Mathematics Major and Minor | Degree in Mathematics | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

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

We strongly encourage our mathematics majors to engage in undergraduate research projects with a faculty mentor or in summer research programs available at various colleges across the country. A national list of undergraduate math research opportunities may be found at www.ams.org/programs/students/emp-reu.

Pepperdine math research students may be eligible for summer financial stipends or scholarships and housing subsidies. 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.

Recent research projects have included:

  • Designing a mobile app for graphically investigating differential equations
  • Computing topological properties of a configuration space
  • Determining the dynamical behavior of geodesics on a surface
  • Creating mathematical models for studying biological systems such as newt, trout, and crayfish populations during droughts
  • Creating a mathematical simulation for investigating chaparral vegetation in response to frequent wildfires
  • Modeling emergency ariplane evacuations
  • Modeling gang violence in an urban setting
  • Giving a combinatorial proof of a Catalan binomial identity
  • Investigating the effectiveness of iPads in the mathematics classroom

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

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

Math Club

The 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

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 https://www.maa.org/careers/career-profiles

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. Some of our math majors have also applied to the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. 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.

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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