Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
Mathematics BA, BS
What is the study of Mathematics BA?
“Mathematics reveals hidden patterns that help us understand the world around us. Now much more than arithmetic and geometry, mathematics today is a diverse discipline that deals with data, measurements, and observations from science; with inference, deduction, and proof; and with mathematical models of natural phenomena, of human behavior, and of social systems.
As a practical matter, Mathematics is a science of pattern and order. Its domain is not molecules or cells, but numbers, chance, form, algorithms, and change. As a science of abstract objects, Mathematics relies on logic rather than on observation as its standard of truth, yet employs observation, simulation, and even experimentation as means of discovering truth.” From: Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education (c) 1989 National Academy of Sciences.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
The special role of Mathematics in education is a consequence of its universal applicability. The results of Mathematics-theorems and theories-are both significant and useful; the best results are also elegant and deep. Through its theorems, Mathematics offers science both a foundation of truth and a standard of certainty.
In addition to theorems and theories, Mathematics offers distinctive modes of thought which are both versatile and powerful, including modeling, abstraction, optimization, logical analysis, inference from data, and use of symbols. Experience with mathematical modes of thought builds mathematical power-a capacity of mind of increasing value in this technological age that enables one to read critically, to identify fallacies, to detect bias, to assess risk, and to suggest alternatives. Mathematics empowers us to understand better the information-laden world in which we live.
-From Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education (c) 1989 National Academy of Sciences
Empowered with the critical thinking skills that Mathematics develops, recent Mathematics graduates from Western have obtained positions in a variety of fields including actuarial science, cancer research, computer software development, business management and the movie industry, among many others. The skills acquired in our program have prepared graduates for further academic studies in Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Oceanography and Education.
“The Department of Mathematics has very highly qualified faculty who excel as both teachers and scholars. We have expertise in both pure and applied mathematics as well as statistics and math education. Our instructional focus is to establish a sound understanding of the fundamental concepts as well as mastery of the related analytical and computational skills. We have small classes and strive for active involvement of students in their learning. Our graduates are extremely well prepared for the workplace and for more advanced studies in math and related fields.”
- Tjalling Ypma, Faculty
“The focus of the math department is to give students a strong background in problem solving and applying those skills. There is a wide range of mathematicians at Western, making it easy to find professors who share your interests and help you maximize your potential. They take teaching and advising very seriously; my advisor was always available for help with my resume’ and planning my courses and my future. I am confident that Western has prepared me for success in graduate school and beyond. Whether your goals are professional or academic, being a Math major at Western will help you to succeed.”
- Malcolm Rupert, Student
- Research Analyst
- Math Teacher
- Database Administrator
- Information Scientist