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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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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.


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.

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

Since in 2011, the Department of Mathematics has sponsored 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

Your initial mathematics placement is based on your mathematics subscore on the ACT or SAT exam. There are four possible placements:

  • Ready For MTH 097: You may enroll in MTH 097.
  • Ready For MTH 110: You may enroll in MTH 097 or MTH 110.
  • Ready For Courses Requiring Introductory Mathematics: You may enroll in most courses in the General Education Mathematical Sciences Foundations category (including CIS 160, GPY 200, PHI 103, STA 215, and MTH 122, 125, 131, and 221).
  • Ready For Courses Requiring Advanced Mathematics: You may enroll in any of the courses in the General Education Mathematical Sciences Foundations category, including MTH 201 (Calculus).

Mathematics proficiency testing is available to change your placement. Testing is recommended for the following situations:

  • You believe that your placement is not appropriate for your math level because your ACT or SAT score does not correctly represent your mathematics preparation.
  • Your major is engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, physical therapy, or any health science, and you do not have the Advanced initial placement.
  • Your initial mathematics placement is Introductory and you believe that you are ready for MTH 201 (Calculus). In this case, you should attempt the MTH 122 and MTH 123 proficiency tests.
  • 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. You should attempt the MTH 110 test.

Three proficiency tests are available. There are proficiency tests for MTH 110 (Intermediate Algebra), MTH 122 (College Algebra), and MTH 123 (Trigonometry). Testing is free, and results are available immediately.

Directions for Completing an Online Proficiency Test: Proficiency tests should be completed at least 48 hours prior to your attendance at new student orientation so that the information can be used to register you for the appropriate course.

Log in with your GVSU login and password. When you log in, you will see six tests-two for each course. The MTH 110 tests have 50 questions and a 60 minute time limit. The other tests have 20 questions and a 30 minute time limit. To pass, you need the following scores:

  • MTH 110: 34 correct to change your placement from MTH 110 to Introductory; 20 correct to change your placement from MTH 097 to MTH 110.
  • MTH 122 and 123: Each test requires 12 correct to pass.

You may attempt each of the six tests once.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

Mathematics Minor

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