Biomathematical Sciences Program

The goal of this program is to create educational structures that help Five College students become scientifically multilingual in fields of life and quantitative sciences by providing the means for each student to trace their own intentional pathway across the disciplines.

The daunting complexities of biological phenomena from neurological development to ecosystem carbon fluxes require development of new modeling and analytic approaches. Sorting through potential mechanisms and patterns to develop testable hypotheses requires collaboration between life science investigators and mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists.

Cutting edge life science research increasingly involves such collaborations, but researchers are too often stymied by the different languages of their disciplines. The goal of this program is to create educational structures that help Five College students become scientifically multilingual in fields of life and quantitative sciences by providing the means for each student to trace their own intentional pathway across the disciplines.

The Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences is currently available to students at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, and courses in the program are available to all students enrolled at one of the five campuses through the Five College Course Interchange.

On This Page

Nicole DelRosso working in a lab

Engaged Alumni

Learn how Hampshire College alum Nicole DelRosso engaged with Biomathematical Sciences while a student at the Five Colleges!

dorothy wrinch in the smith mobile

Dorothy Wrinch: The First Biomathematician in the Valley

The Four College Biomathematics Program, begun in 2011, allows the colleges of the Pioneer Valley to work together across many scientific disciplines. This, however, is not the first biomathematics collaboration in the college consortium. The first experiment with intercollege cooperation in any field began 70 years earlier, with the appointment of Dorothy Wrinch in 1941 to teach courses on molecular biology at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges. In her words, the effort was “the first of its kind to be given in any center of higher education.”

Certificate Requirements

The Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences is currently available to students enrolled at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges.

A minimum of six courses and a research experience are required. In addition to an introductory and capstone biomathematical sciences courses, students are expected to take courses complementing their major. Students with majors in the quantitative sciences (mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, and physics) are expected to take courses in the life sciences (biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, chemistry, etc.) and students with majors in the life sciences are expected to take courses in the quantitative sciences for the certificate. A biomathematical science research experience is also an essential component of the certificate, to provide an experience outside the classroom.

In summary, to qualify for the Five College Certificate in Biomathematical Sciences, students must complete the following:

  • One gateway course: an entry level biomath course to introduce current research questions and foundational skills
  • 4 courses in the life sciences if you are majoring in a quantitative science, or 4 courses in the quantitative sciences if you are majoring in a life science
  • A capstone course in biomathematical or biostatistical methods or an honors thesis in a biomathematical sciences topic
  • A research experience of one summer (or equivalent) with a team of life and mathematical science mentors

The gateway course should contain some basic programming skills and examples in biology. Courses that students have used include Frontiers in Biomathematics (Smith, IDP 170), Modeling in the Sciences (Smith, MTH 205), and Mathematical Modeling (Amherst, Math 140). At least 2 of the 4 courses that complement the major should be upper level courses. Hybrid courses, e.g., computational biology, bioinformatics, biostatistics, can count toward either life sciences or quantitative sciences. To explore the certificate program, please contact your campus certificate advisor or the current program director.

Courses

Spring 2023 Biomathematics Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
COSC 247 01 Machine Learning Lee Spector Amherst College TU/TH | 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
COSC 452 01 Sem: Evolutionary Comp Lee Spector Amherst College TU/TH | 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM
MATH 140 01 Mathematical Modeling Katherine Moore Amherst College M/W/F | 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM
MATH 272 01 Linear Algebra W Applicat Katherine Moore Amherst College M/W/F | 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
STAT 230 01 Intermediate Statistics Shu-Min Liao Amherst College TU/TH | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
STAT 230 02 Intermediate Statistics Nicholas Horton Amherst College TU/TH | 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
STAT 231 01 Data Science Katharine Correia Amherst College TU/TH | 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM
STAT 231 02 Data Science Katharine Correia Amherst College TU/TH | 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
BIOL 234 01 Biostatistics Justin Baumann Mount Holyoke College MW 10:00AM-11:15AM
BIOL 234L 01 Biostatistics Lab Justin Baumann Mount Holyoke College T 01:30PM-04:20PM
BIOL 234L 02 Biostatistics Lab Justin Baumann Mount Holyoke College TH 01:30PM-04:20PM
MATH 203 01 Calculus III Timothy Chumley Mount Holyoke College MWF 10:00AM-11:15AM
MATH 203 02 Calculus III Anastasiia Minenkova Mount Holyoke College MWF 03:15PM-04:30PM
MATH 211 01 Linear Algebra Derek Young Mount Holyoke College MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM
MATH 211 02 Linear Algebra Derek Young Mount Holyoke College MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM
MATH 211 03 Linear Algebra Samantha Kirk Mount Holyoke College MWF 03:15PM-04:30PM
MATH 339PT 01 Optimization Dylan Shepardson Mount Holyoke College TTH 10:30AM-11:45AM
MATH 342 01 Probability Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel Mount Holyoke College MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM
STAT 140 01 Intro Ideas/Applic Statistics Pramesh Subedi Mount Holyoke College MWF 08:30AM-09:45AM
STAT 140 02 Intro Ideas/Applic Statistics Pramesh Subedi Mount Holyoke College MWF 10:00AM-11:15AM
STAT 140 03 Intro Ideas/Applic Statistics Isabelle Beaudry Mount Holyoke College MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM
STAT 242 01 Intermediate Statistics Laurie Tupper Mount Holyoke College MWF 10:00AM-11:15AM
STAT 242 02 Intermediate Statistics Pramesh Subedi Mount Holyoke College MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM
STAT 340 01 Applied Regression Methods Isabelle Beaudry Mount Holyoke College MWF 08:30AM-09:45AM
CSC 205 01 Modeling in the Sciences Christophe Golé Smith College M W F 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM
EGR 351 01 Sem: Intro to Biomedical Engin Sarah Jean Moore Smith College TU TH 9:25 AM - 10:40 AM
EGR 373 01 Sem: Skeletal Biomechanics Borjana Mikic Smith College TU TH 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
MTH 205 01 Modeling in the Sciences Christophe Golé Smith College M W F 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM
MTH 364ds 01 T-DynamicalSystems,Chaos Becca Thomases Smith College TU TH 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
SDS 290 01 Research Design & Analysis Scott J. LaCombe Smith College TU TH 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Contact Us

Amherst College Certificate Advisor:

Tanya Leise, Brian Boyle Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science, Amherst College

Mount Holyoke College Certificate Advisor:

Martha HoopesProfessor of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College

Smith College Certificate Advisor:

Christophe GoléProfessor of Mathematics & Statistics, Smith College

Five College Staff Liaison:

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs