Overview of Programs
The Department of Mathematics at Southern Utah University is staffed by excellent teachers, most of which hold terminal degrees in mathematics or mathematics education. Instead of being taught by graduate students as in bigger schools, all courses are taught by professionals whose top priority is student engagement and effective teaching. Faculty members are also scholars in their research fields which further aids them in teaching a wide range of course offerings. Because our program has around 90 majors, each major receives personal attention from faculty. For future advancement, it is often better to be a superstar in a small program than above average in a bigger program.
In addition, the Department of Mathematics boasts the latest math software, free tutoring services, and excellent employment for its students. Opportunities are numerous for those students who wish to engage in undergraduate research and teaching assistantships.
The Department offers four baccalaureate programs: Mathematics Education, Mathematics with Actuarial Science Emphasis, Mathematics with an Applied Math Emphasis, and Mathematics with a Pure Math Emphasis. All graduates receive the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in their chosen field of study and acquire skills that will prepare them for employment or the graduate program of their choice.
The Mathematics Education major is designed to give students the required mathematical and pedagogical knowledge to be effective secondary school teachers. Mathematics courses together with required education courses satisfy course requirements for Level-IV Endorsement in the state of Utah. Student seeking this endorsement will also pass a Praxis subject exam and will apply to the Utah Office of Education for certification. Mathematical content knowledge is assessed through classroom performance and through a comprehensive examination. Teaching effectiveness is assessed through observations and evaluations of a cooperating teacher in a secondary school, a supervising SUU math professor, and a supervising education professor.
The Mathematics with Actuarial Science Emphasis major is designed to prepare students to work in risk analysis for large corporations, government agencies, and insurance companies. Students are prepared through coursework to be able to pass two or more exams from the Society of Actuaries. As is typical in this field, they can be employed after graduation while they continue to study for and pass all exams necessary to become fully credentialed actuaries. Talented majors with this emphasis can often find employment directly after graduation without passing actuarial exams.
The Mathematics with Applied Math Emphasis major is designed to prepare students for employment in scientific, technical, computational, and engineering fields, or for additional study at the graduate level in quantitative fields such as physics and engineering. This program combines a core set of required mathematics courses with a variety of quantitative electives from physics, chemistry, engineering, and computer science. Applied mathematicians model physical phenomena and solve real-world problems using analytic methods and computational tools.
The Mathematics with Pure Math Emphasis major is designed for those planning on graduate work in quantitative fields or as preparation for professional careers in business, law, and medicine. Required and elective courses prepare students to be successful in graduate programs in mathematics, statistics, economics, and many other related fields. Because graduates have strong problem solving and quantitative skills, it is an excellent pre-professional major for law or medical fields and is valued by employers in business and industry.
The Department of Mathematics serves future mathematicians, math educators, scientists, economists, business strategists, and engineers. Those pursuing studies in the arts and humanities are also encouraged to study mathematics. Besides reading, no other skills are so highly valued across the breadth of professional society as those the Department of Mathematics is responsible to teach.
The Department of Mathematics is committed to offering a well-rounded academic program that will enhance excellent job prospects of those who take its courses. The demand for mathematical knowledge and skills is high in both industry and education. In secondary schools, the two greatest shortages of qualified teachers across the nation are in mathematics and technology. Also, job-outlook publications and respected websites continually rate mathematics as one of the skills most in demand for college graduates. Jobs in mathematics, statistics, and actuarial science continually top lists in job satisfaction, earning, and security surveys.
Department/Program Learning Outcomes
Mathematics and Mathematics Education graduates should be able to:
- Use standard mathematical techniques to solve computational problems.
- Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental mathematical concepts and results in the core content areas.
- Use content knowledge to solve applied and real-world mathematical problems.
- Communicate mathematics effectively using proper notation and terminology.
- Use logical reasoning to construct clear and concise mathematical proofs.
Math Course Placement
Developmental Math Courses: Math courses numbered below 1000 prepare students for college-level mathematics and are offered through the School of Integrative and Engaged Learning. Students with questions about these classes should contact the Developmental Math Coordinator.
Other Math Courses: The Department of Mathematics offers a variety of courses to match student interests and backgrounds, including multiple courses satisfying the General Education Quantitative Literacy requirement. Students should contact their Student Success Advisor to identify the appropriate General Education course for their major and interests.
Placement into mathematics courses is based on several factors: satisfactory performance in previous math courses, a sufficiently high ACT math score, or an adequate score on the math placement test available in the SUU Testing Center. Prerequisites for each course are listed under “Course Descriptions” in the SUU Catalog. Students wishing to challenge his or her course placement may contact the Math Department chair by email to request a prerequisite waiver. The email should contain the student’s name, T-number, desired course, and the rationale for the requested waiver. Waivers to the two-year expiration of prerequisites will typically be granted when the delay is due to military or church service. A student’s planned time to graduation will not be the basis for a waiver.
Minimum Grade & Assessment
All courses to be counted in the major and minor (Mathematics and Mathematics Education) must be passed with a “C” (2.0) or better. Students will take a comprehensive exam during their senior year to assess their learning.