Mathematical Experience for Northwestern Undergraduates (MENU) is a flexible program of courses designed to provide qualified undergraduates with a thorough foundation in mathematics suitable for advanced study in mathematics and its applications across a wide range of disciplines.
MENU offers students an opportunity to expand their mathematical knowledge while retaining flexibility about their majors. MENU is especially well suited for students considering a major in mathematics, the natural sciences or economics, although MENU attracts participants with a variety of interests and majors.
Read the MENU FAQ.
During the first year MENU participants typically enroll in one of two yearlong sequences: Math 290-1,2,3 or Math 291-1,2,3. Each provides a strong background in linear algebra and multivariable calculus. In contrast to standard mathematics courses, Math 290 and Math 291 first develop linear algebra and then apply it to the study of multivariable calculus.
Math 291-1,2,3 emphasizes theory and proofs and is appropriate for students who are particularly skilled in and passionate about mathematics. Students in Math 291 have typically earned a score of 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus BC examination. Students may transfer between 290 to 291 with permission from the Director of MENU.
Math 290 meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from Noon to 12:50 p.m., with a required discussion section on either Tuesday or Thursday at the same hour. Math 291 meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon to 12:50 p.m., with a required discussion section on either Tuesday or Thursday at the same hour. If you are an incoming student interested in MENU, then be sure to leave one of those time slots free on your ranked list of first-year seminars.
After the first year MENU participants may choose among the three upper-level MENU sequences described below, or may enroll in other advanced courses in the department.
- Math 360-1,2 MENU: Applied Analysis is a two-quarter sequence in ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations and Fourier analysis with an emphasis on applications and mathematical modeling. Students use a software application such as Maple®, Mathematica® or MATLAB® to analyze models chosen from physics, biology, chemistry and economic.
- Math 311-1,2,3 MENU: Probability and Stochastic Processes is a three-quarter sequence in probability and stochastic processes requiring background in calculus but not measure theory. The first quarter is a careful introduction to probability spaces, random variables, independence, distributions, and generating functions culminating in the Central Limit Theorem. The second and third quarters largely concern stochastic processes including Markov chains, stationary processes, martingales, and diffusion processes.
- Math 321-1,2,3 MENU: Real Analysis is an intensive sequence in metric space topology, advanced calculus, and Lebesgue measure and integration. Students carefully develop limits, continuity, differentiation and integration from a deep understanding of the real number system.
- Math 331-1,2,3 MENU: Abstract Algebra is a challenging sequence in group theory, ring theory and Galois theory, the mathematics arising from Fermat's last theorem and problems of classical antiquity such as squaring the circle and trisecting the angle.
Beyond the Courses
During their junior and senior years, MENU participants choose course work to satisfy the requirements of their majors, which might be mathematics, a field to which mathematics can be applied, or something entirely unrelated to mathematics.
MENU participants can enroll in 300- and 400-level mathematics courses to complete a major or minor in Mathematics. Advanced MENU participants might engage in independent study with a faculty member on a project of mutual interest. Such a project may lead to a senior thesis, an important component in earning departmental honors.
Beyond Northwestern, MENU participants often pursue advanced degrees or careers in finance, law, social policy, management, or the sciences that employ their mathematical skills. Recruiters in many fields value a solid background in mathematics.