APU Introduces Applied Mathematics Major

by Department of Mathematics and Physics

Azusa Pacific University’s Department of Mathematics and Physics recently launched the applied mathematics major. This program prepares students to solve real-world problems by developing mathematical models, applying computational algorithms, and analyzing the results.

Applied mathematics students develop foundational quantitative skills through core courses in differential equations, linear algebra, statistics, numerical analysis, computer science, and physics. After completing these initial courses, students can continue on a standard applied mathematics track, or can prepare for work in a particular discipline by choosing a concentration in actuarial science, computer science, or physics. In this way, students can develop expertise in mathematical and computational techniques and in a concrete field of application.

A highlight of the new program is the MATH 495 Mathematical Consulting Project course, which assigns small groups of students to work on real-world mathematical problems from industry and government under the mentorship of a faculty member, with the possibility of presenting results at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics conference during the following summer.

According to Bryant Mathews, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mathematics and Physics, “The applied mathematics major provides rigorous training in powerful mathematical techniques within a supportive environment. Students learn alongside faculty trained at world-class universities (including the University of Washington, the University of Chicago, UCLA, and Harvard University) who are committed to living out their faith through innovative teaching and thoughtful mentoring.”

Students who major in applied mathematics will be well prepared for the job market of the future. As “big data” and mathematical modeling play increasingly important roles in decision making in a variety of fields, employment in mathematics-related occupations is expected to grow by 28 percent over the next 10 years, compared to an overall growth in the workforce of 7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students majoring in the mathematical sciences have an average salary gain of 80 percent during their first decade of work, greater than that for any other type of major.

Students who concentrate in actuarial science will be prepared to step into one of the most highly ranked careers without even needing to attend graduate school. Actuaries use analytical skills to manage risk and to help organizations plan for the future. They play a key role in helping to promote confidence and stability in society.

The applied mathematics major may be right for you if you enjoy finding patterns, solving problems and puzzles, making strategic decisions, and using technology to visualize and experiment.

Students who major in applied mathematics can supplement their coursework with internships or research assistantships during the summer. These opportunities enable students to graduate with a strong resume, professional contacts, and workplace experience.

For more information, please contact Bryant Mathews, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mathematics and Physics, at bmathews@apu.edu or 626-815-6000, Ext. 6536.