The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers programs of study in pure and applied mathematics which help to prepare students for graduate education in mathematical sciences, natural sciences, economics, or engineering. Many mathematics majors pursue careers in business, industry, or finance immediately upon graduation or combine their major with pre-law or pre-med programs. The department offers a sequence in Computer Science which is described in its own section of this catalog. All prospective mathematics students are encouraged to seek the advice of department faculty in selecting their courses and in choosing one of the three programs within the major: pure, applied, or general mathematics.
The program in pure mathematics is a natural centerpiece of a liberal arts education. It provides a training ground for formal reasoning and critical thinking and prepares students who may pursue an advanced degree. The major achieves breadth by exposing students to three basic components of mathematical thought: analysis, geometry and algebra. Depth in the major is achieved by further exploration of at least one of these areas.
The program in applied mathematics also provides a liberal arts view while taking a practically oriented approach. The major helps to prepare students for a wide variety of technically demanding careers as well as for advanced study in the sciences or engineering. Taken together with the Scientific Modeling sequence offered by the Keck Science Department, the applied math major provides solid preparation for further study in statistics or computational science.
The general mathematics program allows for more flexibility in choices of electives and lets students see an array of mathematical points of view. Students who might want to teach at the K-12 level or who may enter the actuarial profession will be well served by the general major, but those considering graduate study in mathematics should choose the pure or applied option. Within the framework of the general major, it is also possible to place emphasis on computer science while still obtaining a broad overview of mathematics. Students who wish to combine a mathematics major with a sequence or major in computer science should work with department faculty to tailor an appropriate program of study.
All new students will have the opportunity to attend a mathematics and computer science information session during orientation. This session occurs prior to registration and will assist students with determining the appropriate level of mathematics or computer science courses they should enroll in at the college.
Primary Contact: Professor Sam Nelson, Department Chair