What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?
You will learn how to reason your way through unfamiliar territory, find familiar structures, make predictions and answer important questions. Mathematics is central to science, engineering, finance, insurance and computing for precisely these reasons. You will see many mathematical structures and understand how they apply to many pursuits.
In your senior research project, you will apply your knowledge to a single challenging problem. These projects have included choosing optimal immunization strategies for a heterogeneous network, proving a matrix decomposition resulting from a multiplicative identity, using statistical mechanics to properly value financial options, and proving a relationship between offensive and defensive performance and the eventual outcome of a baseball game.
From Western's Calculus 3 course:
Students built parametric curves
describing ski slopes and their likely paths.
Beyond the Classroom
The Math department has one of the most active student communities on campus. As a math student, you will enjoy a pre-built learning community for your schoolwork, as well as many social and scholarly activities organized by the faculty. In the fall, we host a welcome-back barbecue with a kickball game.
Each fall the department has a barbecue to welcome our returning students back to campus and to help our new students become part of our community. Both of these events are open to all students and faculty interested in mathematics or computer science, their friends and family. In the winter, students in the department attend the Pikes Peak Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conference where our seniors present their research projects. Some years, we have an ice-climbing outing. Others, it is a skating party. The high point of our spring social calendar is the annual MCIS banquet. The faculty caters this affair, so you will see we are not only excellent scholars and kickball players, but we can also can make a mean pan of mac 'n cheese.
But life is not all kickball and casseroles. For professional advancement, we help show you what we do and point you to opportunities. The math seminar meets at noon Monday, Wednesday or Friday. At these gatherings, faculty members show what they are working on and seniors to present their research projects. In February, we load up a couple of vans and travel to the Pikes Peak Undergraduate Research Conference, both to show off what our seniors have done and to see what others are doing.
Many of our students use the summer months to pursue internships or other advanced training. Our students have successfully landed positions in summer workshops offered by the institute for Advanced Studies and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), offered by the National Science Foundation.
As a Western Mathematics graduate, you will find opportunities both within the field and in other pursuits. Our graduates have earned advanced degrees in math, engineering, geology and architecture.
Our graduates are working toward master’s degrees and PhDs with full financial support. If you want to teach, you will be in great demand. There are many programs that will allow you to begin teaching and complete your licensure requirements online. According to a recent survey, even our graduates who are not working in the field said they used math "almost every day" in their chosen professions. Common wisdom suggests that a math degree pays off commensurately with the level you rise to in your profession.