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Why should students take mathematics courses?

From Lee Rainwater, Professor of Sociology (retired), Harvard University, in a letter to the president of the University of Rochester regarding their decision to cut back the math program:

"Mathematics has come to play an ever larger role in the social sciences. Often our best students are persons who began their college work as mathematics majors. When their interests move to social science they bring those skills to bear in original and fruitful ways. Good training in mathematics has become more and more important as a factor in the selection of graduate students in all of the social sciences, not just economics.

Over time it is likely that the absence of a graduate program will chip away at the spirit of the department with deleterious effects on the ability of the faculty to instill in students the kind of enthusiasm for the subject that can pay off for their work in whatever field they chose. In the social sciences as in the physical and biological sciences one wants students who enjoy mathematical and statistical reasoning, not treat such work as a chore."


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