Mathematical Thinking & Visualization

The Mathematical Thinking & Visualization major is no longer accepting new students

Beginning Autumn 2024 Quarter, the MTV major will be changing its name to Data Visualization. With this name change, degree requirements will be changing. An updated website will be posted in Spring Quarter with the new program and degree requirements. Please contact an IAS Academic Advisor for questions.


On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives | Faculty & Staff | Courses

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Do courses like Visual Communication and Geographic Information Systems sound exciting to you? Do you want to explore a career in Data Analysis, Data Visualization, or Information System Management?

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The Mathematical Thinking & Visualization (MTV) major at the University of Washington Bothell offers students the opportunity to develop new practices and tools for discovering, analyzing, and representing data. The MTV major allows students to link the ability to recognize mathematical forms in relation to real-world problems and the ability to communicate and think about data in visualized form across contexts.


Students in the Mathematical Thinking & Visualization major are passionate about interacting with data and technology to solve problems or understand concerns. MTV students enjoy communicating to others through the creative presentation of information and quantitative research.


Courses in the Mathematical Thinking & Visualization major prepare students to create graphic representations of problems and data sets, and communicate this information to others. Students gain an understanding of data science through hands-on classroom experience.


Using their background in Mathematical Thinking & Visualization, graduates in this major help make future decisions through the effective use of data. Students in the major find work as data and business analysts, marketing managers, or communication strategists.

Major requirements

Recommended preparation

Interested in exploring this major but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • CSS 107 Introduction to Programming through Animated Storytelling
  • CSS 142 Computer Programming I
  • CSS 143 Computer Programming II
  • B IMD 250 Introduction to Interaction Design
  • STMATH 125 Calculus II


In addition to the general admission requirements, students must have completed the following prerequisites to be considered for admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Thinking & Visualization:

  • one quarter of calculus (min 2.0 grade)
    • STMATH 124 Calculus 1
    • MATH 124 Calculus 2
    • B MATH 144 Calculus for Life Sciences (does not satisfy prerequisite for STMATH 125: Calculus 2)
  • One quarter of statistics (min 2.0 grade)
    • BIS 215 Understanding Statistics
    • B BUS 215 Business Statistics
    • B MATH 215 Health Statistics
    • STAT 220 Statistical Reasoning

Degree requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry* – min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • BIS 232 Data Visualization (5 credits)
  • BIS 231 Linear Algebra or STMATH 208 Matrix Algebra (5 credits)
  • MTV: ART- Understanding Art Forms (5 credits)
  • MTV: MR- Mathematical Reasoning Courses (10 credits)
  • MTV: VPM- Visualization Practice and Methods Courses (10 credits)
  • Mathematical Reasoning Course OR Visualization Practice and Methods Course (5 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone – min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)

TOTAL = 70 Credits
*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.
Note: Classes in this major will be offered primarily during day-time hours.

Learning objectives

In addition to major-specific learning objectives, undergraduate students in all majors within Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) focus on five core learning objectives.

  1. Acquire critical competence in different ways to address real-world, quantitative concerns and to find solutions that are both efficient and equitable.
  2. Learn to apply statistical and mathematical tools and critique their applications, including building and evaluating arguments based on quantitative data.
  3. Generate reliable data and choose appropriate methods to apply to a given data set.
  4. Gain experience creating visual representations of problems and data, and communicate these ideas, results, and analyses in multiple formats.
  5. Learn to work in interdisciplinary teams to communicate and to understand a range of issues, especially those around social and planetary justice, that have quantitative underpinnings.
  6. Synthesize quantitative research with other ways of knowing.



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A. Understanding Art Forms (MTV: ART)

Students will choose one course that allows them to explore visual art forms or design as a means to communicate information to an audience.

  • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
  • BIS 236 Introduction to Interactive Media
  • BISIA 250 Photography as Art
  • BIS 319 Public Arts and Ecological Restoration
  • BISIA 319 Interdisciplinary Arts
  • BISIA 342 Materials and Meanings
  • BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art
  • BIS 372 Representation, Colonialism, and the Tropical World
  • BIS 385 Art and Climate Change

B. Mathematical Reasoning Courses (MTV:MR)

Students will choose at least two courses that will help them develop the mathematical tools gained in their prerequisite and core courses. This list will evolve as curricula across UW Bothell change; courses in this category explicitly study mathematical principles. That emphasis is manifest in their readings, assignments, and evaluation. This criterion does not exclude courses with substantial application, but a student finishing a course in this category should be able to reflect critically on the mathematical principles learned, in a way that aids their thoughtful application elsewhere.

  • BIS 302 Issues in Mathematics Across Cultures
  • BIS 329 Topics in Mathematics Across the Curriculum
  • BIS 411 Network Analysis & Visualization
  • BIS 447 Topics in Quantitative Inquiry
  • CSS 107 Intro to Programming through Animated Storytelling
  • CSS 142 Computer Programming I
  • CSS 143 Computer Programming II
  • STMATH 125 Calculus II
  • STMATH 126 Calculus III
  • STMATH 300 Foundations of Modern Mathematics
  • STMATH 310 Mathematical Game Theory

C. Visualization Practice and Methods Courses (MTV:VPM)

Students will choose at least two courses that extend their capacities in visualization and communication. Visualization practices and methods may include modeling and tools for exploring and examining data sets. It includes interactive presentation through the simultaneous display of multimedia data such as numbers, words, and images, and informal modes of communication, along with polished presentations to specific audiences. Courses in this category develop means of representing, and critically examining data and arguments.

  • BEARTH 201 Mapping the Earth System
  • BES 440 Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • BIS 218 The Power of Maps
  • BIS 342 Geographic Information Systems
  • BIS 343 Geographic Visualization
  • BIS 344 Intermediate Geographic Analysis and Applications
  • BIS 352 Mapping Communities
  • BIS 382 The Visual Art of Biology
  • BIS 412 Advanced Data Visualization 
  • BIS 442 Advanced GIS Analysis and Applications
  • BISMCS 473 Visual Communication
  • B IMD 233 Fundamentals of Web Media Technology
  • B IMD 250 Intro to Interaction Design

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