Mathematics Major and Minor

Math majors talk through solving a problem - Math Degree

Our mathematics program is designed to prepare students for careers in both teaching and industry. Students who complete mathematics major or minor programs have historically been viewed by employers as being well prepared for jobs that require problem solving and creative thinking skills.

Mathematics Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics: This degree provides students with broad exposure to disciplines in mathematics. Many of our students in this major enroll in either graduate programs in the mathematical sciences or professional schools (like law and medicine). Our two minors are popular among students majoring in both science and non-science disciplines.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Education: This degree prepares students for a career in secondary education (grades 9-12) as mathematics educators.

Minors in Mathematics 

  • Minor in Mathematics: The mathematics minor provides students with a foundation in both abstract reasoning and computation fluency. Students completing a math minor have strong problem solving and critical thinking skills. A minor in mathematics is excellent preparation for students wishing to pursue law school, computer science, elementary education, economics, and many other careers that depend on an ability to think and communicate logically and clearly.
  • Minor in Applied Mathematics: The applied mathematics minor is an excellent complement to such majors as economics, business, computer science, chemistry, physics, biology and sports medicine. It is designed to give students a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and a more robust set of quantitative reasoning skills, which are increasingly important in the fields of business and the physical sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Research with Faculty

As one of the best ways to learn mathematics is to work on research problem, mathematics majors are strongly encouraged to engage in undergraduate research projects with a faculty mentor or in summer research programs. Student researchers are encouraged to present the fruits of their work at local or national math conferences sponsored by the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, and to submit their work for publication. Support for conference presentations is typically available. In recent years, several students have won local or national awards for their presentations or posters and have had papers published in high quality refereed journals. If you are interested in working with a faculty member in one of the following topics, please contact the professor.

Dr. Joshua Bowman:
  • Topics: dynamics, topology, configuration spaces
  • Recent projects: (1) Computing topological properties of a configuration space (2) Determining the dynamical behavior of geodesics on a surface 
Dr. Courtney Davis:
  • Topics: Mathematical biology
  • Recent project: Creating mathematical models for studying biological systems such as newt, trout, and crayfish populations during droughts
Dr. Kevin Iga:
  • Topics: Mathematical physics: supersymmetry, codes, topology
Dr. Kendra Killpatrick:
  • Topics: Combinatorics: permutation patterns, enumerative combinatorics, Young tableaux, Catalan polynomials
  • Recent project: Giving a combinatorial proof of a Catalan binomial identity
Dr. Timothy Lucas:
  • Topics: Mathematical biology, programming educational apps
  • Recent projects: (1) Designing a mobile app for graphically investigating differential equations (2) Creating a mathematical simulation for investigating chaparral vegetation in response to frequent wildfires (3) Modeling emergency airplane evacuations (4) Modeling gang violence in an urban setting (5) Investigating the effectiveness of iPads in the mathematics classroom
Dr. David Strong:
  • Topics: Linear algebra, image analysis

While it is possible to work with a professor outside of any formal program, Pepperdine offers a number of undergraduate research programs that provide structure and occasionally funding for these projects.

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative (AYURI): AYURI is a competitive program to conduct research with faculty during the academic year.

Faculty/Student Mentor Program: The faculty/student mentor program provides funds for students to engage in research under the direction of a faculty member.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Biology (SURB): While predominantly focusing on biology, SURB is a summer program that includes mathematical biology programs.

Beyond conducting research at Pepperdine, there are additional undergraduate research opportunities across colleges and universities nationwide. For a list of research opportunities, visit the AMS or Math Programs website.

Learning and Leadership Opportunities

Students earning their degree in mathematics have a variety of learning and leadership opportunities outside of the classroom. The following represent some of the extra-curricular activities available to students:

  • Serving as a teaching assistant or grader
  • Serving as a mathematics tutor
  • Listening to or giving a Tuesday Tea Talk
  • Participating in the Mathematics or Science Modeling Club
  • Being the lunch guest of a mathematics professor
  • Conducting undergraduate research with a faculty mentor

Additional opportunities available throughout the summer include:

SURB: While predominantly focusing on biology, SURB is a summer program that includes mathematical biology programs.

Mathfest: A four-day mathematics conference, generally in late July or early August, that features mathematical talks, social events, and a wide-range of opportunities to explore mathematics. Students who have been conducting research can present their work at the conference.

National Security Agency: The NSA offers multiple summer opportunities for students interested in cryptography, signals, and number theory. Click here to learn more.

Park City Mathematics Institute: Hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study, the institute is held every summer in Park City, Utah. While there are separate programs for undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, and high school teachers, there are also many opportunities for these groups to interact with each other. The institute provides a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate students to learn math and network with fellow mathematicians.

A list of semester and summer opportunities can be found here.

