17 June 2022

Great Applied and Computational Math Programs for Undergraduates

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Great Applied Math Programs for UndergraduatesInterested in STEM, but not one particular field? Does everything from quantitative finance to epidemiology to electrical engineering to climate science fascinate you? Then consider majoring in applied math!

Almost every university offers a major in mathematics. However, in many schools, the math major focuses predominantly on pure math rather than applied and computational math (ACM). In the former, which is a more traditional discipline, students take primarily theoretical courses like geometry, number theory, and topology. However, for many STEM-focused high schoolers like myself, the latter field may pique their curiosity more. In ACM, students will apply mathematical concepts such as dynamical systems and differential equations, in conjunction with other sciences like biology and physics, to analyze real-world scientific challenges.

In today’s social and technological climate, there has never been a better time to become an applied mathematician. With revolutionary computational resources that enable mathematical modeling and simulation of complex systems, students studying ACM can perform innovative work in any of the fields listed above, and so many more.

Interested in this up-and-coming, groundbreaking field? Then check out our latest list of universities with best dedicated ACM majors nationwide. Using information compiled from individual university websites, we’ve selected a list of the top institutions offering a dedicated ACM program, extensive undergraduate research opportunities for ACM students, and when available, specialized concentrations within the program.

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of the universities with the best dedicated applied and computational math majors nationwide.


Great Applied and Computational Math Programs for Undergraduates

Several universities across the U.S. offer ACM majors or programs for undergraduate students. This article details specific components of these programs, including the types of degrees offered, the specific school that the major resides in, and other resources available.

In looking at the top ACM programs across the country, here is a breakdown of profiles, degrees, and offerings:

  • School and degree. ACM is generally offered as either a B.A. or a B.S. degree, as well as either a degree in the School of Engineering or the School of Arts and Sciences. This section notes the specific degree associated with the ACM major and the specific schools that the major resides in, which can be important factors for prospective students as core requirements will often differ between degree type and school.
  • Academic profile. To help you assess academic fit, we have included the overall admission rate and mid-50th percentile test score breakdowns for each institution listed.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities. Undergraduate research opportunities provide outlets where ACM students can apply their skills and knowledge meaningfully to real-world challenges, often alongside other students and with the support of a professor or mentor. Examples of such opportunities include summer research programs, senior design projects, and invitations for ACM majors to join specialized research groups and labs at the institution. Such opportunities are especially important in the field of applied mathematics, where real-world applications are crucial to the learning experience. The list below provides links to learn more about the specific undergraduate research opportunities available for ACM students in each institution.
  • Concentrations. Many institutions with ACM require or offer students to choose a dedicated concentration with the ACM program, such as in mathematical biology, operations research, or financial mathematics. This section indicates whether a concentration is offered or required.
  • Accelerated Master's. Because applied math is a highly research-oriented discipline, many ACM students may want to pursue further education beyond their undergraduate experience. This section indicates whether the institution offers an accelerated master’s program for ACM students, in which students typically earn both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in applied math in just five years. nancial mathematics. This section indicates whether a concentration is offered or required.
  • Notes. We have also listed other academic opportunities available for ACM students, like honors programs, clubs, student groups, co-op programs, and more, for each institution.



Caden Lin Caden Lin is a graduate from The Harker School’s Class of 2022 who will be attending Columbia University this fall.


