Mathematics

Mathematics is the study of patterns, both quantitative and spatial. As such, it is the key to understanding our natural and technical world. Through the study of mathematics, students develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking and clear, concise writing.

The Department of Mathematics offers courses which serve as a fundamental part of a liberal education and as a basis for work in other disciplines. In addition, the department offers a complete major program providing opportunities for a deeper study of mathematics. Mathematics majors pursue a wide range of career options, including work in teaching, business, industry and government service. Many mathematics majors choose to continue their studies with graduate work in mathematics, statistics, computer science or other fields which require significant mathematical background, such as economics or science.

The department also provides opportunities for independent study and research. Collaborative student/faculty research projects have been conducted in the areas of mathematical modeling, chaos theory, dynamical systems, statistics, real analysis, complex analysis, linear algebra, algebra, representation theory, geometry and bioinformatics.

Study abroad opportunities are available in Budapest, Hungary and Aberdeen, Scotland. In addition, majors can study off-campus at a variety of domestic locations such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Majors

The Department of Mathematics offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. Many of our majors are double majors or minors in areas such as chemistry, physics, computer science and economics. We also have majors who have a second major or minor in areas such as music and English. About half of our mathematics majors become teachers. We offer a Mathematics Secondary Education Major for students intending to become middle school or high school mathematics teachers. We also offer a Mathematics Elementary Education Major for students going into elementary or middle school teaching.

Bachelor of Arts Degree

The requirement for a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics is a plan of study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of at least 34 credits in mathematics as follows:

  • MA 280, 331 and 341 must be included
  • Additional credits chosen from the following courses: MA 126, 131, 132, 231, 232, and all courses numbered above 300 except 323 and 324
  • No more than 16 credits from courses numbered 232 and lower shall be counted towards the 34 required credits

See individual course descriptions for prerequisites.

Bachelor of Science Degree

The requirement for a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics is a plan of study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of 60 credits of courses from the natural science division of which at least 39 credits must be in mathematics as follows:

  • MA 280, 331 and 341 must be included
  • Additional credits chosen from the following courses: MA 126, 131, 132, 231, 232, and all courses numbered above 300 except 323 and 324
  • No more than 16 credits from courses numbered 232 and lower shall be counted towards the 39 required credits

See individual course descriptions for prerequisites.

Mathematics Elementary Education

In partnership with the Hope College Department of Education, the Department of Mathematics offers a teaching major in the elementary level for certification through the State of Michigan.

The requirement for a major in mathematics with elementary teaching emphasis is a plan for study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of at least 34 credits in mathematics as follows:

  • Complete MA 126 or MA 131
  • Complete MA 132, 205, 206, 231, 280, 311, 312, 321 and 351
  • Complete at least 4 additional credits selected from MA 207, MA 208, and GEMS courses centered on mathematical topics (GEMS 100 or 105).

Mathematics Secondary Education

In partnership with the Hope College Department of Education, the Department of Mathematics offers a teaching major in the secondary level for certification through the State of Michigan.

The requirement for a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics for those intending to become middle school or high school mathematics teachers is a plan of study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of at least 34 credits in mathematics as follows:

  • MA 132, 231, 280, 311, 312, 321, 331, 341, and 351 must be included
  • Additional credits chosen from the following courses: MA 126 or 131, MA 232  and all courses numbered above 300 except 323 and 324
  • No more than 16 credits from courses numbered 232 and lower shall be counted towards the 34 required credits
  • MA 323 and 324 must also be taken (this counts as education credit, and does not count toward the 34 mathematics credits).

Minors

The Department of Mathematics offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. Many of our majors are double majors or minors in areas such as chemistry, physics, computer science, and economics. We also have majors who have a second major or minor in areas such as music and English. We offer a Mathematics Secondary Education Minor for students intending to become middle school or high school mathematics teachers. We also offer a Mathematics Elementary Education Minor for students going into elementary teaching.

Mathematics

A minor in mathematics consists of at least 19 credits from the following courses: MA 126, 131, 132, 231, 232, 280, and all courses numbered above 300 except 323 and 324. No more than 16 credits from courses numbered 232 and lower shall be counted towards the 19 required credits.

Note: For students desiring an applied focus to their minor (e.g., actuarial studies, statistics, mathematical biology, mathematical modeling, etc.) recommended courses include courses in:

  • Calculus (MA 126, 131, 132, 231, 232)
  • Statistics (MA 311/312)
  • Probability (MA 361)
  • Linear Algebra (MA 345)
  • Differential Equations (MA 370)
  • Numerical Analysis (MA 372)

For more specific recommendations for your proposed career, speak with your advisor or a member of the Department of Mathematics.

