# Frequently Asked Questions

## 1. FAQs about major and track selections

Q1.1: What are the prerequisites for declaring MATH as my major?

Major selection for SSCI-A students is administered by the School of Science, typically near the end of the first year, or during the winter of the second year. In order to declare MATH as your major, it is necessary to have completed:

[(MATH 1012 or MATH 1013 or MATH 1023) and (MATH 1014 or MATH 1024)] or [MATH 1020]

Q1.2: When do I choose my track?

For first-year students in the SSCI-A program, the track selection is done right after the major allocation exercise in the summer / winter. For students who declare MATH as an additional major, the selection of track is usually done in the application process.

Q1.3: What are the selection criteria and requirement of different tracks?

The Statistics track and the Financial Actuarial Mathematics track **each** has a quota of 25 students for each cohort. The selection criteria is mainly by the first-year Science Foundation courses, with higher weighting in some MATH courses. Bonus weighting will be given if you enroll in MATH 1024, or the math major section of MATH 1014.

The Pure Mathematics (Advanced) track requires student to have completed MATH 1023 and MATH 1024 with A- or above. However, special consideration is given for exceptional students who did not meet these criteria - such as those who have completed MATH 2131 or MATH 2043 with good grades in the first year.

Q1.4: Can I switch my track later?

Yes. At the end of every Spring semester, Year 2 and Year 3 students can apply for switching their track of study. Approval is based on a number of factors: the possibility of completing the new track requirement on time, the grades obtained in courses which are important to the new track, etc.

Q1.5: Can I study two tracks at the same time?

Each student has officially ONE track at a time. But certainly, you can use your free electives to take courses in other tracks.

Q1.6: Would my track appear in my transcript and diploma?

Your track of study will only appear in your transcript, but not in the diploma. Certainly, you can put the track name in your CV and Resume as long as it is accurate.

## 2. FAQs about deviation from recommended study pattern and curriculum

Q2.1: Can I take a course EARLIER than the recommended semester?

For mathematically talented and motivated students, taking a required course or an elective **earlier** than the recommended semester is permitted as long as you believe you can manage it. You may need to seek prerequisite waiver request from the instructor teaching the course, who holds the decision of approving your request. It is also recommended that you consult the course instructor before seeking this approval. In recent years, it is quite common for very good students to take MATH 2023 in Year 1 Spring, and it is not rare for top students to take MATH 2043 in Year 1 Spring and MATH 3043 in Year 2 Fall.

For the majority of MATH students, however, you are advised to follow the recommended study pattern.

Q2.2: Can I take a course LATER than the recommended semester?

It is NOT recommended to do so, as many courses in the MATH curriculum are inter-related and depending on their prerequisite courses. If you postpone one course, you may need to postpone all dependent courses. Some courses, such as MATH 3423 and MATH 3424, are offered only once a year. If you did not take MATH 3423 in the recommended Year 3 Fall, you may not be allowed to take MATH 3424 in Year 3 Spring. The Statistics capstone project has MATH 3424 as the prerequisite, so consequently you would have to extend your study to Year 5. Similar situations apply to other tracks too.

Q2.3: Can I still take the course if I do not meet its prerequisite? How about taking PG course as an undergraduate?

Both answers are yes, but it is subject to instructor's approval. You need to apply for prerequisite waiver or cross-career request. The course instructor holds the decision of approving your request or not.

Q2.4: I have taken a course which is an exclusion to a course required in my track. What should I do?

It is handled on case-by-case basis. Here are some examples and the possible solutions:

- A student from SENG took MATH 2111 as a requirement in the CS program, and he/she later declares MATH as the second major which requires MATH 2121. Since MATH 2121 and MATH 2111 are exclusions of each other, the student cannot enroll in MATH 2121. In this case, the student may apply for GR-23 Deviation from Curriculum of using MATH 2111 to replace MATH 2121.
- A SSCI-A student took MATH 2011 in Year 1, and he/she later declares MATH as the first major which requires MATH 2023. Since MATH 2023 and MATH 2011 are exclusions of each other, the student cannot enroll in MATH 2023. It is trickier than the previous case, as students with MATH as the first major are supposed to take MATH 2023. Such a student should contact the UG Coordinator right after he/she declared MATH as the first major so as to work out a possible solution. The student may need to apply for GR-23 Deviation from Curriculum using a more advanced related course - such as MATH 4033 (Calculus on Manifolds) - to replace MATH 2023 if other eaiser solutions do not work out.

To summarize, if Course A and Course B are exclusions of each other, and Course A is required for the MATH program or your track, you should take Course A. We only offer some flexibility of approving Course B to replace Course A for students from other home departments with MATH as an additional major.

As a corollary, SSCI-A students who plan to declare MATH as the first major should NOT take MATH 2011 or MATH 2111 in Year 1 even if the course instructor approves you to do so. The same applies to ISOM 2500, which excludes our required course MATH 2411 for some tracks.

