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Mathematics

Do you want to be a math teacher, an actuary, or a cryptographer? Do you get excited about solving puzzles and want to learn more? Perhaps God is calling you to engage his world through the study of mathematics. Many industries—from computer science to financial analytics—require strong math skills. If you like to crunch numbers, find patterns, and analyze data, major in mathematics at Dordt.

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Program Overview

The Dordt mathematics major will teach you to appreciate how math is built into so many areas of creation. You’ll learn to see how mathematical theories show the unity and interconnectedness of the world God has made. You’ll learn actively, both through classroom instruction as well as hands-on experiences and activities.

Our mathematics faculty is committed to finding the best ways to connect with students and teach them effectively. This willingness to adapt creates a learning experience and environment unlike any other. As a mathematics major, you’ll also have numerous opportunities to research and present your work. Social events, conferences, and math competitions are just a few of the ways our students push themselves to grow and develop their skills.

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What can I do with a degree in mathematics from Dordt University?

As a mathematics major, you will take classes in algebra, geometry, analysis, and discrete mathematics. You’ll have opportunities to participate in research and learn how math plays a role in health care, weather forecasting, space exploration, Internet security, and other areas. And you’ll be equipped to share the joy of mathematics to promote a Biblical perspective about its place in God’s creation.

Mathematics Teacher

A Mathematics Teacher teaches the required mathematical skills and knowledge to their students.

Financial Manager

A Financial Manager attempts to maximize an organization's profit by conducting data analysis and suggesting improvement ideas.

Actuarial Analyst

An Actuarial Analyst examines and manages business’s financial risks.

Mathematics Major

General Mathematics

The general mathematics major at Dordt will prepare you for a wealth of possible career outcomes by training you to think logically, critically, and abstractly. The program begins with introductory calculus, though appropriate credit is given for anyone who has successfully taken AP calculus in high school. Students will also take special topics courses taught by experts in the field, as well as have the opportunity to take and design courses in an area of mathematics of their choosing.

  • Mathematics courses focus primarily on analytical and quantitative ideas, techniques, and applications, helping you develop competency in a variety of areas so you can use your mathematical gifts in service to others. Students will be challenged to consider mathematics' all-pervasive role in our world and explore its connections with dominant worldviews in order to help you develop a Christian philosophy of mathematics.
Mathematics and Computer Science

Dordt also has a unique major option which combines both mathematics and computer science courses as a joint major. This is an ideal option for students who have a passion for both mathematics and computing. The joint mathematics/computer science major helps students enhance their programming skills with a deeper understanding of mathematics. Similarly, students' mathematical explorations are enhanced by the ability harness to computing technology to solve problems.

  • You can also combine your interest in mathematics and another field via a double major in business, computer science, engineering, physics, actuarial science, or other options.
Secondary Mathematics Education

Secondary mathematics education majors combine the content of mathematics courses with the pedagogy and knowledge gained in education courses. The major licenses students to teach mathematics in grades 5 to 12. In their first semester in the education program, students participate in a weekly practicum in a grade 5-12 classroom. Additional classroom experiences culminate in the student-teaching internship as seniors.

  • Combine your major with an endorsement for coaching or middle school. The coaching endorsement licenses students to coach while the middle school endorsement certifies students in at least one additional area beyond mathematics including science, social studies, or language arts for grades 5 through 8.
  • Gain experience with mathematics education through the student employment program. As teacher aids, students lead review sessions, help prepare for classes, and grade papers which gives additional experience along with spending money. Dordt also offers innovative program options that include licensure in mathematics education and another STEM field including physics or engineering.
Secondary Mathematics and Engineering Education

This unique program combines classes in mathematics, engineering, and education. Students graduate with licensure to teach both mathematics and engineering in grades 5 through 12. The expansion of STEM courses to include engineering classes in schools make this a great choice for students who want to broaden their preparation to teach.

Secondary Mathematics and Physics Education

A mathematics and physics education degree is a great preparation which results in an endorsement to teach both mathematics and physics in grades 5 through 12. Many schools struggle to find a licensed teacher to offer physics courses. This broad program prepares students to step into both the mathematics and physics classrooms ready to make an impact on STEM education.

