Mathematics

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.

Mathematics Students build parametric curves describing ski slopes and their likely paths

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.

After Graduation

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.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Mathematics Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Profiles

Erin Diller
“In both majors I face problems every day, whether they’re design problems or literal math problems. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding to find solutions especially if it’s a problem I’ve been struggling with,” 
Marcus Hinricher
Petroleum Geology graduate - “You’ve got to get involved, wherever you go to school."
Alan Cleary
"Western prepared me for graduate school."

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Charlesworth, William Memorial Scholarship

Charlesworth, William Memorial Mathematics and Natural Science Scholarship Available to:

The applicant has applied to and has been accepted for admission to Western Colorado University and is pursuing a major in mathematics or related natural sciences. The applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance. The applicant has demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics. Preference should be given to entering freshmen; however, all classes, freshmen through senior, are eligible. Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income. No preference should be given based on the sex of the applicant. Preference should be given to applicants from Delta County, Colorado, or from the Western Slope of Colorado.

Scholarship Provided by:

Established with the Western Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Chaired by the chairman of Mathematics and Computer Science and shall include a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. MCIS Department: (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 201

Find out more about Western's Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology.

 Dorgan, William E. Memorial Math Scholarship

Dorgan, William E Memorial Math Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time students at Western. Must be a declared major in Mathematics. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Scholarship Provided by:

The estate and family to celebrate the memory of William E. Dorgan.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western Math faculty in consultation with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as needed.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Information Science Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Westerns Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

 Mathematical Studies Scholarship

Mathematical Studies Scholarship is Available to:

Students who have successfully completed a minimum of 24 credits at Western and at least 6 credits that apply toward the major. Must be a declared major in Mathematics. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater in Math at Western that apply toward the major. Must be enrolled for at least 9 credits at Western during the semester of application. Financial need and the student's contribution to the math program will also be considered.

Scholarship Provided by:

Friends of the Mathematics program.

Amount: Varies depending upon funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Donor Scholarship Committee.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Information Science Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

 Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship

The Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship has been established by Glenn R. and Leila M. (Barge) Calkins to provide scholarship assistance to Western Colorado University students majoring in mathematics. This scholarship serves to honor Western State Graduates: Hazel, Glenn's mother (Elementary Education - 1932); Glenn (Mathematics and Physics -1962); Shane (Mathematics - 2016), Glenn and Leila's son. This Scholarship also honors Glenn and Leila, who taught in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Western. Glenn taught from 1978-2000, and Leila from 1986-2009. Finally, we honor William Calkins, Glenn's father who attended and was employed at Western, and Jesse and Mary Barge, Leila's parents, who fell in love with Western and the Gunnison Valley.

Eligibility

Applicants for the Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship:

  • Must be a Mathematics major entering Junior or Senior year and having satisfactorily completed Mathematics 220, Introduction to Advanced Mathematics.
  • Must have a GPA of 2.670 or higher.
  • Preference will be given to a current student-athlete (NCAA sport) or a first responder.
  • If a student-athlete (NCAA sport), preference will be given to members of the Wrestling Team.
  • If a first responder, applicant must be an active member with a Gunnison Valley Service Provider and preference will be given to members of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Recipients may reapply unless they fail to maintain eligibility.
Application Procedures

Individuals interested in being considered for this Scholarship must contact the Department of Mathematics and Student Financial Services for scholarship application information. The deadline for applying shall be April 1 to be considered for the following academic year. The Mathematics faculty and Student Financial Services will assemble those application which meet the stated criteria. Recipients will be selected by Glenn and Leila Calkins, in consultation with the Director of Student financial Services.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Brett Calhoon headshot
Lecturer
B.A., Humboldt State University, Mathematics, M.S., Western Washington University, Mathematics
Phone: 970.943.7024
Office Location: Hurst Hall 216
Robert A. Cohen headshot
Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Humboldt State University, Ph.D., University of Colorado
Phone: 970.943.2111
Office Location: Hurst Hall 210
Kimberly J. Fix headshot
Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Winona State University; Ph.D., University of Iowa.
Phone: (970) 943-3234
Office Location: Hurst Hall 220
Erik Kjosness headshot
Lecturer in Math
Phone: 970.943.2127
Office Location: Hurst Hall 108
Jeremy A. Muskat headshot
Associate Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Western Colorado University; M.A., University of Vermont; Ph.D., Colorado State University.
Phone: 970.943.3150
Office Location: Hurst Hall 112
Alex Rasche headshot
Lecturer of Math
B.S., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics and Physics, Ph.D., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics Education
Phone: 970.943.7009
Office Location: Hurst Hall 114
Sarah Schaefer headshot
Lecturer
B.A., Concordia University, Psychology, B.A., Concordia University, Elementary Education, M.S., Montana State University, Mathematics
Phone: 970.943.7023
Office Location: Hurst Hall 106
Zachary Treisman headshot
Lecturer in Mathematics
B.A., Reed College, Ph.D., University of Washington
Phone: 970.943.2075
Office Location: Hurst Hall 110

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 CS 190 - Computer Science I (3 credits)

An introduction to software development. Students develop applications using modern programming languages and techniques. Emphasis is placed on good software engineering practices for problem analysis, program design, documentation, testing and debugging. The course uses an industry standard programming language.

