The WCU Mathematics Program teaches students mathematical concepts and reasoning, problem-solving and analytical skills critical for working in science, technology, economics, business or education. Students who concentrate their studies in applied mathematics focus on learning to use mathematics to solve specific real world problems. Students who choose the mathematics education concentration prepare to work as mathematics teachers in North Carolina and the region.
Core courses include calculus, statistical methods, discrete structures and linear algebra. Students then select courses associated with their concentration -- traditional mathematics, applied mathematics or mathematics education. Students in traditional and applied mathematics tracks complement their studies with a second major or minor in fields such as computer science, chemistry, electrical engineering, biology, economics, finance, geology or physics. A capstone course requires students comprehensively pull together what they have learned in written papers and oral presentations. Students have access to a computer lab and Mathematics Tutoring Center. They also are encouraged to conduct research and have presented at state, regional and national conferences. In addition, students work together and connect socially through Math Club and the N.C. Council of Teachers of Mathematics Student Affiliate organization.
Mathematics graduates are positioned to pursue careers or graduate studies in a broad range of fields. Strong mathematical skills are essential to accounting, banking, teaching mathematics, insurance underwriting, computer programming and software design or market research. Mathematicians are sought for operations research, risk analysis and management science, a field involving helping companies or organizations solve problems and find efficiencies. They often work as part of teams with engineers, scientists and other professionals for private science and engineering research companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that as businesses turn to mathematicians to analyze the growing volume of digital and electronic data, employment opportunities will grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations.