Minors in the Mathematical Sciences at NIU

The Department of Mathematical Sciences at Northern Illinois University offers programs leading to a minor in the Mathematical Sciences for students pursuing other undergraduate majors.

These programs enhance the students' mathematical skills, giving the student a distinct advantage in career preparation in many fields. A mathematics minor demonstrates that the student has developed facility with technical subjects and problem-solving skills. These programs can sharpen the mathematical abilities of students pursuing other scientific and technical degrees, but they can also complement the education of students in fields as diverse as education, foreign languages, or music.

Students who are mathematical sciences majors and are looking for minors in other departments should look here.

Planning Your Program

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The minors in Mathematical Sciences typically require about 6 courses in the Department. However, because of the prerequisites of the required courses, most of them must be taken in sequence rather than concurrently. Therefore students who do not begin the calculus sequence by their sophomore year will find it difficult to complete the minor. Students are strongly encouraged to speak with an advisor early in their program, or the director of undergraduate studies in the department of mathematical sciences.

Students who pursue any of these minors will also position themselves to complete a major in the Mathematical Sciences (possibly a double major with another program); both majors and minors must complete the calculus sequence and are strongly encouraged to do so starting as soon as possible after starting at NIU (if not before). Please read about our Bachelor of Science programs for more information.

For more information about any of the minors in the department, contact the Minors advisor:

  • Joseph Stephen (for General and Applied Math.) 753-6737
  • Renee Olsen (for math. Ed. and Ele. Math. Ed.) 753-5390

Programs of Study

There are four distinct paths leading to the minor, each beginning with the first calculus course, Math 229.

  • The General option is appropriate for all students with a strong interest in mathematics. Students are expected to complete courses with a significant theoretical component. Note: Students who complete the major in Computer Science with an emphasis in Theoretical Computer Science will automatically complete the coursework required for this minor (and are encouraged to consider a double major in Mathematics!)
  • The Applied Mathematics option has been specifically designed for engineering students, many of whose programs already require the three semesters of calculus, differential equations, and a statistics course. These students may fulfill the requirements for this minor by completing one or two additional mathematics courses. (Students are cautioned to consider course prerequisites carefully in advance of planning a course schedule to meet this minor.)
  • Students completing the Mathematics Education option must complete five or six courses beyond the calculus sequence. These courses have been arranged so that students who will be certified to teach by the State of Illinois will also earn an endorsement to teach mathematics, either grades 6-8 or 9-12, according to the courses selected. (Note that fulfilling the requirements for the minor is similar to, but neither necessary nor sufficient for, earning the teaching endorsement.)
  • The new minor in Elementary Mathematics Education is specifically designed for future elementary-school teachers who wish to be mathematics specialists in elementary schools. Provided that appropriate courses are selected, this minor also leads to an endorsement to teach mathematics in grades 6-8 in Illinois. Students majoring in Elementary Education are strongly encouraged to consult with an advisor for details. More information is available.

Additional Notes

Students whose major is in the social sciences or business are especially encouraged to consider early the possibility of pursuing a minor in mathematical sciences. Those majors require students to take either the one-semester calculus course (MATH 211) or the first course (MATH 229) of the three-semester calculus course usually taken by science and engineering students. Since students may not receive credit for both these courses, those considering a minor in our department who have the ability to take MATH 229 are encouraged to do so.

It is possible to minor in mathematics and complete the requirements for an Endorsement to teach mathematics at an appropriate level, if you already have a valid Teaching Certificate. However, teaching mathematics at the high school level requires approximately the equivalent of the mathematics major. For more information consult the web pages about the major or teacher certification, or contact an advisor within the department.

For complete course requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalogue. Students may elect to complete the minors listed above even if they are not listed in the edition of the Catalogue which the student elects to use to for graduation.

Last modified: 10/02/2015 (djg)