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 Special Interest Areas for the Bachelor of Science Degree 

 

SPOTLIGHT


Pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics at SRU gives you the flexibility to craft a program of study that fits your individual interests while also building a strong foundation in coursework necessary to all mathematics professionals. As a BS student, you'll take a common core of courses (learn more through the Math Majors link at left) and choose a Special Interest Area (SIA) based on your own personal mathematical strengths and professional plans. In the list of SIAs below, you can find out what kinds of careers blend these different areas with mathematics and see the requirements for earning a BS in Mathematics in each. There's definitely something for everyone!

 

 Actuarial Science

Actuaries are professionals trained in mathematics, statistics, and economics to solve problems involving long-range financial impacts of future events. Their skills are greatly valued by insurance companies, investment firms, employee benefits offices, consulting firms, government agencies, labor unions, and other organizations that need to quantify financial risks. SRU's program includes coursework preparing students for three of the required national actuarial exams, on which our students have a pass rate about 20% higher than the national average. For more information about Actuarial Science at SRU contact Dr. Robert Buck at robert.buck@sru.edu.

 Biology

Mathematical models of living organisms' internal functions and external interactions are of considerable interest to disciplines such as cellular, molecular, and environmental biology. Research groups in these areas may include people having both advanced mathematical training and a general understanding of biology, a combined expertise called computational biology. Work in this field includes such valuable endeavors as developing new means to treat disease or modeling fluctuations in populations accompanying climate change. Career opportunities exist in the academic, governmental, and industrial sectors.

 Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of the nanoworld, the world of atoms. Chemists study the architecture of this miniature universe, explore the changes that occur, unravel the principles that govern chemical changes, and devise ways to create entirely new compounds and materials. In chemistry, critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills are highly valued. People with strong training in mathematics and chemistry can be employed by manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical firms, government agencies, and research labs. Advanced mathematical coursework is crucial for some graduate programs in chemistry.

 Computer Science

Behind every computer application is an algorithm. Computer science is a mathematical discipline far deeper than just programming that has to do with the study of algorithms and therefore forms the theoretical basis for all computer applications. Besides being an object of mathematical study, the computer has also proved to be a powerful tool in mathematical research. Professionals with advanced training in mathematics and computer science find employment in such settings as technology development firms, government agencies, scientific research laboratories, and manufacturing companies. Furthermore, a background in computing is undoubtedly an asset to any student aspiring to earn a graduate degree in mathematics.

 Economics

The importance of economics is recognized in business and government, and training in this field is an excellent counterpart to mathematics study. While advanced economic study requires strong mathematical knowledge, economics as a discipline provides an application of that knowledge in education, public policy, business, and social issues. Students may be employed after graduation by financial institutions, insurance companies, government agencies, or manufacturing companies. Economics is also an excellent preparation for graduate study in law, advanced economics, business administration (MBA), and public administration.

 Finance

Professionals whose training combines finance and mathematics are employed by insurance companies, lending agencies, stock brockerages, and other financial service providers. They pursue rewarding professions such as portfolio or professional money management, securities analysis, actuarial science, and personal financial planning. Among the most successful managers of financial institutions are those who have backgrounds in business administration, finance, and mathematics. Coursework in finance is also an advantage for mathematics majors interested in pursuing an MBA degree, especially one in quantitative financial analysis.

 Mathematics Graduate School

Graduate study in mathematics is very rewarding and challenging, and often costs the student no money, in contrast to other disciplines. Most mathematics graduate students pay for living expenses and tuition through assistantships or fellowships granted by the graduate schools they attend. Bachelor of Science students who hope to succeed in Masters or PhD programs must capitalize on every opportunity to extend and communicate their mathematical knowledge. This SIA includes a required senior thesis to foster this aim. Those who hold graduate degrees in mathematics can be employed in a wide array of careers throughout education, industry, and the government.

 Philosophy

Mathematics students who select the philosophy track will prepare themselves for a future in which skills requiring both logical argument and disciplined imagination are sought after in the marketplace. A strong foundation in philosophy can be an advantage to those pursuing careers in education, especially at the high school or college level. The clear, precise communication and organized thinking that are honed through the practice of philosophy are valuable in any profession, and strong abilities in these area can be factors in professional advancement. Students who also desire the inner rewards of a nourished, challenged, and well-developed mind are likely to find this track well-suited to them.

 Physics

Physics is a mathematical science that attempts to understand the physical universe. Theoretical physicists address fundamental questions about the how the cosmos works, uncovering the laws of atoms, organic material, or outer space. Applied physicists and engineers use their understanding of physical principles to solve practical problems in such areas as product development, process control, and instrumentation. Professionals with combined training in mathematics and physics are employed by universities, scientific laboratories, government agencies, and in the manufacturing, transportation, and technology industries. A strong background in physics is also an advantage to those interested in teaching mathematics at the secondary level.

 Pre-Masters of Business Administration

Students completing this SIA are well-qualified to enter an MBA program or to work in the area of business. The critical thinking skills emphasized in mathematical study are powerful tools and advantages in business settings. Employment opportunities abound in the areas of banking, financial services, investment administration, insurance, information technologies, retailing, health care, government agencies, and manufacturing. Furthermore, mathematics training is excellent preparation for graduate studies in business, law, and related fields.

 Psychology

Psychology has traditionally emphasized empirical research as a primary means to generate knowledge about human behavior. This reliance on quantitative methods yields considerable opportunity for interdisciplinary work in mathematics. The field has always placed great value on statistical training and has recently infused mathematical modeling as a primary research tool. Graduate opportunities exist in quantitative, experimental, industrial, organizational, educational, and computational psychology. A student with a BS in mathematics and training in psychology and its methods may also be employed by psychology research programs in a technical capacity.

 Public Health

Tracking the progress made in the field of community health relies heavily on keeping good statistics and analyzing trends in health data over the years. This reliance on quantitative methods provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary work in mathematics. Experts in statistical methods play an important role as consultants in such varied settings as epidemiology and program evaluation. Coursework in public health or public health administration and mathematics equips students for satisfying employment in many government public and community health agencies, and in industries concerned with or serving public health needs.

 Pre-Masters of Education (Secondary Education)

Certification to teach Grades 7-12 mathematics in Pennsylvania by law requires the equivalent of a major in mathematics as well as coursework in education. At SRU, students hoping to teach mathematics at this level earn a full BS degree in mathematics, then pursue a Master's in Education degree at SRU or another university; it is during graduate study that they take their most intensive pedagogical courses and perform student teaching. Courses in this SIA deepen content knowledge of mathematics and also give a "head start" on required courses in pedagogy. Some graduate courses can even be completed before graduation. Our Secondary Education SIA mathematics majors boast a nearly 100% job placement rate and often are hired by their first choice school. For more information about Secondary Education in Mathematics at SRU contact Dr. J. Lyn Miller at lyn.miller@sru.edu.

 Statistics

Statisticians work with people from other professional backgrounds to solve practical problems, using modern computing to organize and analyze data. Statistics involves modeling and communication as well and is especially well-suited to problem-solvers who have a interdisciplinary frame of mind. With society's increased dependence on data, there is a growing need for the services of statisticians. Fields where they are making important contributions include biology, sports, engineering, psychology, public health, economics, insurance, genetics, finance, agriculture, census, sociology, astronomy, telecommunications, epidemiology, and ecology. Statisticians are employed throughout academia, industry, and the government. For more information about Statistics at SRU contact Dr. Robert Buck at robert.buck@sru.edu.

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