Information about academic year 2020-21

This page is specifically about changes affecting the academic year 2020-21 in the math department. More general information can be found in the FAS FAQ

Answers to other math-related questions may be located in our Math major FAQ or our Calculus and placement exam FAQ

If you have questions about next year that are not addressed here, e-mail Miki.

Current topics, with last edit date in parentheses: 

Course offering

Our curriculum is being affected by a number of factors. We will strive to offer all courses that are essential to the curriculum, and we will try to limit changes altogether – but some alterations have been inevitable, and more may occur, as the situation develops.

Note that it may take a while before changes are reflected in the Yale system, including the online course search. The most-up-to-date information will be listed here. So far:

  • Calculus section times and instructors are yet to be decided - see the note below this list for more detail. 
  • Math 270a has had an instructor and time change: it is now MW 9 - 10:15am, taught by Professor Yifeng Liu. 
  • Math 116a is moved to Spring. Its time is now TTh 1 - 2:15pm (Aug.2)
  • Math 121b is cancelled.
  • One section of Math 222b is cancelled. 
  • Math 440a is cancelled. 
  • Math 435b changed time to TTh 1pm.  (Aug.1)
  • Math 480b section 2 changed time to MW 9am. (Aug.1)

Extra note about calculus sections

At the moment, OCS does not list instructors for calculus sections. This year, the setup of the courses will be closer to having discussion sessions rather than lectures in the sections - and we wanted to have maximum flexibility to pick the meeting times based on student input. We have, therefore, scheduled many more calculus meeting times than we plan to offer. Once we see which times are requested by students in preference selection, we will decide which sections will actually be offered, and who will teach them. I realize this will not allow you to select your instructor, but we thought that the flexibility was crucial this year, to accommodate student schedules, time zones, and other constraints in this unusual situation. 

Course descriptions

We are working on our course descriptions. We are required to post these by August 7, in time for pre-registration to begin.

I know that you are all anxious to find out exactly how each of your potential courses will run, and we are doing our best to sort everything out and post the information as soon as possible. (It is stressful for us as well, trust me …)

Summer 2021 offering

We expect to offer the usual courses (112, 115, 118, 120). For next summer in particular, we are also considering offering linear algebra (222 and possibly 225). More information to come. 

Returning students and advising this year

Details about our advising system in general can be found in our FAQ

July 22: I’m running adviser lottery now. By July 31, I will e-mail (a) all newly declared majors who are in year 2+, to let them know their adviser assignment, and (b) all continuing majors, to confirm their existing assignment (or change it, if the adviser is unavailable). 

I know that some of you are considering taking time off. I will give / keep an adviser assignment for you anyway, so that you can stay connected to the department, talk to someone about your options, about classes for when you come back, etc.
As always, Professor Yifeng Liu and myself remain available to all of you for technical questions about requirements, or anything else that you need. 

First year students and Math 230-231

Incoming students, who are thinking of taking a semester off in the Spring, are encouraged to consider the parallel sequence of Math 120-225-250, as it is more flexible, with all three courses offered both semesters. (If you have already taken multivariable calculus, you may be able to start directly with Math 225, upon consultation with the DUS.)

For students who enroll in Math 230 and are not able to continue in the Spring, we will likely offer a section of Math 231 in the Fall of 2021.

Fall gap semester and two-term sequences

Several second-year students have asked about taking a gap semester in the Fall. This is a very individual decision; the DUS and/or your adviser would be happy to help you think about your options.

General note: Math (and other) two-term sequences often begin in the Fall. A Fall gap semester may restrict your schedule in the Spring, and postpone some coursework for a full year. This could be completely fine, depending on your plans – it’s just something to consider.

[Note that Math 250 and 350 are now offered both semesters.]

I have been asked whether it’s possible to skip the first semester of a two-term sequence, and enroll in the second course without mastering the full content of the first. At the moment, I’d answer this way:

230-231: No.
310-315: No.
350-370: No.
[These sequences are basically year-long courses.]

300/301-305: This may be possible for ambitious students with strong background who are willing to do extra work.
320-325: Same note. 
[In these two sequences, the connection between material of the first and the second is a bit more loose.]

Extra note: the real analysis sequence (from 230 to 325) is being redesigned. Substantial changes may take place a year from now, particularly for the introductory sequences. This coming year, only minor tweaking will occur, to align the courses better.  

Gap semester and tutoring jobs

The university recently announced that we may, in fact, hire students who are taking a gap semester / year, provided that certain conditions are met. 

For students who already received job offers from us (ULA’s and peer tutors): We are doing what we can to see if we may hire all of you as planned. 

For students who are planning to apply for our jobs (graders and private tutors): We are required to give priority to enrolled students who live on campus. After that, we can hire others as well. 

Remote jobs 

Private tutors, peer tutors, and ULA’s will be able to perform their work remotely, whether from home or from an on-campus location (so long as they are enrolled, see above).

It may be possible for some tutoring to take place in person; we await guidance from the university on this. But we can say already that (a) many tutoring sessions will have to be remote, for students who cannot participate in person, and (b) every tutor who prefers to work remotely will be able to do so.

Application is now open for Fall math grading position. We are required to give priority to enrolled students, but everyone is welcome to apply. Grading will be done online. The deadline for applying is August 14.