About the Department
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has eight permanent members with a wide variety of interests and areas of study. Our classes at both the introductory and upper levels allow for close interactions with peers and faculty. The professors take an interest in the progress of their students and are readily available for help with courses or advising.
Students interested in a more interdisciplinary approach may consider our combined majors of economics-mathematics or mathematics-physics. If students are considering an engineering field, Whitman has a long standing tradition of excellent 3-2 programs.
The department offers a combined major in mathematics-statistics, as well as an interdisciplinary minor in Data Science. Students majoring in mathematics or mathematics-statistics may have opportunities to work with faculty on research projects; some of these projects have resulted in presentations at professional meetings and/or publication in mathematics journals. Examples of such projects include research on jet engines, Java programming for the game of Hex, curvature of plane curves, location modeling problems, a study of cubic reciprocity, and radial basis problems. We also regularly have students participate in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) sponsored in the summer by other colleges/universities.
The department organizes tutoring sessions for individual classes at the lower levels, and ample academic support is provided from the campus Academic Resource Center. On occasion, outside speakers are invited to campus to give talks on subjects of current interest in mathematics or statistics. Senior mathematics majors are able to receive helpful advice from professors concerning their future careers. Each spring, the department holds an informal dinner for all students majoring in mathematics, including awards for the most outstanding mathematics major and the best senior project.
The department is a partner with the Math Alliance, an organization committed to recruitment, placement, and success among underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences. We are committed to an inclusive and collaborative classroom environment where all of our students can thrive.
Mathematics majors and combined mathematics majors have many doors open to them as quantitative reasoning skills are in high demand. Our majors have gone into a number of different areas such as business, law, medicine, engineering, telecommunications, statistics, actuarial science, and operations research, working for companies such as Microsoft, Deloitte Consulting, Active Voice Communication, ESPN, and Safeco. A number of our graduates are teaching mathematics at various levels; high school, college, or university. In recent years, our graduates have attended the University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois, Carnegie Mellon, Yale, Oregon State, University of Washington, Rutgers, University of Oregon, University of Minnesota, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and others.