Great Undergraduate Applied Math Programs

College Kickstart LLC

Institution/MajorStateAdmit Rate (%)Mid 50 SAT/ACTResearchConcentrationsAccelerated Master'sNotes
Arizona State University
B.S. in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
AZ 88 1110-1310
  Accelerated Bachelor's available; can choose between traditional courses or concentrated, more accelerated courses; Strong Honors College; can receive certificates in analysis and management of insurance risk, actuarial science, cryptology, and mathematical concepts of engineering
Brown University
B.A. or B.S. in the College of Arts and Sciences
RI 5 1470-1550
Optional: biology, computer science, economics Honors in Applied Math available; several mathematics student groups; diverse and thorough research groups (dynamical systems, PDE, analysis, fluid mechanics, pattern theory, etc)
Bryant University
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
RI 76 1120-1280
No   Applied math and statistics major; offers the SAS Certificate in data mining; honors program available; Advanced Applied Analytics Center (AAAC) offers excellent ACM research opportunities;
California Institute of Technology
B.S. in Division of Engineering and Applied Science
CA 4 1510-1570
    Minors in control + dynamical systems available; extensive research groups, including Computational Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Physics in the Division of Physics, Math, and Astronomy ; study abroad supported
Carnegie Mellon University
B.S. in College of Sciences
PA 14 1480-1560
Optional: mathematical sciences, operations research and statistics, statistics, discrete math and logic, computational and applied math, Honors Degree   Interdisciplinary programs available, such as the combined Fine Arts/Mathematical Sciences B.A. or the combined Public Policy and Management and Business B.S. in Computational Finance; minor in mathematical sciences available;
Case Western Reserve University
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
OH 30 1420-1520
  B.S. in Math + Physics also offered; 13 different research groups in the Math department, including applied math fields like mathematical physics and dynamical systems
College of William and Mary
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
VA 37 1360-1520
Required: applied statistics, mathematical biology Interdisciplinary program run jointly by the Departments of Applied Science, Biology, Economics, and Math; also an applied math concentration with the math major that is not a dedicated applied math degree and has more core requirements; students can perform research across any joint department
Colorado School of Mines
B.S. (no sub-schools)
CO 55 1280-1430
Optional: statistics Particularly large emphasis on undergrad research (lots of funding, scholarships, grants, etc available); dedicated AMS research groups (applied math and wave phenomena, computational mathematics and analysis, etc); within the Applied Math and Statistics (AMS) major, students can emphasize in ACM or Statistics
Columbia University
B.S. in the School of Engineering/B.A. in the College of Arts and Sciences
NY 4 1510-1560
  Available in both School of Engineering (B.S.) and the College (B.A.); Engineering major is much more flexible (more technical electives/speciality areas), College major has more Core requirements; Departmental Honors available for both; 3+2 or 4+1 programs allow students to receive both a B.S. and B.A. in five years
Cornell University
B.A. in the College of Arts and Sciences
NY 9 1450-1540
Optional: computer science, economics, mathematical biology, operations research, statistics, mathematical physics   Very flexible math requirements; can double major with computer science, econ, or physics across departments; Honors and senior thesis available; several specialized Scholars programs
Emory University (Emory)
B.S. in College of Arts & Sciences
GA 11 1430-1530
  Applied Math and Statistics major offered jointly by the Department of Math and the Institute for Quantitative Theory and Methods (QTM), though there is a regular applied math B.S. in the Department of Math alone available; also a math+CS B.S, math + econ B.A, and math + poli sci B.A. available; can minor in applied math, honors program available;
Florida State University
B.S. in the College
FL 30 1200-1330
  Several paid research opportunities beginning for first-years; biomathematics and actuarial science majors also offered; directed individual study and Honors Thesis projects also offered
Harvard University
B.A. in the School of Engineering
MA 3 1480-1580
Required: computation, probability and statistics, differential equations, analysis, algebra, optimization, discrete math, modeling Required application-based courses; senior thesis offered, required for honors consideration
Johns Hopkins University
B.A. / B.S. in the School of Engineering
MD 6 1520-1560
  Can either pursue B.A. or B.S. in applied math and statistics (difference lies in the core requirements); dedicated Applied Math and Statistics program that extends between undergrad and grad school; honors program available in the Department of AMS; minor in AMS available; specialized research groups like the Johns Hopkins Mathematical Institute for Data Science
B.S. in the School of Science
MA 4 1510-1570
No Concentration within the math major; Very flexible course offerings, few pure math requirements; focus on propagation, stability, computation, and statistics; selection between discrete mathematics and continuous mathematics
Northwestern University
B.S. in the School of Engineering
IL 7 1490-1550
Optional: engineering, mathematical social sciences, pure math, numerics, the sciences Dedicated Department of Engineering Sciences & Applied Math; departmental honors, co-op program, study abroad, dual degree are all offered; special programs like the Kellogg Certificate for Undergraduates; core requirements
Princeton University
Certificate Program
NJ 4 1470-1560
  Certificate Program in Applied and Computational Math (PACM), meaning application is required and students complete the program with a dedicated certificate recognition; very rigorous; independent work required throughout junior and senior year; remarkable course selection featuring subjects like computational geophysics, nonlinear control, viscous flows, etc; interdisciplinary opportunities available for undergraduates
Purdue University
B.S. in the College of Science
IN 69 1190-1410
No   Dedicated Center for Computational & Applied Math (CCAM) where students can perform specialized ACM research; also a strong program in actuarial science available;c Honors program available
Rice University
B.A. in the School of Engineering
TX 9 1490-1570
  BA in Operations Research also available; minor in ACM available; senior design course offered; very flexible course offerings; specific research groups like Computational Optimization and Modeling of Porous Media and Geo-Mathematical Imaging Group; extensive variety of resources and clubs for ACM students
Stanford University
B.S. in the School of Humanities and Sciences
CA 4 1470-1560
Optional: computational biology Honors program available; students can take courses, work, or perform research in the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, a cutting-edge department focused on advancements in ACM, as well as diversity and inclusion in STEM
State University of New York - Stony Brook