OPPORTUNITIES

Participate in active research alongside members of the faculty and present your work locally, regionally, and nationally. Our mathematics community is nurtured through numerous ways:

  • Ladies' lunch: Female faculty and students from the department join women from computer science monthly for a ladies' lunch. The cost of the lunch is funded through grants and the department in an effort to promote women in our STEM fields. The goal of the lunches is to connect female majors and minors to other women in the area for the purpose of supporting, encouraging, and networking.
  • Social events: We enjoy spending time together; sometimes this occurs by major, such as the Actuarial Science Club, Math Club, or math gatherings. Other times we have events for math, statistics, and actuarial science together. Activities have included movies, nacho night, pizza parties, and Christmas gatherings.
  • Math Teachers Circle: Students interested in math education can join other practicing educators from the area once a month for dinner and math. These evenings are a time to collaborate with others on interesting topics in mathematics.
  • Conference attendance: Students have opportunities to attend conferences with professors with some assisting in joint presentations. Conferences are encouraged and even required for students in math education courses to provide students experience with professional development opportunities similar to what they will have as practicing teachers.
  • Middle school and high school students can participate in sessions coordinated by our faculty for Dordt Discovery Days. Previous sessions have included board games, cryptography, card tricks, Fermi problems, and an Amazing Math Race.
  • Math competitions: Each fall, Dordt students participate in the Putnam Exam. The Dordt University Math Challenge is a great opportunity for high school students to learn more about our programs while also participating in a mathematics competition with great prizes. For middle school students, Dordt hosts Math Bees for 7th and 8th grade students each spring.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

Students looking to get a degree in mathematics will need to take 11 required mathematics courses, one computer science course, one three credit mathematic elective numbered above 201 and one mathematics selected topics elective.

  • Programming I: An introduction to computer programming. Basic notions of abstraction, elementary composition principles, the fundamental data structures, and object-oriented programming technique are introduced. Topics include variables, control structures, arrays, and input/output.
  • Calculus I: A study of the basic concepts and techniques of calculus for students in all disciplines. Topics include limits, differentiation, integration, and applications. This course is intended for students without any previous calculus credit.
  • Calculus II: Continuation of Mathematics 152; a study of transcendental functions, integration techniques, Taylor series approximations, calculus in polar coordinates, vectors, calculus of vector valued functions and applications of calculus. Students with one semester of calculus credit should take this course instead of Mathematics 152.
  • Multivariable Calculus: A study of differential and integral calculus of functions of several variables, and line and surface integrals.
  • Elementary Linear Algebra: An introductory study of vectors, matrices, linear transformations, vector spaces, determinants, and their applications, with particular emphasis upon solving systems of linear equations.
  • Discrete Structures: A study of topics in discrete mathematics that are relevant to computer science and mathematics, including logic and proof, induction and recursion, elementary set theory, combinatorics, relations and functions, Boolean algebra, and introductory graph theory.
  • Problem-solving Seminar: Problem-solving is at the heart of doing mathematics. This seminar provides unity to the concepts and approaches learned throughout the mathematics major and minors as it examines various problem-solving techniques. Weekly sessions will be devoted primarily to presenting problem-solving techniques and solving a variety of problems. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Graded on a pass/no-record basis.
  • Advanced Linear Algebra: An advanced study of vector spaces including matrices, linear transformations, orthogonality, the singular value decomposition, and applications.
  • Abstract Algebra I: An introduction to algebraic structures focused on rings and fields. Connections between the ring of integers and the ring of polynomials over a field are developed and explored. Brief attention is given to groups.
  • Real Analysis I: An introduction to the content and methods of single-variable real analysis: infinite sets, the real number system, sequences, limits, series, continuity, differentiation, and integration.
  • History of Mathematics: A survey of the history of mathematics from ancient times into the 20th century, in cultural context, with attention given to how the philosophy of mathematics relates to the development of mathematics.
  • Individual Studies
  • One three-credit mathematics course numbered above 201
  • Special Topics: These mathematics courses cover different topics that maximize individual instructor strengths, interests, and competencies. Each course will deal with a topic in mathematics not usually covered extensively in regularly scheduled courses.

See the course catalog for more information.

Minor Options

Noyce Scholars Program

Mathematics students can also learn to teach STEM subjects at the secondary or post-secondary level. The Dordt Noyce Scholars Program has been established to encourage STEM students to consider a teaching profession.

Noyce Scholars receive $15,000 scholarships each year to support their progress toward teaching licensure in a STEM field.

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Education Emphasis

An Education emphasis is also available with the Mathematics program. As you study Mathematics you'll also train in education, giving you the tools to teach others.

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