To all York students
Welcome to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Whether you
are majoring in one of our programmes, taking a course required by another
programme, or taking a course for general interest, we want first to
help you to learn mathematics and statistics and second to help you to
enjoy the challenge of doing so. The faculty members in the Department
value both the beauty and the utility of their discipline. They are
dedicated to exploring and developing new ideas in mathematics and
statistics, and to helping you to explore, understand, appreciate and
make use of those ideas. Ideas are much more than facts, harder to
acquire, but infinitely more valuable.
This Minicalendar is intended to help you with the practical side of
your studies, in particular to help you choose the programmes and
courses best suited to your needs and interests. Much effort has
gone into making it accurate, and it contains information not
available elsewhere. The programme checklists towards the back of
this publication lay out our department's programme requirements
perhaps more clearly than any other York document.
Please also consult the "official, legally
binding" regulations in the York
Undergraduate Programmes Calendar, at http://www.yorku.ca.
To maintain the broadest possible selection of courses for our
upper-level students, in the face of provincial cutbacks, we offer
some courses jointly with Atkinson College; hence, some classes meet
in the evening. Some of the introductory courses will have
quite large enrolments, and we urge you to take advantage of the
MathStat Lab (S525 Ross) and your tutorials, if available, as these
will provide some of the individual attention you may require.
Achieving your goals in our courses and programmes will require your
constant and active participation in them.
The Department is especially keen to welcome students choosing to
major in one of our many excellent programmes, through either the
Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science. I urge
you to stay in touch with your Professors and ask about student clubs
and how you can get involved. Our diversity of degree programmes is
designed to be flexible in response to the many differing interests
and career aspirations of our students. These programmes are outlined
on pages 7 to 10 (more precise details of academic requirements can
be found towards the back of this minicalendar). We would like to hear
from you if you are unsure as to which programme best suits you,
if you are contemplating a change, or simply if you feel some advice
would be helpful.
Where to go for help
The Department's faculty and staff members will be pleased to offer
you their assistance. Questions concerning your programme, or
enrolment in courses, are best handled by the Undergraduate Programme
Offices. Arts and Science students may contact Janice Grant or
Antonietta Della Pia Vian in N502 Ross (736-5902), Monday-Friday,
10:30-noon and 1-3 p.m. Science students
may also contact Gillian Moore in 122 Petrie (736-5248),
Monday-Thursday, 9-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Should you
need further advice on academic matters, please ask for an
appointment, through one of the Undergraduate Office staff, with one
of the Undergraduate Programme Directors: M. Abramson (Mathematics,
Mathematics for Commerce); J. van Rensburg (Applied Mathematics); S.
You will find that your teaching assistants, instructors,
and course Coordinators are eager to help when you encounter a
problem in a course. Do not wait until you encounter a problem with
a grade in a course; contact your instructor for help or advice
before that happens. Appointments with faculty members are
sometimes made through the department's Main Office in N520 Ross
(736-5250) or the Undergraduate Programme Office in 122 Petrie
(736-5248). Appointments to see me can be made with the Secretary to
the Chair in N522 Ross (ext. 22555). Most Department members are
quite happy to correspond with you by e-mail.
You may find that a variety of teaching methods are used in your
mathematics and statistics courses. But whatever methods may be used,
faculty members have some common goals and you should be aware that
they are consistent with your goals. They want to help you to
- learn the basic materials of the course and their applications,
- understand how this basic material was developed with a view to
and understand what makes it work,
- acquire "critical thinking and analytical skills" through problem
- prepare for careers in areas where a sound understanding of
mathematics or statistics is fundamental,
- develop the ability and desire to pursue knowledge independently,
- understand the power and elegance of abstract reasoning, and
- appreciate the role of mathematics in human culture and the
Prizes and awards
The Department offers several attractive prizes and awards for
outstanding achievements in mathematics and statistics courses.
Faculty members have contributed substantially to some of these.
The Chair's Honour Roll
was introduced in 1989/90, and is displayed in the
halls of the Department. It shows the names of students with high
grade point average over all Departmental courses taken in the year of
the award (at least two full-course equivalents must be taken,
exclusive of courses with second digit 5). A g.p.a. of at least 7.5 is
required for students who take at least 18 credits in the Department,
and 8.0 for those who take 12-15 credits. Students on the Roll receive
a certificate and a copy of the Roll.
The "best" student in each of the year-levels 2, 3, and 4 in a
Departmental programme is selected by a Departmental Committee.
Their names are displayed permanently, as winners of the
Pounder Award. Professor Pounder was one of the two founding members
of the Department, and the award was established by the Department in
1990-91 on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
Alice Turner Awards (with a monetary prize), donated by
Professor Alice W. Turner, the other founding member, and her
friends, are awarded to outstanding Faculty of Arts majors in a
Departmental degree programme, one to a third-year graduating
candidate, and one to a fourth-year honours-degree or combined
honours-degree candidate. The
Moshe Shimrat Prizes are awarded from
a fund established in memory of Dr. Moshe Shimrat, a former faculty
member, by his family and friends. The fund is used to make awards
to students in university and secondary school for interest and
demonstrated ability in mathematical problem-solving. The G.R.
Wallace Scholarship is named in honour of the late G.R. Wallace, who
was Senior Vice-President and Chief Actuary of the Zurich Life
Insurance Company at the time of his death, and is donated by his
friends and family. This substantial scholarship is awarded annually
to an outstanding student in an honours programme in the Department
of Mathematics and Statistics who has demonstrated an interest in
pursuing an actuarial career. To be established is the
Linda Herskowitz Bursary,
in memory of Linda Herskowitz, a long-time staff member of the
Department. Amounts will be awarded to students on the basis of
criteria which include both academic merit and demonstrated
financial need. (The Department may decide not to give
out all prizes and awards in some years.)
There are two international mathematics contests open to undergraduate
students. One, called the Putnam Examination, involves attempting to
solve a number of challenging mathematics problems during an all-day
examination late in the fall term (see p. 6 in the hard copy
other, called The Mathematical Contest in Modelling, involves being on
a team of students who have a weekend to develop a mathematical model
for some applied problem. In both cases, practice sessions will be
held under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students who
participate in the practice sessions and the examinations find the
latter to be hard but enjoyable. They get to work on the problems for
the challenge, without having to think about grades. Announcements
about these contests will be made in classes and posted in the
Math/Stat Common Room (N537 Ross) at the appropriate times.
We invite you to test your skills.
I wish you success in your studies.
Chair of the Department