Department of Mathematics

Undergraduate FAQ

FAQ Directory


What can I do with a Math degree?

A mathematics degree leads to many different kinds of careers. Our program provides our students with a flexibility in thinking and an intellectual sophistication which are important for career advancement. A recent survey of our graduates shows that they go into a wide variety of jobs, including programming, teaching, actuarial work, software engineering, systems engineering, military careers, insurance, banking, finance, employment with government agencies, and other areas. Each year we offer a careers seminar to inform our students about what kinds of job opportunities are available and how to make contact with employers.

Mathematics graduates also have a good record of being admitted to professional schools, such as law school, business school, or medical school. A pre-professional adviser is available to assist students who are interested in these areas.

Prof. Richard Penney has put together a great overview of the career possibilities open to Purdue Math graduates. Check out the Careers in Mathematics Page

What does it cost to study Math at Purdue?

As a state supported institution, Purdue has relatively low overall costs both for Indiana and out-of-state students. In the Third Edition of The Guide for Students and Parents to 101 of the Best Values in America's Colleges and Universities, Purdue was ranked in the top twenty schools listed.

For more information about tuition and Purdue in general, please visit the official Purdue Admissions site.

Who are the Math Professors? What is their background?

You can meet our faculty members and learn about their backgrounds and current research interests at our Math Faculty Directory page.

Are computers integrated into the courses?

For a well-rounded education in modern mathematics, it is important to have good computer skills. Many of our courses integrate computers into the curriculum, and the department has several well-equipped computer labs. Many of our students graduate with a double major in mathematics and computer science.

How large is the Math Department? Where is it on campus?

Find out the answers to these questions and more about the Department of Mathematics on the About Us page.

Math Major

What kinds of curriculum are open to Math majors?

Many of our students take a broad program which introduces them to the various areas of mathematics and its applications. The mathematics major can also be customized for those students who have more specific interests that they want to pursue. For example, we offer programs in Applied Mathematics, Operations Research and Actuarial Science which provide thorough training in the kind of mathematics used in business, industry and government. We also have Mathematics/Statistics and Mathematics/Computer Science programs which combine a solid mathematics foundation with courses in statistics and computer sciences. There is an extensive program in Mathematics Education leading to certification as a teacher for grades 5--12. For those who intend to go to graduate school in mathematics or a related field we offer a full program of Pure Mathematics, and advanced students have the opportunity to take graduate courses.

These mathematics-major options allow a large number of free electives, so that it is easy to pursue double majors, minors, or interests in other fields without necessarily prolonging the length of time it takes to graduate.

For more information on the various possibility open to a Math major, please contact one of the Undergraduate Advisors.

What are the course requirements for a Math major?

We offer several types of Math majors: Business, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Operations Research, Statistics, Education, and Actuarial Sciences. Though a math major has a core set of course requirements, each of these specialties has a distinct plan of study. To determine your plan of study, you should consult with your advisor.

Downloadable sample plans of study for each specialty can be found here:

Downloadable sample plans of study for each specialty for students who entered the program prior to Fall 2007 can be found here:

What are the course requirements for a Math minor?

The course requirements for completing a Math minor at Purdue can be found in the following PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file:

Who teaches the classes?

All courses for math majors are taught by professors. The class sizes are always 40 or less, and advanced classes have 25 or fewer students. All teachers are available to meet with students outside of class. In the first and second year calculus courses, help is available 40 hours a week from the teaching staff.

What about honors classes?

Honors classes are offered at every level from Freshman to Senior. These classes are taught in sections of 10 students or less. Students who take a full program of honors courses get a degree with Honors in Mathematics.

Are there Math scholarships available?

The College of Science offers a four-year Science Scholarship for outstanding students. Applicants for this scholarship are considered automatically for a number of scholarships from the Mathematics Department which are available both to Mathematics and to Actuarial Science majors. For more information on scholarships, please contact one of the Undergraduate Advisors.

How can I contact my advisor?

Check out our Math Advisors page.

How do I change my current major to a math major or dual major (CODO)?

If you are thinking about changing your major (officially called Change of Degree Objective or CODO), be sure to contact your current advisor and/or a Math advisor. You will also need the following information:

Outside the classroom

Are there math-specific activities or groups I can get involved in?

Yes, there are four clubs related to mathematics:

Are there research opportunities available for undergraduate students?

Yes, there are opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research projects under the guidance of mathematics faculty. Many of our faculty have web pages describing their current research interests. See our faculty directory for a general overview of who is interested in what. If you are interested in pursing a particular area of research, you should contact one of our advisors or the faculty member who specializes in that area.