Why Study Mathematics

Mathematicians use abstraction, analysis and technology to discover and explain underlying structure in numbers and forms as well as in society and the natural world. Mathematics is used as a tool to help solve and gain insight into real-world problems. Many academic disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, engineering, economics and management science, use mathematics to formulate, quantify, simulate, and communicate ideas, questions, and answers to the challenges faced in their fields.

Why Study Mathematics at Ship

Shippensburg University’s bachelor's of science in mathematics allows students to choose a concentration of courses leading to secondary education certification. In addition to a rigorous curriculum of mathematics courses, these students are required to complete a number of professional education courses and to student teach at the secondary level. Ship's undergraduate mathematics program gives students multiple options, and they can determine their career path based on their interests and goals.

Undergraduate mathematics majors are required to take an introductory computer science course. Technology is incorporated throughout the mathematics curriculum, and many of your mathematics courses will be taught in a computer classroom where computational and graphical software will be used to facilitate learning. Our students gain experience in the use of computers, calculators, and the Internet to function as a mathematician or mathematics educator in the workplace. Ship faculty focus on helping students apply math in real-world settings, and technology is a crucial part of our undergraduate math program.

You are encouraged to pursue undergraduate research projects with faculty mentors. Projects can be based around any mathematical idea or problem that interests you, and faculty often have a few good ideas of their own for research projects. Collaborating with faculty members often leads to innovative ideas. Research helps math majors get involved in the mathematics field before they graduate.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ship will enable you to pursue a broad spectrum of careers. Mathematician is ranked number 3 out of 10 of The Best Jobs of 2015. Some specific careers in mathematics held by our graduates include:

  • Statistician — uses mathematics and statistics to determine sampling and data collection methods, to monitor the execution of studies and the processing of data, and to advise on the strengths and limits of results.
  • Operations Research Analyst — uses mathematics and mathematical modeling to analyze real-world problems, to forecast the implications of various choices, and to decide upon the best alternative.
  • Systems Engineer — uses mathematical, computational, and analytical skills to work as a team member in identifying and solving system-wide problems.
  • Applied Mathematician — uses mathematical, modeling and computational skills to solve real-world problems in a wide range of fields that includes business, biology, engineering, and physics.
  • Actuary — uses calculus, statistics, numerical analysis, and modeling to determine rates and regulatory policies within the public and private insurance and financial arenas.

Graduates of Ship’s undergraduate mathematics program may pursue advanced degrees. An advanced degree will often lead to career advancement or to additional employment opportunities within the fields of education and industry.

The average salary for mathematicians in PA is $74,000.

If you plan to study mathematics at Ship, you should take four years of mathematics in high school including geometry and trigonometry. A solid foundation in pre-calculus mathematics is the best preparation for college. Advanced Placement credit is available for appropriate scores on the AP calculus exam. Oral and written communication skills as well as broad exposure to the natural sciences are also extremely helpful to students entering our bachelor's degree program in mathematics.

The 29-credit core curriculum consists of the standard calculus sequence and statistics, as well as a series of courses dealing with mathematical theory moving from discrete mathematics to linear algebra to algebra and finally analysis. Computers and calculators are used throughout the curriculum as tools to facilitate learning.

If you are interested in earning Secondary Education Certification with your bachelor’s of science degree, you will also take a block of courses in methods of teaching and participate in a semester-long internship teaching mathematics at both the middle school and high school level.

Students in other disciplines are welcome to take 18-21 credits in order to earn a minor in mathematics.

The Mathematics Department offers two concentrations to compliment your bachelor's of science degree:

See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements.

Student Groups

The Math Club is open to all students interested in mathematics and is the most popular extracurricular activity within the department. The Math Club’s activities include attendance at department seminars, travel to regional mathematics meetings, and several social events. The Math Club is a student chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

A subset of the Math Club is the Pennsylvania Iota Chapter of Kappa Mu Epsilon, a national mathematics honor society. Membership in Kappa Mu Epsilon is by invitation only. Only students who maintain a high academic standard are eligible.

For students interested in applied mathematics, Shippensburg is home to a student chapter of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Ship students also participate in annual mathematical modeling contests and a weekly problem-solving contest with problems posted. Winners receive prizes and are eligible to attend the national contest finals.

Mathematics and Computing Technologies Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1431
Department Website