Mathematics Elementary Education

In partnership with the Hope College Department of Education, the Department of Mathematics offers a teaching minor at the elementary level for certification through the State of Michigan.

The requirement for a minor in mathematics with elementary teaching emphasis is a plan of study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of at least 22 credits in mathematics as follows:

  • Complete two courses from MA 123, 125, 126, 131, 132 for a total of 8 credits
  • Complete MA 205 and 206
  • Complete either MA 210, MA 311 and 312, or MA 311 and MA 0110 – Statistics transfer credit
  • Complete at least 4 additional credits selected from MA 207, MA 208, and GEMS courses centered on mathematical topics (GEMS 100 or 105).

Mathematics Secondary Education

In partnership with the Hope College Department of Education, the Department of Mathematics offers a teaching minor in the secondary level for certification through the State of Michigan.

The requirement for a minor in mathematics for those intending to become middle school or high school mathematics teachers is a plan of study designed in consultation with a departmental advisor, and includes a total of at least 24 credits in mathematics as follows:

  • MA 132, 231, 280, 311, 312, 321, and 351 must be included
  • Additional credits chosen from the following courses: MA 126 or 131, MA 232, and all courses numbered above 300 except 323 and 324
  • No more than 16 credits from courses numbered 232 and lower shall be counted towards the 24 required credits
  • MA 323 and 324 must also be taken (this counts as education credit and does not count toward the 24 mathematics credits)

Note: a student cannot receive credit for both MA 123 and MA 125, or MA 126 and MA 131.

Mathematics

123. A Study of Functions — A study of functions including polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. These will be explored in their symbolic, numerical, and graphic representations, and connections between each of these representations will be made. A graphing calculator is required. A student cannot receive credit for both Math 123 and Math 125.
4 Credits | Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

125. Calculus with Review I — This course covers the material typically taught in the first half of a Calculus I course. The calculus material is supplemented by reviewing topics of high school mathematics as needed. The calculus topics are also taught at a slower pace. Topics include function review, limits and continuity, the concept (and definition) of a derivative, and differentiation rules (product rule, quotient rule, chain rule are included). A student cannot receive credit for both Math 125 and Math 123.
4 Credits | Fall | Mathematics II (MA2)

126. Calculus with Review II — This course is a continuation of Math 125. The topics covered are the topics typically taught in the second half of a Calculus I course. The calculus material in the course is supplemented by reviewing topics of high school mathematics as needed. The calculus topics are also taught at a slower pace. Topics include implicit differentiation, applications of differentiation, L’Hospital’s rule, Newton’s method, the integral, and applications of integration. A student cannot receive credit for both Math 126 and Math 131.
Prerequisites: Math 125 with grade of C- or better, or permission of instructor
4 Credits | Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

131. Calculus I — Topics include functions, limits, continuity, differentiation, integration, and applications of the derivative and integral. A student cannot receive credit for both Math 131 and Math 126. An ACT Math score of 25+ is highly recommended.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

132. Calculus II — Topics covered include techniques of integration, applications of the integration, sequences, infinite series, power series, introduction to differential equations, and polar coordinates.
Prerequisites: Math 126 or Math 131 with a grade of C- or better
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

205. Mathematics for Elementary and Middle School Teachers I — The first of a two-course sequence in which prospective K-8 teachers explore the fundamental aspects of the mathematics they will be expected to teach in their future classrooms. Emphasis is on developing a conceptual understanding of the mathematics and the ability to communicate mathematical concepts effectively to K-8 students. Topics addressed: Number Concepts and Operations; Algebraic Thinking, Statistics & Probability. Proficiency in basic mathematical skills is assumed. For prospective elementary and middle school teachers only. Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, an Educ-200-level course is highly recommended prior to this course.
Prerequisites: Educ 220 and Educ 221
4 Credits | Fall | Mathematics II (MA2)

206. Mathematics for Elementary and Middle School Teachers II — A continuation of Math 205 with a focus on geometry and measurement. For prospective elementary and middle school teachers only.
Prerequisites: Math 205 with a grade of C- of better, or permission of instructor
2 Credits | Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

207. K-8 Mathematics Software Applications — A course designed to deepen participants’ understanding of mathematical concepts by exploring current information and communication technologies used in K-8 classrooms. As technology rapidly changes, emphasis is on “learning to learn” with different technologies in a project-focused, collaborative setting.
Prerequisites: Math 205 with a grade of C- or better, or permission of instructor
2 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

