Undergraduate Major in
Applied + Computational Mathematics

Graduate Option Rep

Prof. Peter Schroeder

Options Manager

Maria I. Lopez

Applied and Computational Mathematics Option
The undergraduate option in applied and computational mathematics within the Computing & Mathematical Sciences department seeks to address the interests of those students who want to combine their basic studies in mathematics with considerable involvement in applications. This program is designed to give students a thorough training in fundamental computational and applied mathematics and to develop their research ability in a specific application field. The fields of application include a wide range of areas such as fluid mechanics, materials science, and mathematical biology, engineering applications, image processing, and mathematical finance. The training essential for future careers in applied mathematics in academia, national laboratories, or in industry is provided, especially when combined with graduate work, by successful completion of the requirements for an undergraduate degree in applied and computational mathematics. Complete programs will be worked out with faculty advisers.

Double Majors
Students interested in simultaneously pursuing a degree in a second option must fulfill all the requirements of the ACM option. Courses may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements in both options. To enroll in the program, the student should meet and discuss his/her plans with the option representative. In general, approval is contingent on good academic performance by the student and demonstrated ability for handling the heavier course load.

Option Requirements

  1. The ACM Option requires the analytical tracks of Ma 1 b and Ma 1 c.
  2. Ma 2, Ma 3, Ma 6 abc, Ph 2 abc, ACM 11, CS 1, E 10, ACM 95 ab, Ma 108 abc, ACM/CMS 104, ACM 101 ab, and ACM/EE 106 ab
  3. Three courses numbered 100+ in ACM approved by the advisor and option representative
  4. One 27-unit 100+ sequence in science, engineering, or social sciences approved by the option representative.
  5. Passing grades must be obtained in a total of 486 units, including the courses listed above. Courses satisfying option requirements must be taken for grades (except when courses are only available P/F) and passed with a grade of C- or higher.

Typical Course Schedule

Units Per Term
Second Year 1st 2nd 3rd
Ma 2 Differential Equations 9 - -
Ma 3 Introduction to Probability and Statistics - 9 -
Ma 6 abc Introduction to Discrete Mathematics 9 9 9
Ph 2 abc Sophomore Physics 9 9 9
ACM 11 Introduction to Matlab and Mathematica - - 6
CS 1 Introduction to Computer Programming 9 - -
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Electives1 - 9 12
45 45 45
Third Year 1st 2nd 3rd
Ma 108 abc Classical Analysis 9 9 9
ACM 95 ab Introduction to Methods of Applied Math - 12 12
ACM 104 Appl. Linear Algebra 9 - -
ACM/EE 116 Introduction To Probability Models 9 - -
HSS electives 9 9 9
Electives1 9 12 12
E 10 Technical Seminar Presentation - 3 -
E 11 Written Tech. Comm. in Engrng and Appl. Sci. - - 3
45 45 45
Fourth Year 1st 2nd 3rd
ACM 101 ab Methods of Applied Mathematics 12 12 -
ACM/EE 106 ab Introduction Methods of Comput. Math 12 12 -
ACM 216 Markov Chains, Discrete Stochastic Processes and Appl. Mathematical Optimization - 9 -
CMS/ACM 113 Mathematical Optimization 9 - -
HSS Elective 9 9 9
Electives1 - - 27
42 42 36

1 See items 2,3, and 4 under option requirements.


Because of large enrollments, students won't usually be able to have an advisor from the CMS faculty during their freshman year. Students seeking an ACM advisor should contact the undergraduate option secretary at academicscms.caltech.edu.


There are many opportunities for undergraduate research in the computer science field. Students may work with faculty in the Computing + Mathematical Sciences Department and in other departments and JPL. There are a wide variety of research opportunities in computing across campus, ranging from applied physics research to numerical relativity.

Campus-wide, there is a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships) program you may want to apply for. Please visit the SURF website for more information. The application deadline is typically in February. Students should begin talking with professors at least two months before the deadline.