Success Maps

Mathematics Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Mathematics in ARTS OR SCIENCE? Saint Mary’s allows students to obtain either a BA or a BSc in mathematics. Which is right for you?

  • It is possible to pursue a BA and a BSc at the same time (in different subjects), though this takes more than four years.
  • Would-be teachers may find a BA with double major in, say, Mathematics and French to be a useful way of getting desirable teachable subjects.
  • To help figure out which program would be right for you, and to learn more about program regulations and information about major and minors, visit your Math Advisor.

Explore SMU’s diverse course offerings, while completing the Basic Arts Requirements.

Refer to the Academic Calendar for required courses, and enroll in MATH 1210 and 1211.

Take CSCI 1226 and CSCI 1227 or CSCI 1228, in your first year.

If your foundational math skills are very strong, consider taking one or two of the required second-year courses: MATH 2301, MATH 2321, and MATH 2305.

If you get a grade below C in a required course, you should retake it to improve your grade. The better attempt will count towards your GPA and prepare you further for future courses.

Need extra help? Visit a peer mentor of the SMarts Advantage Program in room MM214A.

Explore your options for majors and minors by attending the Programs Day across faculties in February.

Register for classes as soon as registration opens. Classes fill early!

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you have the right courses.

Gather information on Co-operative Education opportunities.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Attend all lectures. While the textbook summarizes the material, the instructor will add context and explain techniques.

Come prepared for each lecture by reading the textbook. The syllabus tells you what will be covered. It’s very easy to get behind.

Complete all assignments, even if they are not to be handed in, as in the case of some classes with recitations.

Improve your writing skills at the Writing Centre. Get expert feedback and incorporate it into your work.

Develop research skills by navigating online databases and the stacks at the Patrick Power Library. Take a virtual tour.

Build a résumé at a Résumé Seminar, to prepare for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

Start your Co-Curricular Record. Document your acquired skills from on- and off-campus activities and volunteer work.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Attend Welcome Week. Make friends. Meet classmates, faculty, and advisors at academic orientation. Attend a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

Introduce yourself to your professors after class or during office hours.

Visit the Societies Fair. Explore student societies, including those that are culturally-based, before deciding which to join. In many years, there is a Math/CS Society – look for posters in the Math/CS hallway, 1st floor McNally North.

Try Speak Up!, a program where international students practice speaking English.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities.

Apply for a scholarship. There are more than 260 available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

Learn to budget your money. Attend a Financial Literacy workshop or get advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals, related to your program. Experiment with different classes to see what you like.

When facing a personal crisis, get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider courses with global themes for your electives.

Need a job? Create a HireSMU account to find available jobs.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Keep current with local events. Read Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

Travel while studying after 1st year. Investigate travel options beyond Canada at International Activities.

Obtain or update your passport in preparation for possible international travel.

Not from Canada? Browse Services for International Students for available support.

Attend International Night—an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Take Arts electives during 2nd – 4th years to complete the major requirements.

Complete MATH 2310, MATH 2311, MATH 2301, and MATH 2321 by the end of your 2nd year.

Take Arts electives during 2nd – 4th years to complete the major requirements.

Take at least two additional Mathematics courses. MATH 2303, MATH 2305, and MATH 2308 are obvious possibilities. MATH 2307, MATH 2309, and MATH 2315 are also possible if you have the prerequisites.

Thinking of changing majors or minors? Attend Programs Day for help.

Switching from a BA to a BSc, or vice versa (See above for why you might do this)? Ensure your grades are reasonable and consult with the appropriate Dean.

Visit your Academic Advisor or Math Advisor to be sure you have the right courses and to declare your major in this year.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Develop writing and library skills as they are especially important in higher-level math courses. Your first exposure to these will be through some of your non-math courses that involve research and writing.

Learn various software packages (e.g. Maple, Excel, Minitab, and/or a programming language) and know how to choose the right one for a specific application.

Upgrade your writing with one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

Update your Co-Curricular Record to keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life


If you have very strong marks in your 1st year MATH courses, consider applying for a student grader position in this year or later.

Apply your classroom learning and improve soft skills by joining some student societies.

Consider joining the SMU team for the Science Atlantic Math Contest in October, and the Putnam Contest at the beginning of December. It’s good practice for your later years. Look for notices in the Math Department or ask a professor.