 CS 191 - Computer Science II (3 credits)

A continuation of CS 190 taught in the Java programming language. Students develop stand alone GUI and console applications and applets of increasing sophistication. Topics include: arrays, objects and classes, encapsulation and inheritance, file management, dynamic data structures, searching, sorting, recursion, stacks and queues, with emphasis on abstraction and implementation and an introduction to algorithm analysis. Prerequisite: CS 190 with a minimum grade of C-.

 MATH 151 - Calculus I (4 credits)

A study of differential calculus, including limits, continuous functions, Intermediate Value Theorem, tangents, linear approximation, inverse functions, implicit differentiation, extreme values and the Mean Value Theorem. This course also introduces Integral calculus including anti-derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 27 or above; SAT math score of 630 or above; MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-; or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test with a score of 95 or above. GT-MA1

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 MATH 220 - Introduction to Advanced Mathematics (3 credits)

Students develop and use elementary logic and set theory to construct deductive proofs with relations, functions, and some algebraic structures. Topics include indexing, equivalence relation theory, and cardinality. Prerequisite: MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 251 - Calculus II (4 credits)

Topics include techniques of integration, area computations, improper integrals, infinite series and various convergence tests, power series, Taylor's Formula, polar coordinates, and parametric curves. Prerequisite: MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 252 - Calculus III (4 credits)

Topics include calculus of functions of several variables, differentiation and elementary integration, vectors in the plane and space. Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 260 - Applied Linear Algebra (3 credits)

A course in the techniques and applications of linear algebra. The core topics include solving systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, matrix decomposition, the pseudoinverse and least squares approximations, and the singular value decomposition. The theory is supplemented with extensive applications and computer programming. Prerequisite: MATH 141.

 MATH 300 - Introduction to Mathematical Modeling (3 credits)

Designed to teach the basic principles of mathematical modeling and applied mathematics. Techniques from calculus, statistics, and probability are utilized to model real-world problems. Analytic and numeric tools are used to implement the models, obtain predictions and investigate underlying mechanisms. Topics include dimensional analysis, curve fitting, simulations, differential and difference equations. Prerequisites: MATH 251 and MATH 213 with minimum grades of "C-."

 MATH 313 - Statistical Modeling and Simulation (3 credits)

A study of statistical techniques used to model and simulate stochastic processes. The core topics include linear and nonlinear multivariate models, generalized additive models, time series models with auto-correlated error, and mixed effects models. Emphasis is placed on computational techniques appropriate to large data sets and data visualization. Prerequisites: MATH 213 or ECON 216, MATH 260, CS190.

 MATH 314 - Applied Probability (3 credits)

A study of the basic principles of probability theory and their applications. Topics include combinational analysis, conditional probabilities, descrete and continuous random variables, and measures of centrality and variance. Emphasis is placed on applications using probability distributions (including binomial, geometric, Poisson, uniform, exponential, and normal distributions) to assess and manage risk in the fields of finance, insurnace, medicine, and quality control. Prerequsite: MATH 251 with a grade C- or better.

 MATH 317 - Genome Analysis (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the appropriate mathematical techniques to answer questions about information contained in genetic sequences. These techniques may include dynamic programming, motif similarity, Bayesian models, hidden Markov models, principal component analysis, and clustering. Students use standard genome query tools to annotate genomic DNA. MATH 317 and BIOL 317 cannot both be taken for credit. Prerequisite: MATH 213 and either MATH 161 or CS 190.

 MATH 330 - Topics in Geometry (3 credits)

An introduction to modern geometries. Topics include synthetic, analytic, vector, and transformational approaches to geometry. Classification of geometries, axiomatics, and the application of geometry may also be included. Prerequisite: MATH 220 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 354 - Differential Equations (3 credits)

A study of the theory and methods for solving ordinary differential equations.Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 360 - Linear Algebra (3 credits)

A study of systems of linear equations, matrix operations, vector spaces, properties of determinants, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, orthogonality and least-squares. Emphasis is placed on theoretical aspects and general vector space properties with proof. Prerequisite: MATH 260, MATH 220 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó

 MATH 370 - History of Mathematics (3 credits)

Acquaints the student with the historical development of mathematics. Includes anintroduction to the proper methods and accepted formats of written, graphical, and oral communication in mathematics. Prerequisites: MATH 220 and MATH 251 with minimum grades of "C-."

 MATH 414 - Actuarial Mathematics (3 credits)

A study of mathematical concepts useful in risk management, including multivariate probability and interest theory. Topics include the Central Limit Theorem, joint distributions, combinations of distributions, conditional and marginal probabilities, time value of money, annuities, and loans. Emphasis is placed on solving problems from the actuarial field, including applications to insurance and business. Prerequisites: MATH 252 with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ò; MATH 314 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó

 MATH 451 - Analysis I (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory of calculus. Topics include the usual topology of the reals, sequences, limits, continuity, differentiation, and Riemann integration. Prerequisites: MATH 220 and MATH 251 with minimum grades of C-.

 MATH 471 - Abstract Algebra I (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory of groups and rings. The fundamental group properties and concepts including cyclic groups, subgroups, direct products, symmetric groups, cosets, normal subgroups, and the group homomorphism theorems are discussed. Prerequisite: MATH 220 with a minimum grade of C-, and at least three upper-division mathematics credits.

 MATH 495 - Senior Seminar (3 credits)

A small group of graduating seniors pursue a practical project necessitating professional levels of problem solving, research, written and oral prowess, critical thinking, and familiarity with core curriculum. Final projects are of high quality, so they can be used by professionals and decision-makers in the field. Prerequisites: senior standing. Corequisite 490.