What is Mathematics?
Mathematics is the study of pattern, structure, and change. Although it is one of the most ancient disciplines, new mathematics is being created every day. It can be found in everything from internet security to green energy technology to Wall Street investment strategies.
Classes in the Department of Mathematics emphasize the analytical thinking and problem-solving skills that create a strong foundation not just in mathematics, but in many other careers including law, business, and a range of technical fields.
Applied Mathematics, BS
Classes in Western's Department of Mathematics emphasize analytical thinking and problem-solving skills that will serve you well not just in mathematics, but in many other careers, including law, business, and a range of technical fields. Compared to the BA and BS Mathematics majors, this major requires that the student take a carefully selected sequence of courses focusing on a particular area of application of mathematics.
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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. Compared to the BS Mathematics major, the BA has fewer advanced requirements and provides greater flexibility in the choice of courses to take.
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. The skills acquired in our program have prepared graduates for further academic studies in Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Oceanography and Education.
Mathematics/Computer Science, BS
Western’s Mathematics/Computer Science Program provides excellent preparation for graduate study or for careers in the technical, scientific, and mathematical application of computers. Students are able to apply their knowledge and expertise in the development of computer-based solutions of complicated mathematical problems.
Tjalling Ypma, Mathematics Department and Undergraduate Advisor
Tjalling.Ypma@wwu.edu | 360-650-3785
Mathematics — Elementary Education, BAE
As prospective math elementary teachers, Western students focus on expanding their personal understanding of mathematics and capitalizing on opportunities to work with pre-college students. The Mathematics—Elementary major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in Elementary Education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program.
Rebecca Borowski, Assistant Professor
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Mathematics — Secondary Education, BAE
Learning to teach mathematics occurs through a variety of means: the study of a wide variety of mathematics, pedagogical preparation within a mathematical context, formal clinical preparation in education, an extended internship, and continual experiences as a student, learner, and problem solver. This major must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in Secondary Education.
Jessica Cohen, Associate Professor
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Janna Cecka, Secondary Education Department Manager
WCE.Advising@wwu.edu | 360-650-3347
Mathematics at Western
Western offers both a BS and BA in Mathematics. In comparison, the BS Mathematics major has more advanced requirements while the BA offers more flexibility in creating a course schedule.
Western’s Mathematics/Computer Science Program provides excellent preparation for graduate study or for careers in the technical, scientific, and mathematical application of computers.
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 YpmaFaculty
The Math Center
Outside of the classroom, you can stay involved with mathematics by working in the Math Center (staffed by undergraduate Math Fellows). It is a great place to get help with homework, meet other students, and form study groups.
You can join the Putnam Exam group, participate in the Math Modeling Competition, or the Kryptos Cryptography Competition. In 2012, Western students received the highest rating in the International Mathematical Contest in Modeling along with a major award.
Research and Internships
You might also work on a research or independent study project with faculty.
During their studies at Western, students have interned as Software Developers for companies like Attachmate and Emergency Reporting, and have received other internship opportunities through Moss Adams and Cypress Semiconductor.
Western Association of Mathematics (WαM)
According to WαM: "The goal for WαM is to break down the stereotype that math is this terrible, universally hated subject. Math is beautiful and incredibly useful in our everyday lives. Through panels, activities, and professor talks we hope to show everybody that."
What can you do with?
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.
Employers of recent Western Graduates:
- Attachmate: DevOps Contractors — Software Developer & IT Operations
- Washington State Legislature: Fiscal Affairs Specialists (through the National Staff Assault Task Force), Computer Application Developers
Other graduates have received jobs at Microsoft, Google, Premera Blue Cross, Safeco, Milliman, Raytheon, and SAIC, among other companies. Many graduates who are now teachers, and a number of our students have also gone on to Ph.D. programs throughout the country.
- Research Analyst
- Math Teacher
- Database Administrator
- Information Scientist
- Systems Analyst
- Technical Writer
- Applied Science Technologist