- Offered as:
- Specialization track in Mathematics
Applied mathematics, a focus option in the mathematics major, prepares you to use theories and techniques, such as mathematical modeling and computational methods, to formulate and solve practical problems in business, government, engineering, computing, and physical, biological, and social sciences.
- Strengths of the program
- Math lab facilities include 25 networked Linux computers with software for differential equations, linear algebra, and calculus, and two PC labs containing 40 computers with math education software.
- Students gain strong instruction in analysis/differential equations, computational math, discrete math, mathematical modeling, mathematics education, optimization, probability, and statistics.
- Math majors assist faculty on research projects ranging from atmospheric science to genetics using the department's research-computing workstations.
- The Owen Science and Engineering Library subscribes to more than 200 math journals, and there are 15,000 volumes in the math section of the library.
- Our internship program places students at Boeing Corporation, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and other national labs and businesses.
- You can join a math, science, and engineering community residence hall at WSU Pullman—share classes with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s computer lab.
- Featured courses
Here's a quick overview of the core courses of the math major and the featured courses in the applied mathematics focus option.
For complete course requirements and planning guides, see the math department's Mathematics Guide for the Undergraduate (pdf).
All math majors take the same set of core courses as a foundation for the degree. A quick overview:
Calculus I & II
Probability and Statistics
Intro to Math Analysis
Applied mathematics focus
Applied mathematics is the most flexible of the math major's four focus options. If you're interested in a specific application of math, your advisor can help you create a customized plan. Most students choose a track similar to the three listed here.
Focuses on computer intensive applications in business, economics, engineering, physics, biology, and social sciences. This option is also a good general background for work in the computer industry.
The computational mathematics track features courses like these:
Applied Math I
Focuses on methods of analyzing problems in business, engineering, physics, social science, and biology. Because of the variety of applications, there are career opportunities for mathematical modelers at all levels of training, from bachelor’s degree to doctoral degree.
The mathematical modeling track involves courses like these:
Intro to Mathematical Biology
Intermediate Differential Equations
Applied Math I
Focuses on scientific methods for determining the optimal design and operation of machinery and human systems in industry, government, the military, or universities.
In an operations research emphasis, you'll take courses like these:
For complete core course requirements and planning guides, see the math department's Mathematics Guide for the Undergraduate (pdf).
See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
- Scholarships and financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.
For all students at WSU
Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:
- Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.
For math majors
Endowed scholarship funds are available to math majors through the Department of Mathematics and the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, please visit the Department of Mathematics scholarship page.
- Campus organizations and activities
WSU has hundreds of student clubs and organizations, so whatever your academic interests or personal hobbies, you're bound to find someone here to share them with.
Several organizations and activities cater specifically to math majors. For instance:
- Math Club (a support group for math students that sponsors speakers, films, and other activities)
- The Washington State University national math modeling team
- The national Putnam mathematics competition
A focus in applied mathematics can lead to any number of jobs in very different fields. Here's a quick look at where computational math, mathematical modeling, and operations research could take you.
Many organizations — large businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, etc. — rely on computational mathematicians to make the most effective use of their computer capabilities. Common entry job titles include research analyst, systems analyst, mathematical analyst, and operations analyst. Some employers prefer hiring candidates with master’s degrees.
Computational mathematics also provides an excellent background if you plan to work in the computer industry.
Starting salaries for those with a bachelor’s degree in computational mathematics are usually in the $40,000 range.
Mathematical modelers are employed by:
- Colleges and universities — teaching and scientific research
- Business and industry — manufacturing, marketing, aerospace, agriculture, communications, and so on
- Laboratories and research centers — national research labs (such as Pacific Northwest National Laboratories), military research labs (such as the U.S.Naval Research Laboratory), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and corporate R&D (such as Bell Laboratories)
Operations researchers work for industry, government, the military, and universities.
Traditional jobs in this field include inventory control, maintenance scheduling, marketing, financial planning, regional planning, and public health. Job opportunities have expanded to include the fields of criminal justice, banking operations, population control, meteorology, energy development, ecological systems, and medical decision-making.
Operations researchers often move up to managerial positions or into related areas such as computer specialists, statisticians, marketing strategists, and city planners.