FAQs

General FAQS

FAQs for Northwestern First-Year Students Applying to Enter MMSS as Sophomores

General FAQs

Is the program very competitive?
Students in the program work hard together and are very supportive of one another. Each new class develops a strong sense of community. The main goal is for students to achieve their "personal best."

How many students enroll?
Each incoming class is approximately 60 students.

Can I defer my admission to MMSS?

No, admission offers only pertain to the fall quarter immediately following acceptance.  Students who decide to defer their entry to Northwestern or go on military leave of absence after their first year must resubmit an application to MMSS by March 1 (first-year entry) or April 1 (sophomore entry) preceding the fall of their return.

Who helps MMSS students plan their double majors?
The MMSS director, Proffesor Jeff Ely, is the advisor to all students in the program.  In addition, all incoming first-year students have a designated MMSS advisor for one quarter to help them with the adjustment to MMSS and NU.  When students select their second major they will also have an advisor in that department.

Are there opportunities to meet students who are not in MMSS?
Definitely. During the first two years, only two of the four classes each quarter are MMSS classes. Students develop a wide network of friends in various departments through their other classes and their own outside interests.

Does MMSS allow time for electives?
Yes. Most of the social science departments have special arrangements for MMSS students that reduce the number of courses required in the major, and MMSS students receive credit toward some Weinberg College distribution requirements. Thus, MMSS students have about the same number of electives as other students. For example, it is possible for students entering MMSS as first-year students to spend their junior year abroad and still complete all MMSS, social science, and general distribution requirements in four years.

FAQs for Northwestern First-Year Students Applying to Enter MMSS as Sophomores

Do I have to be in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to apply to the MMSS program?

No, students from any of the other schools within NU (McCormick SESP, etc.) are welcome to apply to MMSS. If accepted, you will fulfill your MMSS degree requirements in addition to your “home” school requirements. Your other non-MMSS major will then be a major offered by your home school.

What math courses do you recommend that I take as a first-year student to prepare myself to enter MMSS?

If you took a full year of calculus in high school you should consider taking one of the first year mathematics sequences that is equivalent to the first year MMSS mathematics sequence. (See the two following questions for details.) This will allow you to directly enter into the second year MMSS math sequence as a sophomore. If you did not take a full year of calculus in high school, you should take Math 220 and Math 224 to prepare to take the first year MMSS mathematics sequence.

I am not in the School of Engineering and would like to take one of the first year mathematics sequences that substitute for the first year MMSS math sequence so that I can directly enter into the second year MMSS math sequence when I join the program. Which of the sequences do you recommend and why?

Students not in the School of Engineering have three choices of mathematics sequences. These are: Math 230/234/240, Math 290-1,2,3 and Math 291-1,2,3. Although all three sequences in principle cover the same material, the sequences cover the material at different levels of depth and difficulty. Math 230/234/240 is the least difficult and is a standard calculus linear algebra sequence oriented towards problem solving. Math 290-1,2,3 is still a standard calculus linear algebra sequence oriented towards problem-solving but considers more challenging problems. Math 291-1,2,3 is the most difficult course and is more abstract and proof-oriented and also considers more challenging problems. Math 290-1,2,3 is relatively similar to the first-year MMSS math sequence and would be a good choice for students less interested in abstract mathematics. For students with a keen interest in mathematics, Math 291-1,2,3 would be the best choice.

Admission decisions are based both on the level of difficulty of courses that a student takes as well as his/her performance in these courses. Therefore it is possible that taking a more challenging sequence but earning a lower grade could weaken rather than strengthen an application. We routinely admit students that perform strongly in any of the three sequences.

I am in the School of Engineering and I would like to take one of the first year mathematics sequences that substitute for the first-year MMSS math sequence so that I can directly enter into the second year MMSS math sequence when I join the program. Which of the sequences do you recommend and why?

Students in the School of Engineering have two choices of mathematics sequences. These are: Math 230/234/Gen Eng 205-1 and ESAPPM 252-1,2/ Gen Eng 206-1. Although both sequences in principle cover the same material the latter sequence covers the material in more depth, considers harder problems and is more proof-oriented. Math 230/234/Gen Eng 205-1 would be a good choice for students less interested in abstract mathematics. For students with a keen interest in mathematics, ESAPPM 252-1,2/Gen Eng 206-1 would be the best choice.

Admission decisions are based both on the level of difficulty of courses that a student takes as well as his/her performance in these courses. Therefore it is possible that taking a more challenging sequence but earning a lower grade could weaken rather than strengthen an application. We routinely admit students that perform strongly in either of the two sequences.

Are there any probability or statistics courses that I should take to prepare to enter the MMSS program?

The second year MMSS mathematics sequence is devoted to probability, statistics, and econometrics. Although it in principle starts from the ground up, it is a fast-paced challenging course and students wishing to engage in some extra preparation might consider taking Statistics 210 and possibly also Economics 281 to be better prepared for this sequence.

Are there any economics courses that I should take to prepare to enter the MMSS program?

The first course in the MMSS course sequence, MMSS 211-1, which we fondly refer to as “turbo microeconomics” covers the material that is normally covered in both introductory microeconomics (Econ 202) and intermediate microeconomics (Econ 310-1.) The course is designed to be taken by students with no previous training in economics. However, since it is a fast-paced and challenging course, students wishing to engage in some extra preparation for this course might consider taking Econ 202 as a first-year student before entering the MMSS program. If students take Econ 202 they are still required to take MMSS 211-1. If students take Econ 310-1 as a first-year student, they are not required to take MMSS 211-1. The MMSS program does not teach or require any macroeconomics.

Are there any other courses that I should take to prepare to enter the MMSS program?

Other than the courses discussed above, there are no other specific courses that we recommend that you take to prepare to enter the MMSS program. You should take introductory courses in your other intended major(s), take courses to explore new areas, and work on fulfilling your distribution requirements. Although the MMSS program provides superb training in mathematics and analytic thinking, it provides very little opportunity to improve writing skills. Therefore students should consider taking courses that involve writing in order to complement the training that they will receive in the MMSS program.

I still have a few more questions about the MMSS program. What should I do next?

Please contact the MMSS office. The program assistant can answer questions and also let you know the director’s office hours so that you can meet with him if you like.