1. What is the Mathematics major?
2. What careers interest students in this major?
3. What skills are developed within this major?
4. What Math resources are available?
5. Where have Wake Forest graduates landed jobs with this major?
6. Where can I get more information about the Math major?
Mathematics is one of the oldest and most basic of the sciences; its origins can be traced to the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations. Mathematics provides the common language for all sciences and is also an important discipline in its own right. It is an art as well as a science; creative mathematical research has even been compared to poetry.
Specialization within mathematics may be described from two perspectives: (1) from the perspective of a career, the mathematics student may enter teaching (intermediate or secondary), may seek employment in government or industry, or may continue studying mathematics or related fields in graduate school; (2) from the perspective of mathematical content, mathematics is traditionally divided, not precisely to be sure, into pure and applied mathematics.
The central areas of pure mathematics are usually classified as analysis (including the many subjects derived from calculus), algebra (including number theory), and topology (including geometry). Applied mathematics includes statistics, numerical analysis and other computer related mathematics, operations research, actuarial science, economics, and others, in addition to the traditional applications in the physical and engineering sciences. It should be noted that advanced work in these applied areas builds heavily on an adequate background in the traditional pure areas, although the student may take beginning courses in these applied areas as an undergraduate. Actuarial science requires the selection of specific courses and serious study in preparation for the actuarial exams.
Graduate level education in all areas of pure and applied mathematics has mushroomed in the last twenty years. The number of excellent graduate schools has grown proportionally. In recent years, the declining interest among students nationwide in entering graduate school has actually made admission to some of the better graduate schools less competitive.
Careers that often interest Math majors include:
Skills developed within this major include: Persistence; Patience; Logical manner of thinking; Strong problem solving skills; Creativity; Comfort with abstract concepts; Analytical skills; Recognition of patterns and hidden similarities within groups of data; and independent thinking.
American Mathematical Society
American Statistical Association
Association for Computing Machinery
Mathematical Association of America
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Society of Actuaries
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
For more information about the Math major, visit the WFU Department of Mathematics.