Department Chair: Bret Benesh
Faculty: Bret Benesh, Philip Byrne, Robert Campbell, Sunil Chetty, David Hartz, Robert Hesse, Kristen Nairn, Travis Peters, Thomas Sibley, Anne Sinko, Michael Tangredi.
Math Center Director: Brian Nyholm
The mathematics department offers courses to fit the needs of a wide variety of students: the student majoring in mathematics, the student majoring in another field who needs supporting courses in mathematics, and the general liberal arts student.
Since a knowledge of mathematics can be useful in disciplines as diverse as biology, philosophy and economics, the mathematics department offers a number of options to students. The major offerings are flexible enough to prepare students for further study in graduate school, for a career in secondary education, for a career as an actuary or data scientist, or for a career in business or industry. A student majoring in another discipline may choose to minor in mathematics. A major in elementary education may choose a minor in mathematics or the concentration designed especially for elementary teachers. (See the education department listing for more information.)
In addition to the formal courses described below, there are many other opportunities available for students interested in mathematics. An individual learning project on a topic of mutual interest can be designed with the assistance of a faculty member. The department supports students to engage in summer research in mathematics and related mathematical sciences, through a generous stipend program. Opportunities are available to combine the summer research with an All-College Thesis. An active student math club and a local chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (a national honor society for students of mathematics) cooperate with the mathematics department to offer a rich program of seminars, films, visiting speakers, career information and social activities. Each spring the department hosts a regional Pi Mu Epsilon conference at which students and faculty from several colleges gather at Saint Benedict's and Saint John's for two days of presentations by students and invited speakers.
Each semester, the mathematics department employs students paid on an hourly basis as calculus teaching assistants, course assistants, and tutors. Calculus teaching assistants grade papers and, in consultation with the course instructor, supervise the calculus labs. Those labs, which meet regularly, provide students with additional opportunities to discuss course material and to practice problem-solving skills. Course assistants grade papers for lower division classes other than calculus I and II. Tutors give individual help to students at the Math Center.
Mathematics in the Common Curriculum and Integrations Curriculum
Mathematics, both as a skill and as a theoretical structure has played a crucial role in modern civilization and the everyday lives of individuals. Therefore, all students will be required to take and pass one course which satisfies the common curriculum requirement in mathematics, and students may opt to take a mathematics course to fulfill the Abstract Structures requirement for the Integrations curriculum. While different courses cover different topics, all courses meeting the requirement stress mathematics as a conceptual discipline and address its contemporary role. These courses will also enable students to understand and appreciate the power and limitations when using mathematical reasoning, its language, and notation to solve a variety of problems from other disciplines and from everyday life. Students enrolled in our courses are actively involved in doing mathematics.
Most mathematics courses have a “math proficiency” prerequisite. Students who have an ACT-Math score of 21 or greater or SAT-Math score of 530 or greater are automatically considered math proficient. Students who wish to take Math 114 or Math 121 will be automatically allowed with an ACT-Math score of 17 or greater (or equivalent). All students enrolled in MATH 118 or 119 will be asked to take a calculus readiness exam during the first week of classes.
Students who are not automatically considered math proficient should work with the director of the Math Center to determine the appropriate course. Usually, students who wish to eventually take calculus will take Math 115, and most other students will take Math 111.
Acceptance to Major Requirements
Course Requirements: MATH 119 and 120; Math 239 or 241
Minimum Grade and/or GPA for required courses: 2.00 GPA
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.00
The mathematics department offers concentrations in mathematics and mathematics/secondary education; it also offers a major in numerical computation jointly with the computer science department. Information about the numerical computation major is in a separate section for that major. Students may not earn majors in both mathematics and numerical computation. Students may not earn a minor in mathematics with a major in numerical computation.
Students anticipating a major in mathematics and/or the natural sciences ordinarily begin their study of mathematics with 119. However, a student needing further preparation before beginning calculus, either 118 or 119, should enroll in 115. Students interested in advanced placement should contact the department chair.
Admission to the major requires a grade of C or higher in MATH 119, 120 and MATH 239 or 241.
Before admission to the major (ordinarily in the sophomore year), prospective majors must consult with their advisors in the mathematics department to plan their mathematics courses. Students should choose their courses and non-curricular activities with regard to their goals for careers and graduate school. Students should be aware of which semesters upper-division mathematics courses will be offered.
Senior majors are required to take a comprehensive exam in mathematics (the Major Field Test).
Prospective majors should have familiarity with computer programming before taking upper-division mathematics courses. Students preparing for graduate school in mathematics should include 332 and 344 or 348.
Concentration in Mathematics (40-42 credits)
119, 120, 239, 241, 331, 343, 395, 16 additional upper-division credits in mathematics. 395 may be waived for students who complete an undergraduate research project in mathematics. See department chair for details.
Concentration in Mathematics/Secondary Education (40-42 credits)
Same as concentration in mathematics, but include 333, 345 in the 16 additional upper-division credits in mathematics.
See the education department listing for minor requirements.
Minor (24 credits)
119, 120, 239; plus either 12 additional upper-division credits in mathematics, or 241 plus 8 additional upper-division credits in mathematics. Note: students may not earn a minor in mathematics with a major in numerical computation.