6 California Colleges for Math Majors

Math whizzes should consider the stellar programs at these public California universities.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

Terence Tao is a math professor at UCLA. He is sometimes called the "Mozart of Math."
Photo: Ucla.edu

If you love numbers, then a math major may be a great choice for you. Students who hope to major in math at a California college have several compelling options. Check out what the mathematics department at each of these schools has to offer in order to choose the best match for you.

Whether you aspire to be a great mathematician like Pythagoras or just work with numbers all day, these math programs will set you on your way to a successful career.

1. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California (UC), Berkeley’s graduate program in math is ranked second in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Because this is the most prestigious college in the state for graduate-level mathematics studies, expect the competition for admissions to be tough. Undergraduate mathematics degrees are also available through UC Berkeley’s math department, including majors in math, applied math and math with a teaching concentration. The college boasts a number of excellent resources, most notably the Mathematics and Statistics Library with numerous research tools and over 83,000 volumes.

2. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is also ranked highly for its graduate mathematics program. Rated as the eighth best math program in the country, the department offers students access to amazing faculty and research opportunities. Undergraduate majors in this department include math, applied math, financial actuarial mathematics, mathematics of computation and mathematics for teaching. There’s also a crossover degree program that provides a solid foundation in both mathematics and economics.

3. University of California, San Diego

UC San Diego’s graduate program in math is currently ranked 20th in the nation. This college’s mathematics department offers seven undergraduate math majors: mathematics, applied mathematics, secondary education in mathematics, applied science, computer science, mathematics/economics, and probability and statistics. Upper-level undergraduate students with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better and a GPA of 3.5 or better in their major may also apply for admission to UC San Diego’s mathematics honors program.

4. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) offers an undergraduate math major with three concentration options: applied math, pure math and teaching. Each math major is permitted to design a senior project in a chosen field; previous students have developed projects that combine math with topics like oceanography and coding theory. There’s also a blended bachelor’s and master’s degree program in math, which provides a seamless transition from undergraduate to graduate studies.

Cal Poly is the largest land-holding public university in California.

5. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

There are over 400 undergraduate math majors and 60 graduate math students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. This college offers majors in both math and statistics with optional concentrations in pure math, applied math, statistics or secondary teacher preparation. The same concentrations are available at the graduate level. Cal Poly Pomona’s mathematics and statistics department has a scholarship program with awards starting at $250 per year.

6. San Diego State University

The mathematics and statistics department at San Diego State University (SDSU) offers undergraduate majors in applied math, math, statistics and math with a teaching emphasis. This department also offers seven master’s degree programs and two PhD tracks. SDSU’s math club functions both as a social group and a networking opportunity for students.

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