Chairperson: Dr. Ralph W. Oberste-Vorth
Department Office: Root Hall, A-140C
Web site: mathcs.indstate.edu/dept/
The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science offers students the opportunity to major or minor in mathematics, mathematics education, or computer science. In support of the liberal arts and sciences mission of the college and Indiana State University, the department participates in the Foundational Studies Program, particularly through offering a Basic Studies courses in Quantitative Literacy and Mathematics. The department also participates in the University Honors Program. First-year students must take the placement examinationin order to register for a MATH class.
The undergraduate degree programs offered by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science include a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in mathematics, a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in mathematics education, and a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in computer science. Candidates for any of these degrees must successfully complete the University requirement of a minimum of 120 credits, including Foundational Studies course work, as well as the requirements for the major. Candidates for a bachelor of arts degree must also complete two years, or the equivalent, of a foreign language.
It is expected that students entering departmental degree programs will have completed the following high school mathematics courses: two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one semester of trigonometry. All prerequisite MATH and CS courses must be completed with a grade of C or better before a student can enroll in any course in the major. A grade of C or better must be achieved in any course taken in the department and used for credit in the computer science major.
Mathematics is among the most fascinating of all intellectual disciplines, the purest of all art forms, and the most challenging of games. The study of mathematics is not only exciting, but important; mathematicians have an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to society by helping to solve problems in diverse fields. The degree program in mathematics provides students with a thorough knowledge of basic theoretical mathematics, as well as initial training in applied areas such as combinatorics, statistics, or actuarial science. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics prepares students for fascinating jobs in statistics, actuarial sciences, mathematical modeling, and cryptography, as well as for graduate school leading to a research career in mathematics or statistics. Major employers of mathematicians include the Department of Defense and other agencies in federal and state governments. Private sector employers include research and testing services, educational services, security and commodity exchanges, management and public relations services, the pharmaceutical industry, banks, insurance companies, and public utilities. A strong background in mathematics is also necessary for research in many areas of computer science, social science, and engineering. Majors complete a culminating experiential learning requirement. In each course, the development of proofs is based on students’ knowledge of calculus and set theory, which is gained in their lower level mathematics courses.
Course work in mathematics education is based on national standards and designed to help future teachers find creative solutions to the challenges they face in the classroom. Mathematics education students learn the mathematics content needed to be effective teachers in middle and high schools, as well as learn to teach in the larger contexts of mathematics, science, and society. The program gives students many opportunities to practice what they are learning both by working collaboratively with their peers in university courses and through early experiences in schools.
Mathematics education majors complete a culminating experiential learning experience through student teaching. Student teaching courses include CIMT 401 and MATH 402. This is a 16-week full-time experience in both a middle school and high school setting. Licensure to teach mathematics in grades 5-12 is granted after successfully completing the two classes successfully and passing PRAXIS II in mathematics.
Computer science in its essence is a study of the possibilities and limits of computation for problem solving. Computer science requires logical thinking, mathematical ability, problem-solving skills, and analytical thought. For the student prepared for these challenges, it is an exciting and dynamic discipline that can lead to excellent job opportunities in business and industry. The areas of specialization include: databases, networking, operating systems, programming languages, computer architecture, multimedia, artificial intelligence, and software engineering. The program also prepares students for the study of computer science at the graduate level. Computer science majors complete a culminating experiential learning experience through Computer Science 452, where they analyze and design software applications; work on programming teams writing and debugging code; and through a formal presentation. Students are encouraged to take this class their senior year.
The college, in consultation with departments, assigns each student a faculty academic advisor. Majors and minors in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science are encouraged to maintain good contact with their advisor, and are expected to work with their advisor prior to registration each semester. Students who do so are more likely to meet their goals and achieve academic success. Students can find their assigned advisor by consulting the college, the department, or their DARS.
The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science maintains a Windows/NT microcomputer laboratory and a Unix/Linux microcomputer laboratory that are available for student use. Graduate students from the department provide academic assistance in the Math Resource Center, located in the basement of Root Hall.
Students majoring in computer science can join and participate in the activities of the student association of the Association for Computing Machinery. Students majoring in mathematics and mathematics education can join and participate in the student chapter of the honorary mathematics fraternity, Pi Mu Epsilon.