Mathematics is the foundation of the sciences and is at the core of a liberal arts education. Many great ideas in human history are mathematical in nature or are easily understood by viewing them mathematically. The idea of infinity was first explained by mathematicians, for example, although originated by philosophers and theologians. While mathematics has practical applications to many academic disciplines, including business, computer science, psychology, political science, music, chemistry and physics, most mathematicians do not study mathematics because it is useful. Instead, they study mathematics for the same reason that other people study art, music or literature – because it interests them.
The math major
Berry’s broad-based mathematics major is designed to prepare you for graduate study or a professional career. You also can earn a degree to teach mathematics in grades 6-12. In your first two years as a math major you’ll get a solid foundation of calculus, differential equations and linear algebra, as well as an introduction to proof. Then you’ll study abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, and other electives. Faculty members also teach “special topics” courses. Subjects that have been offered or are under consideration include topology, combinatorics, knot theory, differential geometry, chaos theory, fractal geometry, graph theory and functional analysis. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to take directed-readings courses in areas that are of particular interest to you. Students have studied partial differential equations, number theory and topology. They also have prepared to take the mathematics GRE subject test and the first actuarial exam.
Students who are declaring a major in mathematics should use the documents in the related links area of this page to work with their advisor to build an appropriate plan of study. The information represents tentative degree plans for students majoring in mathematics. It presupposes that the students decide to be mathematics majors at the beginning of their academic careers.
Learning outside the classroom
You’ll have several options outside the classroom to advance your mathematics education. Opportunities include:
- Working with faculty members on research projects. Recent subject areas have included number theory, dynamical systems, geometry and complex analysis.
- Working in the mathematics tutoring lab, earning extra money as you explain mathematics to others.
- Helping to plan and implement regional mathematics competitions for middle-school and high-school students.
- Joining mathematics professional organizations and honor societies, including a chapter of the Kappa Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society and a student chapter of the Mathematical Association of America.
- Joining the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics, if you are a mathematics-education major.
- Attending annual professional meetings with members of the faculty.
Scholarships are available
Outstanding upper-class students are eligible for special mathematics scholarships, including the:
- Barton Mathematics Award.
- Hubert McCaleb Memorial Scholarship.
- Mary Alta Sproull Scholarship.
Berry College’s mathematics faculty members have a diverse range of teaching and research interests. In addition, they simply enjoy working with students – inside and outside of the classroom. You’ll find that it is common to see students talking with their professors. You’ll also discover that there is a real sense of community among the mathematics faculty and students.
Berry College mathematics students have gone on to graduate school at such places as Duke University, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, the University of Georgia, Auburn University, Syracuse University, Tulane, Clemson and Harvard.