Department of Mathematics and Statistics

University of Missouri-Rolla

One of the most important aspects of any mathematics degree is the development of problem-solving and creative thinking abilities. A closely related and equally important goal is to be able to function as an independent learner, of mathematics certainly, but also of other areas. One of the differences between a university degree and technical training is that the university degree should indicate the capability to solve creatively problems that have not even been thought of yet, while technical training is more concerned with standard procedures for known problems. Technical training is important and necessary, but the people who can learn on their own and apply their knowledge to new situations have a distinct advantage.

**Degree Requirements**
for a complete list of the degree requirements for students beginning their
undergraduate education Fall 1997 or later follow this link. If you
began your college education before the fall semester 1997 your degree
requirements will be slightly different, contact the mathematics department
for specifics.

**What can you do with a Mathematics Degree besides teach?
Plenty!**

As a UMR graduate with a mathematics degree, however, you have to get
that first job in business or industry before you can exhibit your valuable
creative problem-solving abilities. This means planning your mathematics
and technical electives so that you look good to industry, and it also
means that you might have to be more aggressive when looking for a job
in order to convince the company of your choice that you will do as well
or better than the engineering or business majors they usually recruit.
To help students with this the Mathematics and Statistics Department has
defined five Emphasis Areas. They are Actuarial
Sciences, Algebra/Discrete Mathematics,
Applied
Analysis, Computational Mathematics, and
Statistics. Theses emphasis areas attempt
to fit the desires and interests of the student with the needs of industry.
A student seeking a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Mathematics is __not__
required to have an emphasis area. Those students who apply for and
complete the requirements of an emphasis area will have this accomplishment
noted on their diploma.

To further prepare for life after college a student should consider
participating in the Cooperative Training Program (co-op). In addition
to earning money, co-op students gain valuable experience in business or
industry. Details can be found in the UMR Undergraduate Catalog. Be on
the lookout for opportunities to participate in research projects in mathematics
or in areas which apply mathematics. This includes all the science and
engineering departments on campus. UMR has an Opportunities
for Undergraduate Research Program, and there are other opportunities
for undergraduates to become involved in research as well. Ask questions
and look around.

**Preparation for Graduate Study.** Any of the possible options for
the B.S. in Applied Mathematics at UMR can lead to successful graduate
study for students who exhibit the necessary mathematical maturity and
sophistication. In a recent survey of the top mathematics graduate programs
in the nation, 95% rated real analysis or advanced calculus courses as
essential or highly recommended preparation for their programs; a year
of Advanced Calculus (Math 309, 311) is required at UMR. In addition, the
Modern Algebra sequence (Math 305, 306), Introduction to Real Analysis
(Math 315), and Introduction to Topology (Math 385) are strongly recommended
to build a substantial base in classical mathematics. These four courses
also fulfill the mathematics electives 6-hour sequence requirements.

**Secondary Education.** A mathematics degree together with certification
to teach mathematics in elementary or secondary schools in Missouri can
be obtained at UMR. Careful planning of electives is essential for students
in this program, since a number of professional education requirements
for teacher certification must be met. A sample program is available.
The total number of hours in this program is slightly more than the minimum
required for graduation, but with a degree from UMR, your mathematics preparation
will be exceptionally strong. The Elementary and Secondary Education
program coordinator is:

Prof. Evalee Lasater.

- A desire for advanced study of mathematics,
- An overall GPA of 3.0 or higher,

- Enrollment in a mathematics (or statistics) course numbered above 200, with a mathematics GPA of 3.2 or higher,
- Completion of a mathematics (or statistics) course numbered above 200, with a mathematics GPA of 3.0 or higher.

or

**Mathematical Association of America Student Chapter.** The Mathematical
Association of America (MAA) is the world's
largest organization devoted to the interests of collegiate mathematics.
MAA student chapters, including the one at UMR, are open to any undergraduate
student - the only requirement for membership is interest in mathematics.
The cost of membership is reasonable and includes a subscription to one
of the MAA journals: *The American Mathematical Monthly*, *The College
Mathematics Journal*, or *Mathematics Magazine*. Benefits of membership
include opportunities to meet other students with similar interests, contact
with the mathematics community, lectures, films, and discussions about
mathematics and its applications, career information, and the opportunity
to fill a leadership role. For information about becoming a member of the
UMR Chapter, ask in the Mathematics and Statistics Department office.

