Major & Career Planning

This page serves as an introduction to the areas listed and makes no claim to be all inclusive. See department coordinator, counselor or advisor for more complete information.

College/School/Department Fairmount College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Name of Program Emphasis Mathematics and Statistics
Counselors If you would like to talk to someone teaching in the field, please make an appointment with:
Mr. Paul Scheuerman, Assistant to the Chair and Instructor
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
355B Jabara Hall
(316) 978-3986
Prof. Kenneth G. Miller, Graduate Coordinator
Mathematics and Statistics
343 Jabara Hall
(316) 978-3959


Places for Employment
Hawker Beechcraft
Boeing Wichita Company
Cessna Aircraft Company
Learjet Corporation
Actuaries for insurance companies
Los Alamos
National Bureau of Standards
Teaching at the high school and college level
Statisticians at the Hallmark Card Co., etc.
Operations research positions in various oil companies
Specializations in the Field
Teaching (high school and college level)
Teaching and research (universities)
Industry (statistics, operations research, numerical analysis, differential equations)
Working Conditions Working conditions in the field of mathematics vary greatly, depending on the organization.
Personal Qualifications You must be a good problem solver and you must be able to concentrate.

Those who are interested in university teaching must not be easily discouraged by the competition they face.

Educations & Job
Students can get part-time jobs as programmers at the aircraft companies and other local businesses and organizations.

You can also earn money by grading papers for the mathematics department or you might be hired as a tutor in the Math Lab.

Student Organization Pi Mu Epsilon, an honorary society for students with an interest in mathematics
Try-out Courses Mathematics 242. Calculus 1 (5)
Statistics 370 Elementary Statistics (3)
Future Outlook The future outlook is good, but it is also very competitive
Famous People in the Field Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician, circa 582-500 B.C.E. (Pythagorean Theorem)

Euclid, a Greek geometrician, circa 300 B.C.E. Wrote The Elements which served as the "Bible" of geometry for 2200 years.

Hypatia, a Greek mathematician, 355-415 C.E. Considered by many to be the first female mathematician of note.

Rene Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician, 1596-1650. Credited with the creation of analytic geometry.

Sir Isaac Newton, an English philosopher and mathematician, 1642- 1727. Invented calculus.

Leonard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, 1707-1783. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians. Papers written by hime were still being published long after his death.

Maria Agnesi, an Italian mathematician, 1718-1799. She wrote one of the first, and best, calculus texts as an aid for her brothers' education.

Sonya Kovalevsky, a Russian mathematician, 1850-1891 She developed an interest in mathematics when she read the lecture notes in mathematics used to paper her bedroom.

David Hilbert, a German mathematician, 1862-1942. He is most remembered for the twenty-three problems he posed in 1900 (see More Information & Resources below). Hilbert also wrote the first significant revision of Euclid's Elements.

Emmy Noether, a German mathematician, 1882-1935. She was an outstanding algebraist who fled to this country from Nazi Germany.

Paul Erdös, a Hungarian mathematician, 1913-1996. He was a world traveler who's publication list exceeds 1500 papers.

Quotes "We have got to let people know that there are serious scientists on the faculty of this University, people who are doing work on the frontiers of mathematics."
. . . . . John Hutchinson
  "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the sholders of giants"
. . . . . Isaac Newton
Community Counselors If you would like to talk to someone working in the field, please make an appointment with:
Mr. David Eastman, WSU BS (math) '71, MA '75
Willis Corroon of Kansas
P.O. Box 2697
Internaltional Brokerage Firm
Wichita, Kansas 67201
(316) 268-4768
More Information
& Resources
At the Second International Congress of Mathematicians, which was held in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert presented an address in which he reviewed the mathematical advances of the nineteenth century and tried to predict the probable mathematical developments of the twentieth century by proposing twenty-three problems which he believed would be, or should be, among those occupying the attention of mathematicians in the twentieth century.

The first problem was solved that same year by Max Dehn. As of today, fourteen more have been solved. Recent solutions of problems have been given by Kolmogorov (1957), Nagata (1958) and Matiyasevic (1970). Eight of the problems remain unsolved. Perhaps the solution for the next one will come from a student at Wichita State University.

Programs Core
In order to begin a program in mathematics or statistics, a student must complete the calculus sequence: Math 242Q, 243 and 344.
Intellectual & Academic
Competencies Expected
of Majors
As a Graduate with a degree in Mathematics You will find it almost impossible to accept a position where mathematics is not required. Basically, you will find that your work is to help other people by solving the problems they bring to you. You will probably find yourself in one of two broad categories: applied mathematics or pure (theoretical) mathematics.

Applied Mathematics. If you work in the area of applied mathematics, you will try to develop theories and techniques that solve the problems in your organization, investigating how to express the situation in mathematical terms, how to use your knowledge of mathematics to find a solution. You could do this in an engineering project (on an airplane, a bridge, a building) or in scientific research (the effectiveness of a new drug), or in industry (how to make the greatest profit, how to lay out a new plant building, how to increase the efficiency of the production line, etc.) or in research and development (to extend the knowledge in a particular business or find new ways to use the information that is already known).

If you choose to be a statistician, you will use mathematical theories to collect and analyze numerical information and to estimate unknown quantities. You will plan and design surveys in one of many fields (Neilsen ratings, Dow-Jones averages, psychological experiments, Gallup polls, etc.).

Actuaries for insurance companies must have a strong mathematics background to design insurance and pension plans that are financially sound. Here you would collect and analyze the statistics needed to calculate the chances of death, sickness, injury, unemployment, retirement, etc. You will also compute the premiums the company must ask in order to pay the claims that are brought to them over the years.

Teaching, at either the high school or college level, requires (in addition to competency in the field) a dedication that will help you obtain a suitable position in the face of the large number of other applicants for the same job.

A bachelor's degree is essential for first level jobs in mathematics and graduate work is usually required for any promotions or advancements. Many positions require a knowledge in other areas (engineering, management, teaching, etc.) plus the ability to communicate, since you must explain your findings as you report them back to non-mathematicians. For this reason, an ability to write well is highly regarded.

Pure (Theoretical) Mathematics. If you should work in the area of pure or theoretical mathematics (although this usually requires a Ph.D. degree) you will be searching for new principles and/or new relationships between existing principles in an effort to enlarge the field of mathematics. You will want to increase the world's basic knowledge of mathematics, without necessarily knowing what the practical applications might be. You will probably be employed by a university or a research organization, such as the National Bureau of Standards.

As a Student majoring in
Mathematics at WSU
You will be studying one of the oldest and most basic sciences. It will be helpful if you have already taken as many mathematics courses as possible in high school. Here you will probably study analytical geometry, calculus, differential equations, probability and statistics, mathematical analysis and modern algebra. There are fewer specific requirements than in the past to allow you more flexibility in preparing yourself for the future, and advisers in the mathematics department will help you choose those courses that are most valuable if you wish to make a career in the field.

At Wichita State, you will work toward either (1) a Bachelor of Arts degree, (2) a Bachelor of Arts degree for teaching at the high school level, (3) a Bachelor of Science degree or (4) a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in statistics. All four sequences require at least one course in computer science and over twenty semester hours of mathematics above the 500 level. Many courses include examples of the use of various concepts found in actual professional situations (numerical analysis and statistics are good examples). Each year you will be able to hear recognized mathematicians who are brought in by the department: recent speakers have come from the University of Nebraska, Ohio State and Washington State University. Mathematics majors who enroll in Mathematics 380, a seminar for one hour of credit, get to know each other better as they start talking about their field. You can enjoy solving problems together in an atmosphere more like a student club than a classroom.