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Applying to the Math Major as a Transfer Student

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Students who have completed the equivalent of two years at a community college, four-year college, or university and who wish to spend the final two undergraduate years pursuing serious study of mathematics at a major research institution are encouraged to consider carefully the option of transferring as a junior to Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The prerequisites for the mathematics major can be briefly summarized as follows:

  1. A one-semester introductory linear algebra course covering matrices and linear systems, vector spaces, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors;

  2. A one-semester course on multivariable differential, integral, and vector calculus that includes at least some of the fundamental theorems relating multiple, line, and surface integrals (i.e., Green’s, Stokes’, and Divergence Theorems);

  3. A unit on infinite series, such as is contained in most second-semester calculus courses.

  4. An introduction to elementary computer programming concepts with emphasis on techniques of problem analysis and the development of algorithms and programs. The course should include the development of programs in at least one computer programming language. AP credit may be substituted.

A transfer applicant who has performed at a high level in courses covering the material of (1) and/or (2) can usually receive transfer credit for Cornell’s MATH 2210 and/or 2220, respectively, and be admitted to the mathematics major. If the material in (4) is lacking, admission to the major will be provisional and the student will be required to complete a 3- or 4-credit computer programming course (such as CS 1110, 1112, 1114, or 2110) during the first Cornell semester.

Transfer students to the College of Arts and Sciences who have completed fewer than two years at another institution are not admitted directly to a major. Those who wish to major in mathematics will have until the end of the sophomore year to satisfy the above prerequisites and declare the major.  Some or all of the prerequisite courses can be taken at Cornell. Courses taken at another institution will be considered for transfer credit after the student is admitted.

See Undergraduation Admissions: Transfer Students for information about Cornell’s admissions requirements.