Skip to main content

2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

Search Help

Mathematics - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.

Chair: Aboufadel. Professors: Aboufadel, Austin, Beckmann, Fishback, Haidar, Mack, Novotny, Schlicker, Sundstrom; Associate Professors: Billings, Boelkins, Coffey, Dickinson, Dogru, Gardner, Golden, Hodge, Smith, Talbert, Tefera, Walker, C. Wells, P. Wells, Yu; Assistant Professors: Alayont, Drake, Hindeleh, Kasmer, Klingler, Parker, Suh; Instructors: Friar, Mays; Affiliate Faculty: Bailey, Fackler, Frobish, Gross, Hammer, Jones, Mannard, Meyering, Srinivasan, Stone, Thull, Welling; Visiting Assistant Professor: Basu.


Degrees Offered: B.S., B.A., in mathematics; minors in mathematics. Teaching certification in both major (elementary and secondary) and minor (elementary and secondary). The mathematics major is offered within the Department of Mathematics. Options within the major lead to mathematics careers in industry, in elementary and secondary teaching, and as preparation for graduate school. It is strongly recommended that all students interested in mathematics as a major discuss career plans with one or more members of the department and obtain an advisor in the department as soon as possible.

Career Opportunities

Are you challenged by problems? Do you enjoy working on their solutions? If so, you have a wide variety of career opportunities after completing the appropriate mathematical background. Some of these opportunities require only a college degree in mathematics while others require additional work in another discipline or graduate training. A degree in mathematics opens many doors to careers in business, industry, and education.

Scholarship Opportunities

Mathematics Scholarships. These scholarships are given to mathematics majors (double majors are eligible for these scholarships) to honor students with outstanding performance and to encourage them to continue in mathematics at that level of excellence. These scholarships are made possible by the generous support of contributors to the Mathematics Endowment Fund. The scholarship amount is at least $500. Application packets for these scholarships are available from the mathematics department. Applications are due in February. Contact the math office for the exact due date and the eligibility requirements.

Donald and Barbara VanderJagt Mathematics and Athletics Scholarship. The donors of this scholarship recognize that there are two activities on campus that take a considerable amount of time and commitment, namely, majoring in mathematics and participating in athletics. A significant number of students do either of these, a considerably smaller number of students do both. The purpose of this scholarship is to recognize and award students who both major in mathematics and participate in athletics. The donors also recognize that the outstanding mathematics major and the person who excels on an intercollegiate athletic team will each be recognized in their respective units. The intention of this scholarship is to recognize student athletes who may not be outstanding in either area, but still are committed to both areas and spend considerable time and energy to stay competitive both in the classroom and on the playing field. Application packets for these scholarships are available from the mathematics department and the applications are due to the Financial Aid Office in March. Contact the math office or the Financial Aid Office for the exact due date.

Student Organizations

The Mathematics and Statistics Club is a place for all students interested in mathematics and/or statistics. The Club organizes many activities throughout the year, including showings of math related movies, the annual fall picnic, career and advising events, math/stats software workshops, social gatherings and more. Any student currently enrolled at GVSU can become a member of the Math and Stats Club.

Honors Organization

Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) is the National Mathematics Honor Society. To be nominated for membership in Pi Mu Epsilon a student must possess an overall GPA of at least 3.3 and a mathematics GPA of at least 3.3, and have completed 18 credit hours toward the mathematics major. At least 9 of these credit hours must have been taken at Grand Valley State University and consist of mathematics or statistics courses at the level of MTH 203 (Calculus III) or higher that count toward our mathematics major.

Study Abroad

Beginning in 2011, the Department of Mathematics is sponsoring a study abroad program to Tanzania, for mathematics education. In addition, many study abroad programs offer a wide selection of courses, including mathematics courses that can be approved by the Department of Mathematics to contribute to a mathematics major. Contact the Padnos International Center or the Department of Mathematics for more information.

Internship Program

This program enables juniors and seniors with jobs involving mathematics to earn credit for academic work related to the technical skills required in performing the job. Contact the department for further information.

Mathematics Placement Information

Our goal is that during your first year at GVSU, you enroll in the correct mathematics or statistics course that fits your academic plans and your background. As a first step, when you are admitted, an initial mathematics placement is determined based on your mathematics subscore on the ACT or SAT exam. There are four possible initial placements:

  • MTH 097 - Elementary Algebra: You may directly enroll in MTH 097.
  • MTH 110 - Algebra: You may directly enroll in MTH 097 or MTH 110. You are strongly suggested to enroll into a math course in your first semester.
  • Waiver of MTH 110: You may directly enroll into the following courses in the general education mathematical sciences category: CIS 160, MTH 122, 125, 131, or 221, PHI 103, or STA 215. The choice of course depends on your major and your interests. If you are planning on taking MTH 122, 125, 131, or 221, you are strongly suggested to enroll into these courses as early as possible in your undergraduate studies.
  • Advanced Waiver/Override: You may directly enroll into any of the courses in the general education mathematical sciences category, which are CIS 160, MTH 122, MTH123, MTH 125, MTH 131, MTH 201, MTH 221, PHI 103 or STA 215. The choice of course depends on your major and interests.

If you believe that you are capable of doing mathematics work above your initial placement, then you are strongly encouraged to take one or more mathematics proficiency tests at orientation or during the semester. Successful completion of a proficiency test allows you to waive a pre-requisite for certain mathematics courses. There are proficiency tests for MTH 110 (Algebra), MTH 122 (College Algebra), and MTH 123 (Trigonometry).

For example, if your initial mathematics placement is "waiver of MTH 110", and because of the mathematics course you took during your senior year in high school you believe you are ready for MTH 201 (Calculus), then at orientation you should take the MTH 122 and MTH 123 proficiency tests. If you are successful with those tests, then you can register for MTH 201.

Another example is if your initial placement is "MTH 097" and you believe your algebra skills are strong enough to either start in MTH 110 or waive MTH 110, then you should take the MTH 110 proficiency test at orientation. You can also take the test during the semester.

Some other notes about mathematics proficiency testing:

  • Testing is free and results are available immediately.
  • This is the most efficient way for students to demonstrate proficiency in MTH 110, 122, and 123 and therefore avoid needing to take these courses.
  • Students are allowed to take each test twice, but not on the same day.
  • Students can come back for another orientation session to take the test. The tests are also offered at the beginning of the fall semester, and other times during the year.
  • Passing the 122 or 123 proficiency test does not replace the general education mathematics requirement.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

Mathematics Minor

Master of Education Advanced Content Specialization in Mathematics

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.