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Applied Projects

The Applied Project component of the Applied Math major offers students the opportunity to engage in one or more interdisciplinary projects of original research in which mathematics are applied to an outside area. Students work under the guidance of faculty mentors in mathematics and/or in other departments.

Math 301 (Introduction to Upper Level Math)

Math 301 (Introduction to Upper Level Math) prepares students with the tools and skills required to engage in their applied project.  Students then work on their project in Math 302 (Applied Project), and revisit their results in Math 494-2 (Senior Capstone).  Over this 3-course sequence, students will

  • learn to be comfortable reading and learning from journal articles and other primary sources of scientific literature.
  • learn about areas of cutting edge research in applied mathematics, and how to approach a project of original research in these areas.
  • learn how to delve into a specialized area of study outside of mathematics, with the purpose of acquiring the necessary background in that area to understand how their mathematical expertise can be applied.
  • learn to write a scientific article following academic publishing guidelines, using standard industry editing software such as LaTeX.
  • learn to present the results of their project orally to various audiences of mathematicians and non-mathematicians.

Students have several opportunities to present their projects at local events on campus at Wheaton College such as mid-semester oral presentation sessions or the homecoming weekend poster session. In some cases, students may obtain funding to travel to local, regional, and national conferences to present their projects, and often appear as co-authors of articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

MATH 302 - Applied Project (2 hr)

Once you are equipped with research methods and tools learned in MATH 301 (Introduction to Upper Level Math), you will spend a full semester working individually or in small groups on a research project in applied mathematics.  The topic of the project is selected from a list of topics in the applied sciences (economics, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, epidemiology, pharmacology, supply chain logistics, or the social sciences).  Application of a mathematical tool (or set of tools) is required to model the problem, analyze data, obtain quantitative results, and complete the project.

You will have the opportunity to work under the direct guidance of one or more faculty adviser(s).  All students enrolled in the course gather as a class periodically during the semester to give updates on their progress, share methods and intermediate results, and present their projects to each other as oral and poster presentations.

MATH 494-2 - Applied Capstone (2 hr)

The faith integrative aspects of the projects are discussed and, whenever possible, connections made to faith-based missions serving in under-served communities.  This course also serves to provide a survey of important advances in applied mathematics, both historical and contemporary, and explore how the fundamental methods of applied mathematics have impacted other areas of inquiry and facilitated the improvement of society.  Critical reflection on the relationship between applied mathematics and other liberal arts disciplines and general education are fostered by class discussions supplemented by selected readings.

Recent projects

See examples of recent student projects.