Bachelors degrees in Mathematical Sciences at NIU

The Department of Mathematical Sciences at Northern Illinois University offers programs leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. These programs prepare students with diverse career goals, and develop unique strengths and talents which are valuable in an increasingly technical society.

A Mathematical Sciences degree prepares students to be innovative and imaginative in complex situations --- ready for a world of challenges. A mathematics degree demonstrates many obvious career skills: attention to detail, comfort with numbers and computation, and a familiarity with standard mathematical models. Less obvious are the skills which develop during the study of higher mathematics. The student develops rigorous, logical thinking, problem-solving skills, appreciation of and familiarity with complex structures and algorithms, and the ability to learn technical, detailed, or abstract material.

If you would like more information about potential applications of
your mathematics degree in the job market, contact an advisor in the
Department, the University's Career Counseling Office, or professional
societies such as the Mathematical Association of America. The MAA
web site highlights varied career stories of math students; see
`http://www.maa.org/students/career.html`

A sample four-year program of courses is attached. Note that a typical mathematics major entering from high school can begin with Calculus courses and complete the Bachelor of Science degree in four years. Students with stronger or weaker backgrounds are also welcome to pursue the degree. In all cases, students should consult an advisor regularly to ensure the degree can be completed as efficiently and productively as possible.

You should obtain an Undergraduate Catalogue and retain it until graduation; it contains the statement of all program requirements and a description of each course offered through the Department.

For more information, please contact an advisor in the Department. Your initial advisor is

- Dr. Qingkai Kong
- Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Department of Mathematical Sciences, 320 Watson Hall
- De Kalb, Illinois, 60115
- Telephone: 815-753-6739; 815-753-0566
- Fax: 1-815-753-1112
- Email: qkong@niu.edu

Students may select any of the six emphases within the Department best suited to their interests and career goals. The emphases all share a unique mixture of theory and application.

During the first two years of the program, all students will investigate the calculus and its applications, linear algebra, basic statistics, and the fundamentals of mathematical modeling. Additionally, all mathematics students will learn a scientific computing language and become familiar with current computing technology. These courses introduce students to the mathematical tools used in scientific applications, to technical communication, and to the methods of mathematical reasoning. Students considering another science or engineering major will also find these courses helpful whether they select a different major, a double major with mathematics, or a mathematics minor.

More specialized studies are pursued in the last two years of the program, within one of the six emphases:

- The
**General Mathematics**emphasis offers the broadest and most theoretical program of study. It is often an appropriate choice for students who wish to pursue graduate degrees or attend professional school or teach in a community college or above. - The
**Applied Mathematics**emphasis offers a course of study which focuses on the application of mathematics to real-world problems. This is an appropriate choice for students interested in problems arising from industry or engineering, and prepares them for many technical fields. Students in this emphasis also pursue a minor in a related discipline. - In the
**Computational Mathematics**emphasis, students investigate the nature of computation, and the methods used to compute mathematical quantities accurately and efficiently. Such skills are increasingly valuable in a world which uses computers heavily. The topics of study are not tied to any particular programming language, operating system, or hardware. - The emphasis in
**Probability and Statistics**investigates the use and theory of probabilistic and statistical methods. Students within this emphasis become familiar with several statistical computer packages which are commonly used in industry and business. This emphasis develops skills which are of value in industry, finance, and insurance. This is an appropriate emphasis for students preparing for actuarial work. - The emphasis in
**Mathematics Education**prepares math teachers for the middle and high schools. Students in this emphasis usually earn both a mathematics degree and Illinois State Certification to teach in secondary schools. Graduates of this program are recognized as some of the best high school mathematics teachers in Northern Illinois. - Students with the emphasis in
**Actuarial Science**would typically enter the actuarial profession upon graduation. The rigorous curriculum carefully combines foundational training with all the learning objectives of the first three examinations of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The emphasis will be available in the fall of 2007.

