Mathematics

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The study of mathematics goes far beyond the algebra, geometry, and trigonometry taught in high school. At Penn State, Mathematics students focus on the basics of analysis and algebra, together with topology, number theory, logic, numerical analysis, dynamical systems, and differential equations. In addition to traditional employment opportunities in science, technology, and industry, jobs in actuarial science, systems analysis, and financial mathematics are expected to grow rapidly. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Coop program to gain work and research experience.

The B.S. degree offers a number of options to help focus and enhance your academic experience here at Penn State.

Actuarial Mathematics: The goal of this option is to train people to enter the actuarial science profession. Actuaries are in great demand in the insurance and other related businesses. The courses required in this option are intended to prepare students to pass one or more of a sequence of demanding examinations administered by a national organization, the Society of Actuaries. The key mathematical areas are probability, statistics, advanced courses in insurance and in operations research.

Applied and Industrial Mathematics: The goal of this option is to train students in the areas of applied and industrial mathematics. This option will prepare students to use mathematics to solve problems arising in industry and will also prepare students for graduate study in applied mathematics. The main mathematical tools needed are analysis, differential equations, numerical analysis and computing, probability and statistics, matrix theory, and mathematical modeling.

Computational Mathematics: The goal of this option is to train students in the areas of mathematics most relevant to scientific computations. These include the mathematical tools needed for analyzing algorithms (i.e. computational procedures) as well as those mathematical problem-solving methods which can be implemented on computers. The main mathematical tools needed are numerical analysis, matrix theory, differential equations, statistics, combinatorics, and linear programming.

General Mathematics: The goal of this option is to allow students to construct, within limits, their own curricula in mathematics. The option requires at least one advanced course in each of the areas of analysis, algebra, and applied mathematics. The requirements include an approved sequence of courses in an area of application which relates to mathematics.

Graduate Study: This option is intended to prepare students for graduate study in mathematics. With this in mind, this option requires students to complete mathematics coursework in the key areas of abstract algebra, linear algebra, real analysis, complex analysis, and topology. Students can also supplement their learning by choosing additional mathematics courses in fields of interest to them.

Systems Analysis: The intent of the systems analysis option is to train people to apply mathematics toward the solution of problems in business, economics, and the social and behavioral sciences. The main mathematical tools needed are matrix theory, linear programming, and statistics. The requirements include an approved sequence of courses in an area of application which relates to mathematics.


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