Why Study Mathematics?

Mathematics is an exciting and intellectually stimulating field whose frontiers are rapidly expanding. Mathematics provides the foundation for much of the natural and social sciences, as well as many other fields where quantitative reasoning is essential. The study of mathematics offers opportunities for creative effort and accomplishment, both within mathematics and through its application.

Why Study Mathematics at PLU?

The Department of Mathematics offers a broad choice of educational and career goals.  We offer four degree options: a BA and BS in Mathematics, a BS in Applied Mathematics, and a BS in Mathematics Education. We also offer minors in Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Statistics, and Data Science.

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics: This degree is intended for those students who want the strongest possible mathematics background. It is recommended for students planning to go to graduate school in mathematics. Students may select electives from a number of courses, including statistics, geometry and mathematics applied to computation or to science. Students who choose a B.S. degree in mathematics often couple it with a minor or second major in such related fields as Computer Science, Physics and Actuarial Science.

Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics: This degree is frequently selected by students who wish to obtain both a mathematics major and a second major in a liberal arts subject. Recent mathematics graduates have taken a second major in such fields as Economics, Computer Science, English, Music, Philosophy, Spanish, and Theatre.

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education: This degree is intended for those students who wish to become teachers of mathematics. This degree does not provide students with a teacher certification, but does fulfill the requirements for PLU’s and other universities’ Masters of Arts in Education programs.

Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics: Applied Mathematics uses mathematics, primarily through mathematical modeling, as a tool to solve a variety of real-life interdisciplinary problems. This program builds upon the existing mathematics courses, incorporates interdisciplinary studies, and adds a permanent mathematical modeling course. Graduates will gain an understanding of applied mathematics and statistics, making them well equipped as they seek employment or pursue graduate programs. This degree pairs well with other Natural Sciences majors such as computer science, physics, and chemistry, as well as with an economics or data science minor.

Minor in Actuarial Science: This minor is intended to help students prepare for careers as actuaries. Click here for more information.

Minor in Data Science: This minor is ideal for students who would benefit from in-depth experiences managing, analyzing, and visualizing data. The minor is designed for students from virtually any major, although quantitative literacy at or exceeding the level of PLU MATH 140 (Precalculus) is required.  Click here for more information.

Minor in Mathematics: This minor is intended for students who are interested in mathematics but cannot complete a full major or who are already taking mathematics classes for their majors.

Minor in Statistics: This minor is intended to help students prepare for careers as statisticians. Click here for more information.

The mathematics faculty at PLU is committed to quality teaching and to providing a first-class education. Mathematics classes at PLU are kept small so that the faculty are able to know and interact with individual students. The Department of Mathematics actively encourages interaction among students, in the belief that a cooperative learning environment helps one achieve one’s maximum potential.

The department is housed in the Morken Center for Learning and Technology. All classrooms are equipped for multimedia demonstrations. In addition, there are two 24-computer lab/classrooms. One of these has Macs and the other has Dell PCs for student assignments and projects.

Opportunities for Math Majors at PLU

  • Campus Employment: Several employment opportunities at PLU utilize students with mathematical training. Students are hired to tutor in mathematics, conduct evening help sessions and grade mathematics homework assignments.
  • Competitions: Each year, teams of PLU students enter the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. This competition in applied mathematics provides substantial intellectual challenges that many students have found exciting and beneficial.
  • Scholarships: The mathematics faculty annually award several scholarships as recognition of outstanding work in mathematics.
  • Memberships: Advanced students are also given honorary memberships in professional associations.