MA 332: Partial Differential Equations
  • MA 334: Abstract Algebra
  • MA 337: Number Theory
  • MA 342: Theory of Computation
  • MA 351: Probability Theory
  • MA 352: Mathematical Statistics
  • MA 354: Actuarial Problem Solving
  • MA 361: Topics in Algebra
  • MA 371: Real Analysis
  • MA 373: Complex Analysis
  • MA 377: Numerical Analysis
  • MA 383: Modern Geometry
  • MA 385: Point Set Topology
  • MA 390/391: Honors Seminar
  • MA 395: Special Topics in Mathematics
  • MA 397/398: Internship in Mathematics
  • MA 399: Independent Study in Mathematics


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the innovative members of our Mathematics Department.

Mathematics Center

The Mathematics Center, located in the Bannow Science Center (BNW122), is a place where students can get free tutoring for statistics and first year calculus courses. Students can schedule appointments online and are encouraged to come prepared with specific question that will help the tutor identify what to focus on most.

Colloquium Series

Each semester, the Mathematics Department sponsors several colloquia where experts from Fairfield University and other institutions discuss their cutting-edge research. All lectures are open to mathematics majors and students of other diciplines. To learn more, contact Dr. Janet Striuli.

Spring 2015

Title: Hilbert Series, M-sequences, and the Fibonacci sequence
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Speaker: Dr. Branden Stone, assistant professor from Adelphi University

Title: Cryptography - Security and how to steal credit card numbers
Date: March 25, 2015
Speaker: Dr. Ben Fine, professor of mathematics at Fairfield University
Abstract: Because of the increasing power of computing machinery, cryptosystems -- both public key and classical -- are becoming less secure. At the same time there is an increasing need for secure cryptosystems. This is clear from the increasing use of internet shopping, electronic financial transfers and so on. Historically, Cryptogrpahy and secret codes were placed in the realm of espionage and diplomacy. Sophisticated mathematical techniques were developed in the cryptanalysis of the Enigma Code and other military codes. The advent of sending financial and other sensitive information over public airwaves led to an intensive development of mathematical cryptography -both symmetric key and public key. In the rest part of this talk, we will introduce the basic techniques and terminology of cryptology. Then we will discuss public key methods. Finally, because of the increasing power of comptuing machinery there is a feeling the standard number theoretic methods are not as secure as they should be. This has led to the development of cryptographic methods using noncommutative objects. This is presently a lively area of research. At the end of the talk we will give a very brief introduction to this field that has now been dubbed noncommutative algebraic cryptography

Title: TBA
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Speaker: Dr. Janet Striuli, associate professor of mathematics at Fairfield University 


Fall 2014

Title: Understanding how numerical parameters affect dynamics in ocean models
Thursday, September 25, 5 p.m., DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room
Dr. Shannon Reckinger, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Fairfield University
Title: The Diffusion Equation and its Vital Role in Modeling the Ocean
Wednesday, October 22, 5 p.m., CNS 15 
Speaker: Dr. Scott Reckinger, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University
Abstract: Modern climate models are limited to coarse-resolution representations of large-scale ocean circulation that rely on parameterizations (approximations) for mesoscale (large-scale) eddies. The eddies represent flow structures that cannot be resolved by the grid, so the effects of eddies can only be approximated using the general circulation that is resolved. In general, subgrid eddies are responsible for mixing various fluid properties due to their chaotic nature across many scales. Thus, it is common practice in many scientific fields (including turbulence and climate modeling) to model the subgrid eddies as a diffusive process on the resolved flow. Mesoscale eddies in the Earth's oceans tend to mix solely along surfaces of constant buoyancy (density), while simultaneously flattening the slopes of those surfaces. Also, the rate of mixing along these surfaces is not equal in all directions. All of these additional complexities can still be represented using a diffusion term, but the single diffusivity coefficient must be treated as a 3x3 matrix. By including the full effect of mesoscale eddies, climate models are able to more accurately reproduce the distributions of biogeochemical tracers, temperature, and salinity, which all play a large role in the general ocean circulation and, thus, the Earth's climate as a whole.
Title: The Relationship between the pH of Sodium Hydroxide Solution and Support Model Resin Dissolution
Thursday, November 13
Speaker: Kaitlin Maciejewski and Yenny Rua (Fairfield University students)
Title: The Relationship between the pH of Sodium Hydroxide Solution and SUpport Model Resin Dissolution
Abstract: This work explored the relationship between sodium hydroxide solution pH and effectiveness of model support resin dissolution in 3D printed parts. The geometry of these parts, was complex, including a single microfluidic channel 5mm in width. The coupons were weighed periodically and the pH of the solution was monitored closely over time. A linear relationship between pH and dissolution rate would indicate a direct correlation between the two. 


Spring 2014

Calculus, The Musical!
Presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


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