Q2.5: I transferred into MATH from a SENG program, and I took MATH 2111 before. What should I do in order to fulfill the MATH 2121 requirement?

In this special situation, some flexibility would be granted on case-by-case basis. The MATH UG Coordinator may allow you to apply for GR-23 Deviation from Curriculum using MATH 2111 to replace MATH 2121. Students are advised to consult the UG Coordinator over this issue when applying for the program transfer.

Q2.6: I am a MATH-CS track student. Can I take COMP 2711 or COMP 2711H to replace MATH 2343?

Normally, we do not approve using a non-MATH course to replace a MATH course, but COMP 2711 and COMP 2711H are **exceptions** because of their rich and deep mathematical content. For MATH-CS track students, you may apply for GR-23 Deviation from Curriculum using COMP 2711 to replace MATH 2343 with a strong reason, such as stating that the former gives you better preparation of other COMP courses in the CS track curriculum.

Q2.7: I got credit transfer of MATH 1013 using my results in an international exam such as IB, GCEAL, IAL, or AP. How would my study pattern differ from others?

Even for students with excellent results in these international exams, it is recommended that they should NOT do credit transfer into MATH 1013 if they want to be a MATH major. Instead, they should start from our MATH 1013 (especially the Math Major section), or MATH 1023 to build up a better foundation.

Q2.8: How can I apply for credit overload? What is the approval criterion?

Shortly before the start of Fall and Spring semesters, our UG Team will invite you to apply for credit overload if you hope to take more than 18 credits. Starting from Fall 2023-24, **students will just need to submit credit overload application in SIS**. There is no need to get preapproval using the Math Department internal system. The UG coordinator will approve or decline directly through SIS, and may contact you directly through Email if more information is needed.

There is no strict rule or formula for approving your credit overload. The key factors include your CGA, and your grades in MATH courses. Every application is considered independently. A students with a good record of Honors or advanced courses may be approved more overloading credits than another student with excellent record of easy courses.

## 3. FAQs about PMA, IRE, and S.S. Chern class

Q3.1: Are PMA, IRE, and S.S. Chern class mutually exclusive?

No! Some students are belong to all three of them. PMA is a track of study. IRE is a program offered by the School of Science. The S.S. Chern class is a scholarship and mentorship program offered by the Department of Mathematics.

IRE students who declare Math as their major could choose to follow the study path of PMA, Applied Math or Statistics track, and if they have satisfactorily completed MATH 1024, they will be invited into the S.S. Chern class.

The S.S. Chern class is open for all MATH/MAEC/DSCT students meeting the selection criteria, not only those in the IRE program. S.S. Chern class students could choose any of the tracks (except PM) offered by the Department of Mathematics. PMA is one of the tracks that a S.S. Chern class student can pick.

Exercise: sketch a Venn diagram to illustrate their relations.

Q3.2: How could I enter the PMA track? What is the requirement?

The prerequisite of entering PMA track is A- or above in MATH 1023 and MATH 1024. However, some exceptional students who do not meet this requirement but have already taken MATH 2131 or MATH 2043 in Year 1 with good grades will also be considered.

Q3.3: How could I enter the IRE Math program?

Students can enter the IRE program through JUPAS. In recent years, the admission score is very high. Students admitted into IRE through JUPAS may declare MATH as their major at the end of Year 1. Note that IRE MATH students are required to take MATH 1023 and MATH 1024, instead of MATH 1013 and MATH 1014.

Alternatively, students can first enter the SSCI-A program, and apply to transfer into the IRE MATH at the end of Year 1. The selection process involves a review of your transcript, and an interview. Below is a list of things that would strengthen your application for transferring into IRE Math:

- Maintain top grades in MATH 1023 and MATH 1024.
- If possible, take some higher level courses in Year 1, such as MATH 2001, MATH 2023, MATH 2131, or MATH 2043, and maintain top grades.
- Identify a potential mentor for your IRE Math program.
- Demostrate a clear goal of academic career during the interview.

Q3.4 How could I enter the S.S. Chern class?

Please visit **HERE** for detail. First-Year students interested in the S.S. Chern class should take MATH 1023 and MATH 1024. If you have taken international exams such as IB, GCEAL, etc., you should NOT transfer your credit into MATH 1013, which excludes MATH 1023.

Q3.5 All three programs / tracks require students to take honors versions of required courses. Are they much more difficult than the regular ones? What are the benefits of taking them?

Frankly speaking, honors courses are generally much more challenging than their regular versions. You are expected to put a lot more effort and brainpower in the honors versions. However, honors courses give you much better preparation for graduate studies in Mathematics and related fields, as their level of diffculities match their similar counterparts offered by top universities in the US. While it is not a must to have taken honors courses if you want to apply for graduate schools, both local and overseas, students who took regular courses may find themselves hard to survive in some competitive graduate school programs in Mathematics.