208. Problem Solving for Elementary and Middle School Teachers — A course designed to integrate content areas of mathematics with the practice of problem solving. Emphasis will be given to group work, oral presentation and multiple solution methods. For prospective elementary and middle school teachers only.
Prerequisites: Math 205 with a grade of C- or better, or permission of instructor
2 Credits | Spring, Even Years

210. Introductory Statistics — The course begins by exploring statistical inference for one and two variables using a randomization approach, while reviewing basic descriptive statistical techniques. The course then explores the relationship between randomization methods and traditional inference techniques, estimation using confidence intervals and statistical power and its impact on sample design decisions. Throughout the course there is an emphasis on active-learning using group activities and projects, as well as reading and critiquing research from mainstream and peer-reviewed media sources. Activities, projects and hands-on learning activities are conducted using a variety of approaches but make heavy use of the computer and statistical software. A student may not receive credit for both Math 210 and Math 311.
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

231. Multivariable Mathematics I — The study of linear algebra and ordinary differential equations.
Prerequisites: Math 132 with a grade of C- or better
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

232. Multivariable Mathematics II — The study of systems of differential equations and multivariable calculus including differention, multiple integration, and calculus on vector fields.
Prerequisites: Math 231 with a grade of C- or better
4 Credits | Fall, Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

280. Bridge to Higher Mathematics: An Introduction to Mathematical Proof — An introduction to the understanding and creation of rigorous mathematical argument and proof. Topics include properties of the integers, real numbers, and integers modulo n. Additional topics may include mathematical induction, elementary set theory, elementary number theory, recursion formulas, counting techniques, equivalence relations, partitions and cardinality of sets. There will be a heavy emphasis on writing, in particular the writing of mathematical arguments and proofs.
Prerequisites: Math 132
3 Credits | Spring

295. Studies in Mathematics — A course offered in response to student interest and need. Covers mathematical topics not included in regular courses.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-3 Credits | Fall, Spring

311. Statistical Methods — This course has the same content and learning objectives as Math 210 but the material is covered in half the time. The course is designed for students who have a significant prior experience with statistics (e.g., high school statistics course) or calculus. Read the Math 210 course description for course content details. A student may not receive credit for both MA 210 and MA 311.
Prerequisites: Math 131 or permission of instructor
2 Credits | Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

312. Applied Statistical Models — This course provides a survey of statistical methods students would expect to see utilized across disciplines in peer reviewed research. As such, the course focuses on the design and analysis of studies where the research questions involve more than two variables simultaneously. Topics include multiple and non-linear regression, non-parametric methods, general linear models, and multivariate statistical models. The pedagogical approach is similar to that of Math 210 and Math 311.
Prerequisites: Math 210 or Math 311
2 Credits | Spring | Mathematics II (MA2)

318. Mathematical Biology — An exploration of the ways in which mathematics is used to understand and model biological systems. Using examples from ecology, neuroscience, epidemiology, and molecular evolution, we will focus on continuous and discrete models and their analytical and computational solutions. Systems of differential equations, linear algebra, and statistical methods will figure prominently among the mathematical topics. Students will become familiar with the statistical, graphical & modeling capabilities of the R computer language. Cross-listed with Biol 318.
4 Credits | Spring, Odd years

321. History of Mathematics — This course is designed to give mathematics students an opportunity to study the various periods of mathematical development. Attention will be given to the early Egyptian-Babylonian period, the geometry of Greek mathematicians, the Hindu and Arabian contribution, the evolvement of analytical geometry since Descartes, the development of calculus by Newton and Leibniz, and non-Euclidean geometry. Some attention will be given to the methods and symbolisms used in problem solving during various periods of time.
Prerequisites: Math 132
2 Credits | Fall

323. Teaching of Mathematics in the Secondary School — Methods of teaching mathematics with emphasis on varied approaches, classroom materials, curriculum changes, and trends in mathematics education. Cross-listed as Educ 323.
Prerequisites: Admission to the teacher education program
Corequisites: Math 324
2 Credits | Fall

324. Teaching Mathematics in the Secondary School Field Placement — This is a field placement that must be taken concurrently with Math 323.
Prerequisites: Admission to the teacher education program
Corequisites: Math 323
1 Credit | Fall

331. Real Analysis I — Study of the real number system, sequences, functions, continuity, uniform continuity, differentiation, and theory of integration.
Prerequisites: Math 232, Math 280
3 Credits | Fall

332. Real Analysis II — A continuation of Math 331 including functions of several variables, series, uniform convergence, Fourier Series.
Prerequisites: Math 331
3 Credits | Spring, Even Years

