I Have a Question...

I am an undergrad math major and I want some advice...

  • "How should I choose my courses?"
  • "Can you release my hold?"
  • "What does 'abstract algebra' mean? Should I take it?"
  • "I'm thinking about [this internship] or [this job after graduation]. Do you have advice?"

That's where advising comes in! Once you know your advisor, you ask your undergraduate advisor for academic advice related to your classes and planning your graduation.

Well, mostly I just want to ask a question about rules...

  • "How does graduation work?"
  • "How does adding/dropping/repeating classes work?"
  • "Why can't I enroll in a particular Math Course?"
  • "What are the requirements of a minor?"
  • "Do I have to take a Math Workshop?"

You can answer a lot of these questions yourself in our undergraduate advising how-to list (.DOCX) or around this website (typically under Calculus or Courses). Your advisors can help, but their main job is to give you advice instead of clarifying rules. If you can't answer the question yourself, we still want to help you! Just come to the math department office (MH 308).

I don't even know who my advisor is... / But I'm not an undergraduate math major...


What does "my advisor" mean? Who is it?

Your major advisor is your most important resource. This person helps you plan your courses, internships and other academic activities for your degree. We have assigned you an advisor based on your degree program and concentration. If you do not know who your advisor is, you can contact the head advisor(s). Math majors will receive an email notifying them of their assigned advisor during the first week of October in the fall and the first week of March in the spring. If you lost the email, you can also check the List of Advisors or ask the head advisor.

How often do you meet with your advisor? 

Every semester, an advising hold is placed on each student's record which prevents the student from signing up for courses. You must meet with your advisor to lift the hold, so you must meet your advisor once a semester. Even if you are a double major and your other advisor already lifted the hold, you should still meet with your math advisor every semester so that he or she can keep track of your progress.

What do I do if my advisor doesn't get back to me?

It is the advisor's job to stay in touch with you and offer all the advising help you need. If you do not get a response, try to meet your advisor in her or his office during scheduled office hours. Note that faculty are not required to report during the summer and winter breaks. If you are unable to get a reply from your advisor by phone or email during those times and your question is urgent, fill out the "Contact Us" form.

How do we (your advisor and you) plan your schedule?

At the start of your academic career, you will be taking some general education (GE) courses and beginning math and support courses. The lower division math courses are Math or Math 30P, Math 31, Math 32 and Math 42. Support courses are non-math courses required by your major (for example, Physics 50 is a support course for the BA Math program). It is important that you start taking your Math courses as soon as possible. When planning your schedule, start with the math courses you need to take. Then add the support courses. Lastly, fill in your schedule with your general education (G.E.) courses.

By the time you are taking Math 32, you and your advisor should make an academic plan for the remainder of your undergraduate career. Your advisor will help you select electives and will recommend a plan which is best suited to your needs and abilities. At this time, you may discuss your future plans such as career objectives and graduate school plans. This would help your advisor suggest courses and co-curricular activities like internships and summer research.

I'm a freshman / transfer student. What is special about my situation regarding advising?

Freshmen are required to attend Frosh Orientation where they meet with College of Science advisors and register for the first semester courses. There may be a math advisor at the advising session. If not, please contact us to verify that you are enrolled in the appropriate courses. 

Transfer students are required to attend TIP (Transfer Information Program). You will meet with an advisor from the Math Department when you attend the TIP. This advisor will help you plan your schedule for your first semester at SJSU. During your first semester at SJSU you should meet with our assigned advisor to make a long term plan for completing your degree. Bring a copy of all (unofficial) transcripts and grade reports to your transfer advising session.

How do I get credit for AP classes?

If you took AP classes, read the information on AP exams (http://info.sjsu.edu/static/catalog/ap.html). To get credit for your AP tests, you should have the results sent to SJSU.

I'm considering a Ph.D. program. What do I do?

If you are planning to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, let your advisor know as soon as possible. Attend our Graduate School Workshop which is held in September. Apply to Ph.D. programs is much more complicated than applying to SJSU. You will need to take both the general and the math subject GREs (http://www.ets.org/gre/), write a statement of purpose, research which graduate programs are best suited to you and find 3-4 people who will write letters of recommendation for you.

Special Notes about General Education (G.E.) courses

  • Area B1 and B3. Most math majors (see exceptions below) are required to take calculus based Physics which will satisfy these requirements.

  • Area B4. Even though it is not listed on the list of G.E. courses, Calculus will satisfy the Critical Thinking G.E. requirement. There is no need for you to take another math course from that list. A grade of C- or higher is required in the course used to satisfy the GE math concepts requirement.

  • Areas B, D for BS Applied and Computational Mathematics. The concentration in Applied Mathematics and Statistics required 2 lower division and 2 upper division support courses in an applied area. Sample sequences of support courses can be found in the document "Preapproved Support Courses" which is linked on our Forms and Documents page. For example, a student who decides to specialize in Genetics would have to take Bio 1A and Chem 1A. These two courses satisfy areas B1, B2 and B3. A student who follows the Economics sequence would have to take Econ 1B which satisfies area D1. We strongly recommend that these students discuss these options with their advisors as soon as possible.