Undergraduate Major in
Applied + Computational Mathematics

Undergraduate Option Rep

Oscar Bruno

Options Administrator

Maria Lopez

The undergraduate option in Applied + Computational Mathematics is for 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. The program is similar in general outline to the mathematics option, with additional requirements to ensure a balance between courses that develop mathematical concepts and courses that show the interplay of these concepts with a variety of applications. Complete programs will be worked out with faculty advisers to fit students' goals.

Option Requirements

  1. Ma 108 ab, Ma 2, Ma 3, CS 1, ACM 104, ACM 95 abc, ACM 106 abc, Ph 2 abc, and E 10.
  2. An approved sequence of three one-quarter courses to be selected from the following: ACM 101, ACM 105 or Ma110a, ACM 113, ACM 114, ACM 116, ACM/ESE 118, ACM 126 ab, ACM 201 ab, ACM 210 ab, ACM 216, ACM 217, Ae/ACM/ME 232 abc, ACM 270.
  3. A three-term sequence from the following (or an option representative-approved three-term combination totaling at least 27 units): Ma 5 abc, Ma/CS 6 abc, Ma 109 abc, Ma 110 abc, Ma 120 abc, Ma 121 abc, EE/Ma 126 ab, EE/Ma/CS 127, CS/EE/Ma 129 abc.
  4. One 27-unit 100-or-higher-level course in science or engineering not in ACM or Ma and 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 2/3 Sophomore Mathematics 9 9 -
Ph 2 abc Sophomore Physics 9 9 9
ACM 95 abc Intro. Methods of Applied Math. 12 12 12
ACM 11 Intro. to Matlab and Mathematica - - 6
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Electives - 9 12
CS 1 Intro. to Computer Programming 9 - -
48 48 48
Third Year 1st 2nd 3rd
Ma 108 ab Classical Analysis 9 9 0
ACM 104 Linear Algebra and Applied Operator Theory 9 0 0
ACM 106 abc Intro. Methods of Comput. Math. 9 9 9
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Electives 9 18 27
45 45 45
Fourth Year 1st 2nd 3rd
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Electives 36 27 27
45 36 36


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 academicsSymbolatcms.caltech.edu.

Double Majoring

Double Major Policy
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. However, it is required that students have at least 63 units of ACM courses numbered 101 and above that are not simultaneously used for fulfilling a requirement of the second option, e. g., requirement 2 in ACM must be fulfilled using courses that are not simultaneously used for fulfilling a requirement of the second option. 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.


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.

Department of Computing + Mathematical Sciences