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1999 - 2000 MINICALENDAR
 Faculty of Arts
 Faculty of Pure and Applied Science

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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. Chamberlin (Statistics).

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.

Our goals

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 future applications, and understand what makes it work,
  • acquire "critical thinking and analytical skills" through problem solving,
  • 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 sciences.

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 Irvine R. 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. The two 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.)

Mathematics contests

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 minicalendar). The 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.

Alan Dow
Chair of the Department

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York University
N520 Ross Building, 4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3
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