Clubs and Associations

Pepperdine Math Club

The Pepperdine Math Club provides students with the opportunity to become leaders both in the Pepperdine community and the community at large. The club offers a variety of activities that span department and campus-wide events including:

  • Tuesday Tea Talks
  • Semester barbecues
  • Pi Day Celebrations
  • Annual Math Formal
  • Pi Mu Epsilon Honor Society meetings
  • Campus and community outreach through math class visits at local elementary and high schools

Science Modeling Club

Science Modeling Club is a venue for learning mathematical and scientific modeling in a fun environment. It is open to students of all majors and academic backgrounds. In the club, students ask quantitative questions and then explore modeling approaches, model writing, analysis, simulation, parameterization, and interpretation of results that feed back into asking new questions. Students are also encouraged to participate in team modeling competitions such as COMAP's Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling.

Pi Mu Epsilon Honor Society

Pi Mu Epsilon is an honor society dedicated to recognizing students who successfully pursue mathematical understanding. Undergraduate students are eligible for membership once completing two semesters of calculus, two additional math courses (at or above the calculus level), and maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  

Additional Clubs and Associations

Non-Pepperdine clubs and organizations that math majors might be interested in are listed below:


Tutoring is available through the Seaver Student Success Center for the following courses:

  • Math 103
  • Math 120
  • Math 140
  • Math 141
  • Math 150
  • Math 151
  • Math 250

Next Steps for Graduates

The mathematics major at Seaver College is designed to prepare students for graduate school, careers in teaching, or careers in industry. The mathematics education major is designed specifically for students preparing to become math teachers in high school. Students who complete mathematics majors are generally viewed by industry, government, and academia as being well prepared for jobs that require problem solving and creative thinking skills. Pepperdine mathematics majors have been highly successful in securing employment or in completing advanced degrees in graduate, medical, and law schools. For those directly entering the job market, students have taken their problem solving and data management skills into a myriad of other fields.

The critical thinking and technical skills acquired during completion of a mathematics degree are desirable to a wide range of careers and fields including:

  • Education
  • Computers
  • Engineering
  • Cryptography
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Actuary
  • Statistician
  • Government
  • Finance
  • Management Consultant

Additional career options based on a degree in mathematics are listed at American Mathematical Society.Individual career profiles can be viewed at

Preparation for Graduate or Professional Schools

Over half of our graduates have been admitted to graduate or professional schools in mathematics, computer science, statistics, medicine, law, engineering, or education. Our majors are accepted in to some of the finest institutions for advanced studies after graduation, including the University of California, Duke, University of Washington, Washington University, University of Oregon, and many more. Of all majors, mathematics majors nationally have recently had the highest acceptance rates in medical and law schools.

International Studies

Many mathematics majors choose to study abroad in one of Pepperdine's distinctive programs, typically opting to do so during the summer or for just one semester. If you are interested in studying abroad, it is recommended that you meet with a math professor to discuss a four-year plan and ensure you will be able to take the required courses when they are offered. As some courses are prerequisites for other courses and since some required courses are only offered every other year, it is important to plan ahead carefully. If you plan on studying internationally, other than during the summer, please be sure to complete Math 320 during your first year at Pepperdine and consult with your math advisor.

Our international programs are designed to provide all students—regardless of major—the opportunity to study, live, and travel overseas without interrupting other studies or postponing a career. This offers students a unique opportunity to gain both an academic and a personal understanding of other cultures, institutions, and languages.

In addition to the international programs offered by the University, below are additional semester and year-long international programs that focus on math:

  • Budapest Semesters in Mathematics: A math-based international program in Budapest, Hungary that overlooks the Danube. By participating in this program, you'll be able to learn from famous Hungarian mathematicians. All courses are taught in English and focus on problem-solving. Courses focus on an invitation into advanced mathematics, including abstract algebra, number theory, and combinatorics. 
  • Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education: Located in Budapest, Hungary, students participating in this program will learn about the Hungarian system of mathematics education. All courses are taught in English. Students interested in a career involving teaching might be interested in attending this program.
  • Mathematics in Moscow: A semester-long mathematics study abroad program in Moscow, Russia. All courses are taught in English and students can choose to study abroad either fall or spring semester.

Secondary Teaching Credential

Students who plan to teach mathematics in secondary schools of California should complete their degree with a mathematics or mathematics education major and obtain a California Teaching Credential. Several of the courses required for the California Teaching Credential are already part of the mathematics education major. If you plan on teaching in another state, you will need to obtain a credential for that state. (Some states will accept the California credential, while others will have their own specific rules.)

WiMSoCal 2018

The 11th annual Women in Mathematics in Southern California symposium will be held on March 24, 2018 at Pepperdine University. The symposium will provide an opportunity for women in mathematics in the Southern California area to get to know each other on a personal and professional level. The symposium and lunch are free to all registered guests. 

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