At the foundations of the discipline, mathematical researchers puzzle over problems of consistency, the nature of truth, problems of logic, and determining means for ensuring correct derivation of mathematical theorems. The skills that accrue to students engaged in these kinds of analyses, and the intellectual capacity to transfer mathematical methods to myriad applications, afford expanding life and career opportunities to well-schooled practitioners of mathematics.
The mission of the department of mathematics at Wheaton College is to prepare students to be transforming agents of Christ in a needy world beset by difficult problem. Most, if not all, of these problems require careful analysis and the application of insightful problem solving skills. Located on the main floor of Wheaton's science building, students and faculty in the department of mathematics and computer science interact with physical and biological scientists, geologists and social scientists as well as other disciplines at the intellectual cross-roads of Wheaton's curriculum to develop cross-disciplinary approaches to problem solving. The purpose of the mathematics curriculum is to present the basic concepts and methods in modern mathematics, to develop the student's ability to think critically using the axiomatic method, and to apply these ideas to other disciplines.
Department graduates enter graduate schools in mathematics, computer science, or related disciplines. Others undertake careers or advanced training in actuarial science, teaching, economics, business, and statistics. No matter their eventual fields of service, while at Wheaton mathematics and computer science students study and work individually and in small groups with department faculty whose professional interests include differential geometry, dynamical systems, fractal geometry and chaos theory, math modeling, computing, applied mathematics, probability and statistics, knot theory, math analysis, and modern algebra. Multiple opportunities exist for funded summer research, faculty-student mentored publishing efforts, and working in the department as a recitation or teaching assistant. In the end, department majors hone their skills for a lifetime of service for “Christ and His kingdom.”
Wheaton College offers two different mathematics programs. Students may choose to complete a Mathematics major (leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, unless they request a Bachelor of Arts degree), or an Applied Mathematics major (leading to a Bachelor of Science degree). These majors provide the mathematical background for students preparing for (1) certification in secondary education; (2) graduate study in a mathematical discipline; (3) a career in an area using mathematics, such as engineering, economics, statistics, or actuarial science.
Students in any major can complete a Mathematics minor by taking 20 hours of mathematics courses beyond MATH 101.