Before entering Marquette University, most students' mathematical experience has been with applications in which mathematics is seen primarily as a problem-solving tool. Courses in algebra, geometry and perhaps calculus usually stress this aspect of mathematics. These courses concentrate on the skills of formulating a problem in precise terms and then solving it by applying a series of manipulations or formulas, some of which are thousands of years old. There is, however, another aspect of mathematics which beginning students rarely glimpse – so-called pure mathematics. This is the creative side of mathematics in which new systems and formulas are discovered or derived. Here lies the challenge to reach beyond the world as we know it and to speculate, to invent.
In reality, the categories of pure and applied mathematics are not as distinct as they may first appear. Today's applied problem often leads to tomorrow's theory. And, just as often, what was yesterday's esoteric theory provides the practical solution to today's technical challenges. So, for example, modern computer circuitry was developed using the tools of mathematical logic invented in the late 1800's. And the mathematical limitations of computing machinery were derived decades before the physical machines existed. Likewise, the practical problem of errors in transmitting information over telephone lines or satellite channels led to a whole new field of mathematical investigation – "error-correcting codes."
Because of this continuing interplay between pure theory and practical applications, the mathematics curriculum at Marquette University is designed to open the door to the creative side of mathematics while also providing an atmosphere in which each student's application skills can continue to grow. The curriculum can be tailored to fit an individual's interest. Some students choose to concentrate on subjects with immediate applications such as probability, statistics and differential equations. Others choose to pursue more abstract topics such as modern algebra, topology or logic. Others are interested in preparing to teach mathematics at the primary or secondary level. In any case the curriculum is designed to provide the technical skills for growth in the discipline.
The Major in Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers (MELT) prepares students who aspire to be elementary school teachers to become mathematics education leaders. Students will obtain a strong mathematics background, taking several of the mathematics courses required of the math major for secondary school teachers. Graduates will be well prepared to serve as "mathematics specialists" in their schools – able to play leading roles in mathematics education in their schools and mentor other teachers. The major is limited to students enrolled in the teacher education program in the College of Education who seek grades 1-8 certification.
A good candidate for the MELT major:
The MELT major is rewarding but also demanding. There is a big jump in difficulty from MATH 1400 to MATH 2350 (Foundations of Mathematics), and a second jump from MATH 2350 to 3000 and 4000 level mathematics courses. Students should anticipate these challenges, and be prepared to work hard and seek help outside of class. [Richard Dahlke's guide for students, How to Succeed in College Mathematics, is a valuable resource].
Students planning to complete the MELT major should consult with an advisor in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (Dr. Marta Magiera, Dr. Peter Jones or Dr. Rebecca Sanders) and with the Director of Undergraduate Advising in the College of Education. It is important for students to meet with their advisors as early in their studies as possible in order to map out a path to timely graduation. The major requires 29 credits of mathematics beyond the seven* that are required for all Education Majors.
The department seeks to provide each of its majors with a broad understanding of computer science. This broad understanding serves as a coherent framework in which the student can place his or her developing knowledge and technical skill. Moreover, the department seeks to provide each student with a solid foundation in the central ideas and methods of modern computer science. It seeks to produce computer scientists who know, understand and can apply these central ideas and methods to real problems.
Computer science is dynamic. It grows constantly. It evolves continuously. It regularly experiences revolutionary transformation. The Department seeks, therefore, to produce computer scientists who can adapt and grow along with their chosen profession.
The department does not seek to train its majors in any particular hardware device, software product or conceptual methodology. Rather, the goal is to provide its majors with the power to succeed in today's computer environment as well as tomorrow's. Students will, however, acquire ample specific knowledge during their education.
The computational mathematics curriculum is a program of study offered by the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science that blends the subjects of computer science and applied mathematics. The program is designed to provide a balance between mathematics and computer science that would otherwise require a double major to achieve. It includes those courses in the mathematics curriculum that emphasize applied mathematics as well as those from the computer science curriculum that develop the computing skills required by many of today's applications.
Data plays an ever-increasing role in today’s society. Marketing, ecommerce, security, image processing and genetic testing are just a few places where the use of data is impacting our daily lives, and Data Science is the emerging interdisciplinary field that seeks to extract and quantify knowledge from these data sets. Our major in Data Science (DTSC-BS; available beginning Fall 2016), integrates statistics and mathematics with computer science, allowing students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to discover and quantify new knowledge from data. Those prepared to integrate advanced technology with modern statistical and mathematical practices will have the opportunity to use in data in action to benefit society. Data scientists turn data into knowledge.
Bioinformatics is a field that lies at the intersection of biology, statistics, and computer science, which is focused on the generation and analysis of large biological datasets. Over the past two decades, this kind of “big data” has become increasingly central to scientists’ efforts to understand topics such as the organization and evolution of genomes, the large-scale regulation of gene expression, and the interactions among all of the proteins present in a particular cell. These questions have become central to fields as diverse as healthcare, conservation ecology, and civil engineering. Our interdisciplinary major in Bioinformatics (INBI-BS; available beginning Fall 2016) will be jointly housed in the Departments of Biological Sciences (BIOL) and Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS). INBI students will receive training of sufficient depth in both biology and computer science, such that they are competent to approach problems in bioinformatics from the perspective of both parent fields. Students will also be trained to actually use the computational tools of bioinformatics to solve problems or analyze datasets in biological sciences.