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Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics and Statistics | Courses | Faculty


1622 Lederle GRC Towers

Degrees: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Jon L. Sicks

Office: 1623C Lederle GRC Towers

Phone: 545-0510

Head of Department: Professor Donald F. St. Mary. Associate Head: Professor Jon L. Sicks; Administrative Coordinator: Lecturer Arline Norkin. Professors Avrunin, Berger, Buonaccorsi, Cattani, Connors, Cook, Eisenberg, Ellis, Fogarty, Gardner, Geman, Hayes, Horowitz, Hsieh, Humphreys, Kaplan, Knightly, Korwar, M-C Ku, Kusner, Liu, Manes, Meeks, Mirkovic, Norman, Rosenkrantz, Stockton, Turkington, Williams; Associate Professors Borrego, Katsoulakis, Pedit, Rudvalis, Whitaker; Assistant Professors Braden, Feng, Gunnells, Kevrekidis, Markman, Nahm, Raphael, Sebastiani, Sommers, Sottile, Staudenmayer, Tsimikas, Wong, Young; Visiting Assistant Professors Anderson, Caldararu, Hukovic, Reid, Stanislavova, Stefanov, Warrington, Witherspoon, Xia, Xu.

The Field

Mathematics has traditionally been used to solve problems in science and engineering. Nowadays, its methods and techniques pervade almost every aspect of modern life, and individuals trained in mathematical sciences are much in demand throughout the country.

Sophisticated mathematics called "tomography" is used to construct the pictures in CAT and MRI scans, the revolutionary new diagnostic techniques in medicine. Techniques from a relatively new branch of mathematics, "coding theory," ensure that the quality of the music on a laser disk will not be affected if the disk is marred by scratches. Nobel Prize-winning work in economics, widely used for pricing stock options in financial markets, is in the area of mathematics called "non-linear partial differential equations and stochastic proceses." The encription data in modern electronic commerce is based on "number theory."

The field of statistics is concerned with methods for the analysis of data, the design of experiments, and surveys for data collection. This includes a combination of the theory of mathematical statistics and applications. Applications always involves choosing proper methods of analysis, interpretation of results, and training in the use of statistical packages. Statistics is widely used in business, industry, and government.

Students interested in majoring or minoring in mathematics should contact Professor Thurlow Cook or Professor Ernest Manes, tel. (413) 545-2282, Lederle Graduate Research Tower 1521E.

The Major

The requirements for a degree provide the student with maximum flexibility in designing an overall course of study to meet his or her scientific, educational, and career goals. The beginning courses emphasize computational skills, problem solving, and the understanding of basic concepts. As students progress, they must solve problems that are less and less routine and more abstract or intricate. Some upper-level courses emphasize proofs and the understanding of abstract structures, while others emphasize advanced computational methods or the formulation and analysis of mathematical or statistical models of reality. A number of the courses involve the use of computers in a fundamental manner in the development of the material covered.

Specific requirements for a major in mathematics are given in 1-7 below. All courses used to satisfy these requirements must be completed with a passing grade, but not with a "P." A cumulative quality point average of 2.00 is required in all Mathematics and Statistics courses taken.

1. Calculus: MATH 131-132 or MATH 135-136 and MATH 233 or MATH 245 or equivalent.

2. Introduction to Abstract Mathematics:

MATH 300. Grade of C or better required. It is strongly advised that MATH 300 be taken by the end of the sophomore year and it is expected that it will be taken by the end of first semester of the junior year.

3. Computer Science: proficiency in a computer programming language. May be satisfied by MATH 236, CMPSCI 121, CMPSCI 187, ECE 242, or equivalent.

4. Linear Algebra: MATH 235 or MATH 236 or MATH 246.

5. Physics: A two-semester, calculus-based physics sequence with labs: PHYSIC 151/153 and 152/154 or PHYSIC 171/173 and 172/174.

6. Junior Year Writing: MATH 370 Writing in Mathematics.

7. Upper-Division Courses: Eight upper-division courses, of at least three credits each. These must include MATH 411 and MATH 523 and a pair of courses in which one is a prerequisite for the other. See list in Mathematics Information Leaflet, available in Departmental Advising Office, Lederle GRT 1521E, tel. 545-2282. At least four of these eight courses, including a pair in which one course is a prerequisite for the other, must be taken in the Department. At most two of the eight courses may be in fields other than mathematics and statistics. Courses taken in other departments must be approved by the Chief Undergraduate Adviser.

Honors Program

The Department also offers a program of study in mathematics leading to higher honors at graduation (i.e., magna cum laude or summa cum laude) at graduation. Prospective honors students are strongly advised to take MATH 300 as early as possible, as well as the honors sections which are offered throughout the calculus courses and MATH 236 (rather than MATH 235). For more information, consult the Chief Undergraduate Adviser, tel. 545-2282, Lederle GRT 1521E.

Mathematics Information Leaflet

Each year the department publishes, for its majors and other interested students, a Mathematics Information Leaflet which contains more detailed information on the requirements, suggested electives for students with various career interests, and other information of particular interest to mathematics majors. Copies of this leaflet, as well as answers to further questions about the undergraduate program, can be obtained from Professor Cook, the Chief Undergraduate Mathematics Adviser, in Room 1521E, Lederle GRC Towers, tel. 545-2282.

Career Opportunities

Abundant opportunities exist for individuals with the highly developed mathematical and statistical skills and problem-solving ability that the major provides. Modern high technology industrial firms are avidly seeking such individuals, especially those with knowledge of computers, statistics, and applied areas such as differential equations and numerical analysis. Many of the large governmental agencies employ people to work as statisticians or in other mathematical capacities.

Employment opportunities for mathematicians in business, industry, and government are many and varied. The habits of careful, analytic thought instilled by training in mathematics are valuable for managerial as well as for scientific careers. Mathematics/Statistics majors with courses in computer science and statistics compete favorably with majors in computer science or engineering for positions in computer-related industries.

There is a severe and growing shortage of qualified mathematics teachers in the nation's secondary schools.

Students with an undergraduate major in mathematics often go on to graduate study in disparate fields such as computer science, philosophy, operations research, statistics, biostatistics, and econometrics, or to professional schools in law or business.

For information on career opportunities contact the Chief Undergraduate Adviser, tel. 545-2282, Lederle GRT 1521E.

The Minor

Requirements

Specific requirements for a minor in Mathematics are given in 1-4 below. All courses used to satisfy these requirements must be completed with a passing grade, but not with a P. A cumulative quality point average of 2.00 is required in all Mathematics and Statistics courses taken.

1. Calculus: MATH 131-132 or MATH 135-136 and MATH 233 or MATH 245 or equivalent.

2. Computer Science: proficiency in a computer programming language. May be satisfied by MATH 236, CMPSCI 121, CMPSCI 187, ECE 242, or equivalent.

3. Linear Algebra: MATH 235 or MATH 236 or MATH 246.

4. Upper-Division Courses: four upper-division courses, of at least three credits each. At least two of these four courses must be taken in the Department. At most one of the four courses may be in a field other than mathematics and statistics. Any course taken in another department must be approved by Professor Cook, the Chief Undergraduate Adviser.

Mathematics and Statistics | Courses | Faculty