**William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.** The William Lowell
Putnam Mathematical Competition is conducted annually under the sponsorship
of the Mathematical Association of America, and is designed to stimulate
a healthy rivalry in the undergraduate work of mathematics departments
in U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. Students compete as individuals
or members of a three person team representing their institution. Prizes
are awarded to the members of the top five teams and their schools and
to the ten highest ranking individuals. The examination is usually held
in November or December. On the 1991 Putnam Exam, a UMR mathematics major
was in the top five nationally. As part of the department's capstone courses,
Math 361 - Problem Solving in Pure Mathematics, is designed in part to
prepare students to participate in the William Lowell Putnam Competition.

**Mathematical Competition in Modeling.** The Mathematical Competition
in Modeling is a national contest for undergraduates designed to stimulate
and improve problem-solving and writing skills in a team setting. Students
work together in teams of three over a weekend. The problems chosen for
the competition and the cooperative effort required for their solution
serve as an indication of what students can expect in a work environment.
Problems will tend to be open-ended and are unlikely to have a unique solution.
Prizes are awarded by various professional societies, and some prizes include
an opportunity for the winning teams to present their solutions at a professional
meeting. The competition is usually held in late February or early March.
As part of the department's capstone courses, Math 371 - Problem Solving
in Applied Mathematics, is designed in part to prepare students to participate
in the Mathematical Competition in Modeling.

**The Annual End-of-Fall-Semester Party!** This is a chance to meet
socially with other mathematics majors and the faculty. Watch for details
each fall.

The Gary Havener Scholarship Fund

The Robert Eck Scholarship Fund

The Faculty Scholarship Fund

The Alumni Scholarship Fund

The faculty in the department are committed to maintaining high-quality instruction. Our placement program (for all UMR students, not only mathematics majors) has a good, proven track record and benefits the students by putting them into the proper mathematics course at the beginning of their stay at UMR. As a result, our success rate in the calculus course is the envy of most mathematics departments nationwide, where failure rates in calculus of 50% or more are a cause of much concern. We are heavily involved in incorporating modern technology into our curriculum, and require the use of the HP48G graphing calculator in college algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Also, we use sophisticated computer algebra systems, such as Maple and Mathematica, which have state-of-the-art graphics and symbolic manipulation features, in some of our courses. Our statistics courses employ the latest statistics software. Since the beginning of UMR's assessment program, our undergraduate majors have performed quite well on national assessment examinations, with over half of our students in the top quartile. A number of our faculty and graduate teaching assistants have won outstanding teacher awards.

Most of the faculty also maintain their own and the department's professional development through publication of research, speaking at and organizing conferences, and filling leadership roles in professional organizations. The high-quality instruction, mentioned above, and the research activity of the faculty are the principal components of the department's respected graduate program, which has produced many M.S. students and over 40 Ph.D. students. Many of our M.S. and Ph.D. graduates hold academic, government, or industrial positions across the country, from Texas to Minnesota and Maine to California, with, of course, a large concentration in Missouri and surrounding states.

UMR graduates with the B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics can be found in a wide variety of situations. Roughly a third of our graduates go on to pursue a graduate degree in either mathematics or a related field at such universities as Illinois, Wisconsin, California-Berkeley, Kansas, Iowa State, Duke, Tennessee, Rice, Cornell, and others, and some continue at UMR for an advanced degree. The rest of our B.S. graduates go into industry or teaching at the high school level. We have graduates teaching high school in Missouri and many nearby states, and UMR mathematics graduates can be found at General Motors, Southwestern Bell, Boeing-McDonnell Douglass, Western Electric, Peabody Coal, Hallmark Cards, NASA (one graduate is an astronaut), the CIA, NSA, Caterpillar Tractor, Hughes Aircraft, and Phillips Petroleum, among others.

The department has an annual newsletter, through which departmental alumni and friends can keep up with what others are doing, and find out about developments "back home" at UMR.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

This web page was last updated April 4, 2000. Robert Roe (rroe@umr.edu)