Tag Archives: college mathematics

Academic Spotlight: Mathematics

The department of mathematics at PUC prides itself on not only helping students develop problem-solving skills based on mathematical reasoning but also promoting communication and teamwork. Students are well prepared for graduate studies in mathematics and related areas, such as statistics and physics, which can lead to mathematics-related careers in medicine, government, and business. This focus will allow for research as well as teaching in higher education. Graduate study opportunities can lead to specialties in actuarial science, operations research, and applied statistics. 

As one of the smaller departments on campus, students find themselves nurtured by caring professors frequently on a one-on-one basis. Not only is this beneficial for learning complex equations and concepts, but it also often results in academic success; students graduating from the department of mathematics at PUC scored at the 99th percentile of all college and university psychology departments administering the MFT exam in 2018.  

Programs offered:

  • B.S. in Mathematics
  • B.S. in Biomathematics

A Faculty’s Perspective

“Math teaches me to be clear with myself about starting assumptions and reasoning structures; it helps me to understand that some topics can best be understood from new and different points of view; and it helps to give me a perspective on just how much I don’t know about God’s wonderful creation and the ways that we attempt to make sense of it through our reasoning. I feel fortunate to work in a learning community that is always willing and eager to engage in conversation on virtually any topic and just as willing to accept the Holy Spirit’s influence on those conversations.” –  Dr. Steve Waters, professor of mathematics

Fast Facts 

  1. Mathematicians are of high value throughout government and industry to help teams make sense of data, design new products, create forecasts, and work on anything involving pattern recognition and analysis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for mathematicians and statisticians in 2018 was approximately $88,190 per year. Overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow rapidly, at about 33 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations.
  2. The math program at PUC has a very favorable student-to-teacher ratio in the upper division. These advanced courses usually have from 3-5 students. This makes it very convenient for students and professors to work closely together; the professor knows the students very well and there are abundant opportunities for individual help and student teamwork.
  3. Students graduating from the department of mathematics at PUC scored at the 99th percentile of all college and university psychology departments administering the MFT exam in 2018. 
  4. Math students are frequently hired as tutors and readers to work for the department at PUC. This provides great work experience as well as solidifying the knowledge gained in coursework.

 What You Can Do With This Major

You might be surprised by all the different career paths open to someone with a degree in mathematics. 

  • Actuary science
  • Astronomy
  • Climate study
  • Economist
  • Engineering
  • Genetic research
  • Insurance and investment
  • International banking
  • Market researcher
  • Medicine/dentistry
  • National security
  • Robotics
  • Sports consultant
  • Statistician 
  • Teaching

Learn more about the department of mathematics at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s math programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you! 

Why You Should Study Math and Why You Should Do It At PUC

Dr. Steve Waters has taught at PUC for 35 years, many of which he served as chair for the department of mathematics. We asked Dr. Waters to share some of his thoughts about studying mathematics, and the advantages of studying it at PUC. This is what he had to say.

Should you study mathematics in college?

The answer is a definite “yes!” if any of the following descriptions apply to you. 

  • You are fascinated by patterns—seeing how things fit together and discovering connections between seemingly very different things.
  • You love knowing why, not just how.
  • You see beauty in carefully crafted and refined ideas.
  • You enjoy finding new perspectives that change apparently hard problems into easy ones.
  • You find satisfaction in sticking with a hard problem until the thrill of a solution presents itself.

But what can you do with a mathematics degree?

The first thing that comes to mind for many people when asked this question is working as a teacher in elementary schools, high schools, and colleges. While it is true that there is a great demand for qualified mathematics teachers at all levels, and that these can be very rewarding careers, only a small fraction of people with mathematical training actually work in the teaching profession. Qualified mathematical thinkers are sought throughout government and industry to help teams make sense of data, design new products, create forecasts—work on anything involving pattern recognition and analysis. These teams often involve a fusion of computer science, engineering, psychology, marketing, communication, and many other areas, so mathematicians are always learning new things and exploring new ideas.

So what do mathematicians actually do?

I’ll let Keith Devlin (NPR’s “Math Guy”) answer this:

“What the mathematician does is examine abstract “patterns”—numerical patterns, patterns of shape, patterns of motion, patterns of behavior, voting patterns in a population, patterns of repeating chance events, and so on. Those patterns can be either real or imagined, visual or mental, static or dynamic, qualitative or quantitative, purely utilitarian or of little more than recreational interest. They can arise from the world around us, from the depths of space and time, or from the workings of the human mind. Different kinds of patterns give rise to different branches of mathematics.”

It’s worth noting very little in the description has to do with “arithmetic.” Mathematical studies open up a whole world of critical and creative thought far beyond the ideas of elementary-school number manipulation.

Knowing that mathematics provides a way to work with fascinating ideas and people, make a real difference in the world, and get paid for it!, why should you study the subject at Pacific Union College?

The short answer is PUC is a Seventh-day Adventist college with mathematics teachers who are dedicated to your success. Your classes will not be taught by graduate students, but by professors whose primary focus is on teaching. In addition to excellent classes, you will also have opportunities to do research with your professors—many of our students have presented work at national and international conferences, and had papers published in prestigious journals.

The department of mathematics, along with physics & engineering, works hard to create a family feel that welcomes all students, regardless of their backgrounds. Your teachers will quickly become your friends and mentors as you work and talk with them in their offices, as well as in the classrooms, across campus, and in their homes. Perhaps best of all, PUC gives you the opportunity to commune with God’s nature, with hundreds of acres of forest preserve filled with hiking and biking trails. It is truly a place “where nature and revelation unite in education.” We’re ready to welcome you into the family.

To learn more about studying math at PUC, visit our Admissions website or call (800) 862-7080 to talk with an enrollment counselor today!