This document contains the answers to many of the questions students have about majoring in math and statistics. Browse at will! If you don't see the answer to your question here, send e-mail to Dr. Mark Ginn, department chair (

Why Should I Major in the Mathematical Sciences?

Creative problem solvers, analytical thinkers, effective computer users, creators of mathematical models, experts at dealing with data, proficient speakers and writers -- we want these things and more to be said of our mathematical sciences graduates. In our department, majors will hone these skills. What will a graduate with a degree in mathematical sciences be trained for? Take a look at the alumni profiles page to see what some of our graduates are doing now. Also look at the career options page for more links and info on math careers. Past graduates have been employed in many areas related to education, business, and science, including: middle school and high school teaching; actuarial science and insurance; applications computer programming; statistics and data analyst; manufacturing quality control; engineering technician; medical data analysis; management trainee; and college teaching.

"CareerCast rated the best jobs for 2011 based on income, working environment, stress, physical demands and job outlook, using data from the Labor Dept. and U.S. Census and researchers' own expertise." (Wall Street Journal) Mathematician is #2. Eight of the top 20 jobs require significant mathematical reasoning and knowledge, including actuary (#3), software engineer (#1), statistician (#9), physicist (#13), and economist (#20). There are numerous jobs for persons with good technical skills, and predictions concerning the future are good, especially for those students who also possess good communication skills.

Which Mathematical Sciences Degree Program is Right for Me?

There are numerous degrees in the mathematical sciences at Appalachian: bachelor of science (BS) degrees in actuarial sciences, mathematics, mathematics education, and statistics, and a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in mathematics:

Actuarial Sciences

Mainly for students interested in careers in actuarial sciences, financial analysis, the insurance and banking industries, and government agencies such as the Census Bureau.


The range of careers available to mathematics majors is very broad. This major is designed to be highly flexible by requiring a strong core knowledge in mathematics while allowing you to concentrate on an area particular to your own interests:

  • Mathematics/Business
  • Mathematics/Computation
  • Mathematics/General
  • Mathematics/Life Sciences
  • Mathematics/Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics/Statistics

Mathematics Education

Designed to prepare students for teaching at the high school level, this degree requires a strong core of mathematics courses along with education courses.

Bachelor of Arts

Designed for students focused on a liberal arts education. Some of the mathematics requirements are replaced with more humanities, in particular a foreign language, and a minor is required.

For course descriptions and prerequisites, see the catalog description of courses.

Every student must complete a Program of Study form, preferably at least two semesters prior to graduation. The Program of Study forms resemble the above major links and are available from department advisors.

Four-Year Guides

Sample programs showing possible courses as you progress through your major are listed in Four Year Guides.

Note: These are guides ONLY for students who are on the 2013-2014 catalog year. Students on older programs of study should NOT use these guides. You can find your catalog year by looking in DegreeWorks.

Computer science or physics major and thinking about a minor or double major in math?

Why would I want to?

  • We have heard back from students who were told that they were chosen for interviews because they had a strong math background.
  • More flexibility for career paths: engineering, business, operations research, management science
  • Students with strong math backgrounds can choose a wider range of majors in graduate school: engineering, operations research, management science, computer science.

What would I need to do for a minor? 

  • CS majors: You already need Linear Algebra, so just 2 more courses (for example, Calculus 3 and Numerical Methods - which can count as a CS elective!) is all you would need.
  • Physics majors: You already need Calculus 3 and Differential Equations, so just one more course (for example, Linear Algebra or Advanced Differential Equations) is all you would need.

You don't need to do any paperwork. Just be sure to request the minor at your graduation check!

What would I need for a double major? The most likely choice for you would be the Mathematics/Computation or Mathematics/Physical Sciences options. THINK ABOUT IT!!! Come to the department office in 342 Walker Hall and ask for an advisor to get more information!


Mathematical Sciences
342 Walker Hall
121 Bodenheimer Dr
Boone, NC 28608
828-265-8617 fax

Department Chairperson
Dr. Mark C. Ginn

Assistant Chairperson
Dr. Rick Klima


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