A Student Perspective on the Math Department


Welcome to Harvard! We’re glad you’re interested in math and hoping to explore the many mathematical opportunities available for you here at Harvard. The Math Department has plenty of official advising resources, such as the department website, the course catalog, Rosalie Belanger-Rioux, the Director of Undergrad Studies (Professor Jacob Lurie), and many others; however, students have often found that advice from other undergraduates in the department is also useful. To that end, we (Gender Inclusivity in Math, or GIIM) have chosen to write this document, to ensure that all students can get a student perspective and information on the Math Department.

This document is strictly a document written by students, for students about the Math Department. As a result, its information is almost entirely based on student responses – either on the Q guide, on surveys GIIM has sent out, or from students we have spoken to. We’ve also chosen to supplement more factual information with opinions that are potentially useful; these opinions are anonymous quotes (or potentially paraphrases) throughout the document. Remember that while our opinions are hopefully very useful, they are still opinions and may not necessarily apply to you – there is generally a great diversity of perspectives about any particular math class, and all of them are potentially valid.

If you would like to contribute a quote, or notice something wrong/misleading in this document, please e-mail GIIM board as soon as possible, and it will be fixed immediately.

If you’re interested in helping write this document or other inclusivity measures similar to it, please join GIIM by signing up for our mailing list or emailing GIIM board as above.

Table of Contents

Selecting Your First Math Course
Core Math Courses Beyond Freshman Year
Other Math Courses
Being a Math Concentrator
If You’re Interested In….
Research Opportunities
Writing a Senior Thesis
Getting Involved in the Department Community


We acknowledge a number of people who made the creation of this website possible. Specifically:

  • Michael Fountaine, Davis Lazowski, and Grace Chen (the GIIM Advising Committee) for helping us gather information for the pamphlet and helping us write it up.
  • Professors Hiro Lee Tanaka, Clifford Taubes, Dr. Robin Gottlieb, and other preceptors in the Math Department for giving us feedback on this pamphlet.
  • Rosalie Belanger-Rioux for providing us with the necessary information from the Math Department to complete this document.
  • Cameron Krulewski, Elba Alonso Monsalve, Amanda Glazer, and Vikram Sundar (GIIM Board) for carrying out this project.