334. Complex Analysis — The study of the algebra and geometry of complex numbers, analytic functions, complex integration, series, conformal mapping.
Prerequisites: Math 232 or permission of instructor
3 Credits | Fall, Odd Years

341. Algebraic Structures I — An introduction to algebraic systems including a study of groups, rings, and integral domains.
Prerequisites: Math 232, Math 280
3 Credits | Fall

342. Algebraic Structures II — A continuation of Math 341 including topics chosen from Galois theory, advanced linear algebra, group representation theory, and algebraic geometry.
Prerequisites: Math 341
3 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

345. Linear Algebra — The study of abstract vector spaces, matrices and linear transformations, determinants, canonical forms, the Hamilton-Cayley theorem, inner product spaces.
Prerequisites: Math 231, Math 280, or permission of instructor
3 Credits | Spring, Even Years

351. College Geometry — A modern approach to geometry for students with some background in calculus and an interest in secondary teaching. Attention is given to the role of axioms in elementary geometry and in the development of other geometries.
Prerequisites: Math 280 or permission of instructor
3 Credits | Fall

360. Combinatorics and Graph Theory — A study of topics in discrete mathematics. Topics may include enumeration, algorithms, graphy theory, graphy planarity, graph coloring, the pigeonhole principle, permuatations and combinations, binomial coefficients, search algorithms, generating functions, and recurrence relations.
Prerequisites: Math 280 or permission of Instructor
3 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

361. Introduction to Probability — This course provides an introduction to both discrete and continuous probability. Topics include conditional probabilities and independence, combinations and permutations, Bayes’ theorem, popular discrete and continuous distributions (e.g., binomial, normal, Poisson, exponential), bivariate and multivariate distributions, covariance and correlation, moment generating functions and limit theorems. In addition to serving as preparation for the first actuarial exam, this course also serves as a general introduction to probability for all students interested in applied mathematics.
Prerequisites: Math 132
Corequisites: Math 363
3 Credits | Fall, Even Years

362. Mathematical Statistics — Emphasis on inferential statistics. Estimation, confidence intervals, testing of statistical hypotheses, regression and correlation, analysis of variance, control charts, non-parametric methods.
Prerequisites: Math 361
Corequisites: Math 364
3 Credits | As Needed

363. Probability Problem Solving Session — This course runs concurrent to Math 361 and serves as an opportunity to practice probability problems. This course is required for all students in Math 361.
Prerequisites: Math 132
Corequisites: Math 361
1 Credit | Fall, Even Years

364. Laboratory for Mathematical Statistics — A computer-based laboratory to aid the learning and understanding of statistical concepts in Math 362.
Prerequisites: Math 361
Corequisites: Math 362
1 Credit | As needed

370. Advanced Differential Equations — Advanced topics in ordinary differential equations including series solutions and orthonormal sets of solutions. Introduction to partial differential equations including the heat equation, the wave equation and the potential equation. Boundary value problems and Fourier Series will also be covered.
Prerequisites: Math 232
3 Credits | Spring, Odd Years

372. Numerical Analysis — Topics may include the study of the source and analysis of computational error, finding the solution of an equation, systems of linear equations, interpolation and approximation, numerical integration and numerical solutions to differential equations.
Prerequisites: Math 232
3 Credits | Spring, Even Years

395. Special Studies in Mathematics — A course offered in response to student and instructor interest. Topics are not generally covered in the regular course listings. Course may be taken multiple times if topics are different.
1-4 Credits | As Needed

399. Mathematics Seminar — A course for senior mathematics majors which includes problem solving, student presentations on mathematical topics, mathematical modelling, and discussions on the history and philosophy of mathematics. Attendance at department colloquia also required.
2 Credits | As Needed

434. Elementary Topology — A systematic survey of the standard topics of general topology with emphasis on the space of real numbers. Includes set theory, topological spaces, metric spaces, compactness, connectedness, and product spaces. Students may take Math 331 either prior to enrollment in or concurrently with the class.
Prerequisites: Math 331
Corequisites: Math 331
3 Credits | As Needed

490. Research in Mathematics — Course provides opportunity for a junior or senior mathematics major to engage in a research project in an area of mathematics in which the student has special interest.
Prerequisites: Permission of chairperson
0-4 Credits | Fall, Spring

493. Independent Study in Mathematics — Course provides opportunity for a junior or senior mathematics major to engage in an independent study project in an area of mathematics in which the student has special interest.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
1-4 Credits | Fall, Spring

495. Advanced Studies in Mathematics — Offered as needed to cover topics not usually included in the other mathematics courses. A student may enroll for either or both semesters.
Prerequisites: Permission of chairperson
1-3 Credits | Fall, Spring

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