Math at Goshen

Goshen College’s mathematics program is designed to develop your ability to solve problems, make inferences, develop abstractions, analyze logically, model the real world, and use computer software. Topics of study include calculus, logic, linear algebra, modeling, probability, statistics, abstract algebra and real analysis. The program is flexible; you may specialize in pure mathematics, applied mathematics or mathematics education.

At GC you will be taught by experts in a variety of classroom, laboratory, independent study, and internship settings. Your professors are available outside of class to answer your questions and discuss career options and your future plans. They will advise you individually according to your needs and interests.

The mathematics major involves about one-third of your total course work. Another third is made up of required general education courses, and the remaining third by electives, courses you choose to take. The senior seminar explores the relationship between mathematics or science and ethical issues. The seminar combines discussion, lectures and student presentations of individual papers to the group. If you plan to teach high school mathematics, you will also take teacher education courses.

Projects, research, reports, presentations, and discussion: all professionals engage in these activities and GC mathematics majors are given many opportunities to develop their skills in these areas. Students have completed projects on fractals, logic puzzles, prime numbers, dating, packing, cooling rates, graph coloring, and leftist numbers. Students present their work to their peers and discuss where improvements can be made. Some students have been part of the Maple Scholars summer research program researching symmetries, fair division, cooperative games, and origami.

A wide range of internships, geared individually to your interests and needs, are available. If you are interested in a computer programming position, for example, you may work with error analysis or statistics at a local business. If you are interested in mathematical modeling in physics, you might work with GC physics faculty modeling lipid bilayers or the mechanics of hand bells. If you plan on attending graduate school after graduation, you could do library research or investigate an open mathematical question. You may also work with spreadsheets and statistics as an actuary with a well-known insurance company. This hands-on experience often leads to potential jobs after graduation.

GC Mathematics majors have fun outside of class, too. They compete in the Indiana Collegiate Mathematics Contest and the International Mathematical Competition in Modeling. They attend conferences and sometimes give talks at those conferences. They host speakers and hold game and movie nights. Most are involved in other cocurricular activities including orchestra, basketball, theater, and a variety of clubs.

Teaching mathematics

If you enjoy helping others learn, are patient and dependable and could manage a classroom effectively, then perhaps teaching mathematics is for you. The time to enter the teaching field is now – the need for mathematics and science teachers is expected to be greater than average through the next century.

At GC, aspiring mathematics teachers become certified to teach grades 5 through 12. In addition to your general education and teacher education courses, you will complete the requirements for a mathematics major. Your professional education will include fieldwork, student teaching experiences and curriculum workshops.

GC is authorized by the Indiana State Board of Education to prepare teachers for elementary, middle and secondary schools. The teacher education program has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1954.

More than mathematics

To increase your career options, you might combine mathematics with another major or minor such as physics, computer science, business, psychology, chemistry, or biology. A combined major in computer science and applied mathematics is also available.

Many GC students who wish to go on to graduate school major in physics and mathematics. In addition to physics courses, they study calculus, analysis, differential equations and abstract algebra. The computer science field, like physics, also makes ample use of mathematics and aspiring computer scientists are interested in logic and numerical analysis.

If you are interested in becoming a high school chemistry teacher, you might combine a chemistry major with a major or minor in mathematics. If your goal is to be an applied mathematician, you might combine your courses in probability and statistics, numerical analysis and mathematical modeling with a minor in economics or social science.

Engineering the future

Many people combine studies in mathematics and physics for a career in engineering; GC graduates have studied at the top engineering schools in the country. Pre-engineering students spend three years at GC as mathematics, physics or chemistry majors and two years at an engineering school, such as Case Western Reserve University. Upon program completion they earn bachelor’s degrees from both schools.

At GC you will study mathematics, physics and chemistry to fulfill the basic requirements of the first two years in the engineering program. You will also study the arts, religion and humanities to fulfill GC’s liberal arts requirements. If you maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and at least a 3.0 grade point average in science and mathematics, you will automatically be admitted to the pre-engineering program at Case Institute.