Participate in intramurals. Demonstrate your team skills and character to future employers and admissions officers.

Browse the Scholarship List and modify your cover letter to match the criteria. Apply between February and May.

Need more academic support? Contact Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching.

Seek Career Counselling. Explore the core competencies of your major, and career possibilities related to your strengths, interests, and values.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Discover ways to give back to your community, from local to global. Come to the Volunteer Fair held every September, or speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

Get involved with activities outside of your major and minor. Employers like well-rounded candidates.

Keep your HireSMU Account updated with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

Consider applying for the Co-op Program at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits). Gain work experience over three terms.

Visit the International Activities office for a study-abroad program or an international field study course in 2nd - 4th years.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

If you’ve done several 1000- and 2000-level MATH courses as part of another degree, considering adding a Minor in Mathematics, or even Mathematics as a second major. The skills you develop can be useful in graduate work in other sciences.

Most 3rd and 4th year MATH courses are offered every other year. Don’t pass up opportunities! Speak to the Math Advisor about your courses if you’re in doubt. If you’re planning to do an honours thesis in your final year, take this into account – it will use up two courses worth of your time.

Take 6 credits in MATH at 3000 level or 12 credits in MATH numbered MATH 1216-2303.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with your Faculty Mentor/Department Chair.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Improve your research skills and grades by visiting the Library and using the Research-by-Appointment service for one-on-one help.

Most of your upper level mathematics courses will require you to write proofs. Make sure you understand what this involves. Pay special attention when your instructors do proofs in class.

Visit the Writing Centre offers workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation.

Update your Co-Curricular Record.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Get to know your professors. They are excellent contacts for reference letters. Chat about your future plans for 4th year and beyond.

Attend the Research Expo. Learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors. Also, showcase your own research project.

Run for a leadership position in a campus group.

Apply for over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Focus on summer or internship jobs within your major or career field of interest to gain specific experience and build credentials.

Visit the Career Development Centre for help with tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider attending the Science Atlantic Math/CS meeting in mid-October. If you’ve had a summer research job, consider presenting a talk or poster. Ask a faculty member about it.

Attend the Halifax Career Fair in September and March. Discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

Let your networks know your major. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Explore new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete MATH 4420 and 4441.

Take 6 credits in MATH at 3000 level or 12 credits in MATH numbered MATH 1216-2303.

As in your 3rd year, your course choices will be affected by what is offered that year. Consider your specific area(s) of interest, while transitioning to work or graduate school.

If you have done well in Probability and Statistics courses, consider writing the Society of Actuaries Probability Exam (Exam P).

Is it too late to do an Honours degree? Speak to the Department Chair about your idea, as early in the fall term as possible.

Complete a CAPP Degree Evaluation in Banner.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Discuss SMU graduate opportunities.

Contact your Academic Advisor and Faculty Mentor/Department Chair to ensure you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

Apply to graduate. Fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Get your picture taken for the yearbook.

Consider graduate schools or professional programs. Start early, and ask your professors and the Writing Centre to review your personal statement, cover letter, and applications.

Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

There are many jobs with strong connections to Mathematics, such as Statistics and Actuarial Science. If you are interested in any of any of these, make sure to develop these related foundational skills and knowledge.

Before you graduate, do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record, and request an official copy.

Visit Career Services to prepare to clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Serve as Department Student Rep. Speak to your Department Chair.

Consider joining the SMU team for the Science Atlantic math contest in October, and for the Putnam contest at the beginning of December. Look for notices in the Math Department or ask a professor.

Enter your best research paper for the Academic Writing Awards.

Get recognized for your involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. Apply for the Student Leadership Award.

Apply for other awards, including the SMUFU scholarship.

Brush up on your Financial Literacy. Receive guidance for a successful and healthy financial future, including student loan repayment.

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Use Career Counselling to discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Plan to attend Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

If you have done a research project in a course or over the summer, consider presenting a paper at the Science Atlantic conference.

Be prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, to maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

In addition to the Halifax Career Fair, attend some career fairs specific to your program. Bring your résumé. Prepare in advance to speak with recruiters and potential employers.

Apply for the Halifax Connector program. Meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

If you are a co-op student, arrange for your final work term placement early.

Are you an international student interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status? Contact the International Centre.

Get in contact with the SMU Young Alumni Association to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember, you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. Use these services to help you continue to get the most out of your degree.