Pathways to Courses

A student majoring in mathematics and statistics will choose one of three pathways: core mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics. Students also have extracurricular opportunities to learn about mathematics and statistics through the department’s various lecture series and conversations as well as through the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute at Vassar. Faculty research ranges from algebra, analysis, topology, and statistics to dynamical systems and logic.

Pure Mathematics

Pure Mathematics begins with the notions of number, shape, and function and through the process of formal, logical reasoning discovers the patterns and relations between these ideas to articulate mathematical truths. These truths are rigorously derived through proof, the language of mathematics. 

Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics incorporates qualitative, analytical, and numerical methods to analyze phenomena from fields including physics, biology, epidemiology, chemistry, engineering, and the social sciences.  We examine these phenomena by formulating mathematical models, exploring the model’s predictions, and comparing the results with real-world observations.


Statistics is the process of uncovering patterns and making meaning from variable and noisy data. By collecting the right information and formulating precise research questions, we can use statistical exploration and inference to make data-driven decisions and understand the world around us.