All classes required by majors are taught in small sections by our faculty. This includes the first courses in Calculus. In fact, our approach is almost unique among large universities, where calculus may be taught in classes of over one hundred or be taught by teaching assistants. Since the Calculus sequence represents a year and a half of work, and forms the cornerstone of further mathematical study, our approach is an extremely valuable offering to students. Most mathematics majors will never have a math class with more than twenty-five students, and will take most of their courses with our regular faculty.

Reflecting the dual teaching/research role of a major university, Northern Illinois University is home to recognized mathematical researchers, and some of the best mathematics teachers in the state. The Department values its excellent reputation for quality teaching, and is proud of the large number of award-winning teachers within the Department. Many of these teachers bring topics from their current research into the classroom. Our faculty members are accessible to students at regular scheduled hours and by appointment.

The Department also has its own Honors program, to recognize students who excel in their studies. In addition, we offer Master's and Doctoral degrees, for which our own undergraduates are very well prepared. Even students not pursuing graduate work benefit from increased course offerings and interaction with advanced students.

There are plenty of opportunities for students beyond classwork, too. Some students may assist faculty with research projects or apply for internships. Some compete in local and national mathematics competitions. There is an active Math Club hosting talks about career options, tours of local labs, math movies, and fellowship with other majors. (There are nearly three hundred mathematics majors. About half are women; many are minorities.)

The Mathematics degree with the emphasis in Mathematics Education from Northern Illinois University is a strong teaching credential. NIU has a long history of preparing top quality teachers, and the Department of Mathematical Sciences is committed to the development of the best mathematics teachers in the state. The program prepares teachers to teach the full spectrum of high-school mathematics, including Advanced Placement courses. The Department has professors whose area of specialty and research is mathematics education, who teach a wide variety of methods of mathematical instruction and the theory behind these methods; most have also had public school teaching experience.

Students in the Mathematics Education emphasis work closely with advisors within the Department. This is a particular strength of the Department, about which our Mathematics Education students are universally enthusiastic.

Mathematics Education majors at NIU student-teach in some of Illinois' best school districts, and our graduates teach in many of the middle and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago, the collar counties, and throughout Northern Illinois.

If you are considering being a secondary-school mathematics teacher, you should read more detailed information about the teacher preparation programs in our department.

M229 Calculus I | M430 Real Analysis I |

M230 Calculus II | M431 Real Analysis II |

M232 Calculus III | M434 Numerical Linear Algebra |

M240 Linear Algebra | M435 Numerical Analysis |

M336 Differential Equations | M440 Complex Analysis |

M339 Engineering Math I | M444 Linear Programming |

M353 Geometry | M450 Topology |

M360 Mathematical Modeling | M456 Linear Geometry |

M380 Combinatorics | M460 Modeling Dynamical Systems |

M401 Secondary School Clinical Experience | M480 Number Theory |

M410 Methods of Middle School Instruction | S350 Introduction to Probability and Statistics |

M412 Methods of High School Instruction | S470 Probability Theory |

M413 Student Teaching | S471 Probability Models and Applications |

M416 Topics in Mathematics for Teachers | S472 Mathematical Statistics |

M420 Algebra I | S473 Statistical Methods I |

M421 Algebra II | S474 Statistical Methods II |

M423 Linear and Multilinear Algebra | S478 Statistical Forecasting |

- Registration and Records (course schedules etc.)
- Official Catalog Course Descriptions
- Undergraduate programs in the NIU Department of Mathematical Sciences

Offsite Career information:

- American Mathematical Society
- AMS Professional Carreers brochure
"Careers in Mathematics,"
*(Useful information for the collegebound high school student with an interest in mathematics)* - Check out the description and assessment of career opportunities for Mathematicians, as described in the Occupational Outlook Handbook compiled by the National Bureau of Labor Statistics

- AMS Professional Carreers brochure
"Careers in Mathematics,"
- MAA - Mathematical Association of America
- SIAM- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

**Director of Undergraduate Studies:**
Dr. Qingkai Kong

**E-mail:**
qkong@niu.edu