# About Mathematics

Mathematics is the study of quantities, changes, abstraction, structure, and space. Mathematicians are interested in discovering patterns and using those patterns to explore the relationships between different abstract structures. Whether you are pursuing mathematical research, trying to understand the statistics behind a study, or preparing an argument, mathematics plays a role in your life everyday.

The Mathematics Department at MSUM consists of 23 faculty members, 18
of which have Ph.D.'s, teaching a wide variety of courses. The class
size of our introductory level courses range from 30 - 35 students
each, and our advanced courses average 5-15 students each.

### Successful Students

Our students and alumni are doing very interesting things. They engage in research projects with faculty and pursue internships. Many continue their mathematics education in graduate school. They also go on to have distinguished careers as educators, actuaries, engineers, financial mathematicians and more.

### Dedicated Faculty

As in every department at MSUM, the mathematics professors are dedicated to student learning and development. "The professors drop everything to help you," Lindi Vervalen (co 2008). Our primary focus is teaching our students. We believe that successful learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. For that reason the tutoring facility in the mathematics department is situated among the professors' offices. All professors have an open door policy, and students are encouraged to meet with their professors to ask questions or just to chat about life in general.

### Small, Engaging Classes

The classes in the mathematics department are restricted to 35 students and the advanced courses run between 5 and 15 students. These small classes provide an environment where open discussion of topics is not only possible, but encouraged. Our Analysis, Abstract Algebra, Numerical Analysis, Mathematical Modeling, Foundations of Geometry, General Topolgy, and Independent Research classes provide majors with a broad background in mathematics and give them many opportunities to explore mathematics more deeply.

### Active Students

We have a very active Math Club on campus where students discuss mathematics, work on problems outside of the scope of their classes, and engage in social functions with one another. The mathematics department and the physics department present films on mathematics and physics once a week. In addition to activities in the math department itself, many of our students are engaged in athletics, other academic clubs, and social organizations.

### Research

We believe that active involvement in research is fundamental to sound teaching. Our mathematics faculty are actively pursuing research in many fields: Topology, Differential Equations, Mathematics Eductaion, Combinatorics, Group Theory, Number Theory, Difference Equations, and Statistics.

We also believe that it is important to a student's education that they pursue research of their own. Our majors are expected to work simple research problems in their Mathematical Modeling course and more difficult projects in their Mathematical Writing course. Furthermore, faculty members are often working with students on open research problems that are accessible and interesting.