Mathematics is universal, beautiful, and practical.
The mathematics faculty at Pacific University is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment in which every student can develop and apply analytical skills, computational fluency, and mathematical knowledge in diverse contexts. We strive to help our students appreciate mathematics as a creative endeavor and engage in the world as productive, critical-thinking citizens.
The Mathematics major provides students a strong mathematics foundation with emphases in several key areas including analysis, abstract algebra and applied mathematics. Students completing this major typically pursue careers in applied mathematics, enter graduate programs in mathematics and other fields, and complete certification requirements to teach mathematics in K-12 (see the Education section of this catalog for more details).
The department maintains common goals for all of its students (majors, minors and others). Students in our courses will learn strategies for abstract problem solving, gain a basic understanding of computers and the broad implications of their use, be exposed to mathematics as a liberal art, and be given the opportunity to hone their computational skills.
Students with a program of study in Mathematics learn abstract mathematical constructs and paradigms. They develop logical thinking and communication skills through argumentation and proof. Students study methods of mathematical modeling, and develop confidence and competence in developing models and carrying out algorithms. Students learn to read and speak the language of mathematics. Graduates of our program have gone on to engage in a wide variety of post-graduate activities, including work in mathematics and science-related fields or graduate study in mathematics or education
Program Learning Outcomes
The Pacific University Mathematics Program introduces students to mathematics as a unique mode of inquiry, a rigorous and highly creative endeavor, characterized by powerful utility as well as profound beauty. To this end, our goals are to promote, at all levels of our curriculum:
- Computational and quantitative fluency
- Students will master mathematical notation and computational tasks at levels commensurate with their academic major and professional goals.
- Students will interpret and express graphical and algebraic representations of quantitative information, and will be able to translate between these representations.
- Students will display algorithmic literacy in their construction, execution, and analysis, of problem-solving and calculation routines.
- Logical reasoning and critical thought
- Students will appreciate the precision required in formulating definitions, mathematical statements, and logical implications within an axiomatic system.
- Students will adhere to this precision and rigorous logical reasoning in their own constructions and critiques of formal mathematical proofs.
- Abstraction and generalization
- Students will import the mathematical techniques used in particular example problems into the context of more general problems.
- Students will recognize how abstract study of a mathematical object’s properties allows one to situate that object, and related mathematical theory, in more general settings.
- Applications of mathematics
- Students will explore the utility of mathematics as a powerful computational tool in the natural and social sciences.
- Students will translate problems from across disciplines into mathematical models, allowing for the leveraging of sophisticated mathematical theory that often lends new insight into these problems, and as a lens through which one gains novel perspectives on a variety of practical problems.
- Students will appreciate and demonstrate the uniquely mathematical style of communication whose hallmarks are clarity, concision, and rigorous logic.
- Students will effectively communicate complex mathematical ideas and carefully reasoned arguments both orally and in writing to a range of audiences.
- Mathematics as a liberal art
- Students will recognize the important philosophical, cultural, and historical contributions of mathematical ideas.
- Students will appreciate mathematics for its own sake, reveling in the beauty and philosophical recreations that its study affords.
- Career Development
- Teach mathematics majors and minors the knowledge that will enable them to pursue challenging careers in academia, industry, government, business, and education.
- Provide students with the mathematical foundation required for graduate work in mathematics, statistics, medicine, law, engineering, and natural and social sciences.
- Prepare undergraduates across the college for success in their chosen careers through the development of logical and critical-thinking skills.
The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science offers majors and minors in both Computer Science and Mathematics.
The computer science program at Pacific University is characterized by small classes, close interaction with the faculty, and a deep yet broad curriculum rarely encountered at a small university. To prepare students for a discipline that is constantly changing, the curriculum integrates a variety of programming languages in a manner that emphasizes a thorough understanding of language structure. The student experience culminates with a two-semester software engineering capstone sequence that results in a substantial piece of original software. The confidence and knowledge gained from the program allows each student to pursue either a graduate education in computer science or immediate employment with such industry leaders as Intel, Microsoft and Google.
The computer science program maintains common goals for all of its students (majors, minors, and others). Students in our courses learn strategies for abstract problem solving, gain a basic understanding of computers and the broad implications of their use and have the opportunity to hone their computational skills.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of computation and programming.
- Apply strategies for abstract problem solving
- Discuss the theoretical basis of the mathematics and symbolic concepts that underlie computing.
- Apply knowledge through the design and implementation of a large scale computer application.
- Be able to communicate in a collaborative environment, present ideas, and document work at all stages of software development.
- Identify the skills necessary to become a lifelong learner in the rapidly changing field of Computer Science.
ProgramsBachelor of ScienceMinor