B.S. in the School of Engineering
NY 48 1320-1460
Optional: actuarial science, financial math, statistics, operations research, programming/analysis Often combined with other majors and minors; internship opportunities like actuarial training
Texas A&M University
B.S. in the College of Arts and Sciences
TX 64 1160-1370
Optional: actuarial science, biological science, computational science, cryptography, economics, math, statistics Core Curriculum required
Tufts University
B.A. / B.S. in the School of Arts and Sciences
MA 9 1450-1530
  No distinction between the BA and BS degrees; senior thesis offered and required for Honors distinction; multiple summer research programs available offering financial grants
University of California - Berkeley
B.A. in College of Arts & Sciences
CA 15 1300-1520
    Also a B.S. in Engineering Mathematics and Statistics Major available in the College of Engineering, where there are different core requirements; Honors Program available
University of California - Los Angeles
B.S. in the College of Arts and Sciences
CA 11 1290-1510
Optional: financial actuarial math, applied science, computation   Multiple honors programs available in the math department; many interdepartmental majors like data theory and systems biology
University of California - Santa Barbara
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
CA 29 1250-1450
  Dedicated Math Summer Research Program within the Department of Mathematics; B.S. in financial math and statistics available; Math Education Abroad Program endorses study abroad for math majors
University of Chicago
B.S. in The College
IL 7 1510-1560
  Joint major offered by the Departments of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics; recent partnership with the National Science Foundation creates new research opportunities for Computational and Applied Math students; study abroad Paris Math program offered; core curriculum present; can conduct undergraduate research across the joint departments, such as the Data Science Institute Summer Lab in the department of CS
University of Colorado - Boulder
B.S. in the College of Engineering
CO 80 1180-1380
  Minor in applied math available for any student, regardless of college affiliation; statistics and data science B.A. also offered; several apprenticeship and learning assistance programs available
University of Connecticut - Storrs
B.A. or B.S. in the College of Arts and Sciences
CT 56 1170-1390
  Applied Mathematical Sciences (AMS) major offered within the Math and Engineering Exploration Group; multiple mathematics Honors programs available; actuarial science program offered; AMS frat option (gamma iota sigma)
University of Georgia
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
GA 42 1280-1430
  Offered as a concentration within the math major; few pure math requirements; must satisfy general university core requirements; certificate programs available in actuarial science and applied data science; experiential learning is required
University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
B.A. in College of Arts & Sciences
IL 60 1340-1510
No Also majors in data optimization, actuarial science, and math + CS; partnered with the Internship Network in the Mathematical Sciences, facilitating career work; merit and honors programs available; online learning possible through the NetMath department of the Department of Mathematics
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
B.A. / B.S. in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
MI 20 1360-1530
Required: discrete and Algorithmic Methods, Numerical and Applied Analysis, Operations Research and Modeling, Probabilistic Methods, Control Systems, Mathematical Economics, Mathematical Physics, and Mathematical Biology Aalso an Honors Math program option, which is a combination of pure and applied math at an accelerated pace; also majors available in actuarial math and the math of finance and risk management;
University of Pittsburgh
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
PA 67 1250-1470
  Many additional related majors available: actuarial math, mathematical biology, mathematics-economics, data science; honors in applied math available; math-related extracurriculars like actuarial math club, math seminars, and women's groups sponsored
University of Southern California
B.S. / B.A. in the College of Arts & Sciences
CA 12 1330-1520
No Can receive a B.A. or B.S. — difference lies in the core requirements; can also minor in mathematical finance and mathematical data analytics
University of Tulsa
B.S. in the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences
OK 36 1090-1360
Required: computer sciences, engineering, biomathematics and business Four concentration options within the B.S. in applied math: computer science, engineering, biomathematics, and business; core math requirements are the same through the concentrations, but the supporting work differs; applied math students can conduct research in the Institute of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the Center for Boundary Integral Methods
University of Vermont
B.S. in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
VT 64 1250-1400
No Very flexible math curriculum; also a B.S. in data science available; two tracks within the mathematical science program: math and statistics; Honors College available; team-based design project for senior engineering students
University of Washington
B.S. in the College of Arts & Sciences
WA 53 1240-1450
No Dedicated department of applied math, very prestigious applied math department (#1 ranked by The National Research Council); also a B.S. Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences (ACMS) available, offered jointly by the Departments of Applied Math, CS & Engineering, Math, and Statistics; online certificates in scientific computing and computational finance available; B.S. in computational finance and risk management offered;
University of Wisconsin - Madison
B.S. in College of Letters & Science
WI 60 1350-1480
No Interdisciplinary program combining applied math, physics, and engineering (AMEP); dedicated Applied Math Lab that specializes in fluid-structure interactions, soft matter physics, and other applications of advanced math to real-world problems
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
B.S. in the College of Science
VA 56 1210-1410
Required: applied computation, applied discrete Extensive extracurricular opportunities like tutoring, study abroad, competitions, and paid job opportunities; often chosen as a double major alongside a similar degree like aerospace engineering, biology, computational modeling and data analytics, and operations research
Williams College
B.A. at Williams College
MA 9 1470-1550
  Applied math pathway within the math major; only three core courses required related to pure math; every senior must complete a colloquium talk or thesis presentation; SMALL is a dedicated summer research program for undergrads in math
Yale University
B.A. / B.S. at Yale College
CT 4 1480-1560
  Related majors include applied physics, engineering and applied science, and statistics and data science; B.S. degree program requires three additional math courses than the B.A. program; Applied Math DSAC (Departmental Student Advisory Committee) allows students to advance applied math at Yale
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