You might be surprised to
find that there are 250 students majoring in mathematics at CSUS, 45%
of whom are women. Many of the mathematics majors are members of the
Mathematical Society, the Universitys mathematics club. The Math
Society (Math Club) meets weekly during each semesterevery other
week there is a guest speaker on a topic of mathematical interest, and
in the alternating weeks the meetings are held to plan events, work
recreational mathematics problems, and discuss business. Club events
range from fundraisers, such as book sales, to social events, such as
pizza parties, to service functions, such as a workshop for prospective
secondary mathematics teachers in the credential program. The club is
also used by the department as a way of getting information to students
about job opportunities or departmental events. Finally, the club is
a support group for students in a difficult major. It is a good place
to find commiseration, and advice about courses and instructors.
Although you may not have
decided about your choice of career yet, it is a good idea to think
about it. Math majors generally go on to one of five areas after graduation.
Some go into teaching in the junior high schools or high schools. There
is a well-publicized need for more qualified teachers of mathematics
around the country. In the Sacramento Valley there is no real shortage
yet, but there are jobs and there will be more jobs. Some math majors
go on to graduate school, either in masters degree or Ph.D. programs.
There is a serious shortage of Ph.D. mathematicians in this country.
It is our duty to encourage any strong students with an interest in
graduate study to pursue it--there is usually support available for
good students in graduate schools. Some students go on to work in public
or private sector jobs after graduation. These seem to fall into three
categories: engineering applications, computer science, and statistics.
These jobs are more plentiful in large metropolitan areas, such as San
Francisco or Los Angeles, but our students have gotten jobs in the Sacramento
area. Students interested in engineering applications should probably
choose elective courses such as Math 1O5AB (Math for Science and Engineering),
Math 104 (Vector Analysis), Math 134 (Complex Variables), or Stat 155
(Operations Research). Students interested in computer science jobs
should probably choose elective courses such as Math 150 (Numerical
Analysis), Math 170 (Linear Programming), or Stat 155 (Operations Research).
Students interested in statistics should take Stat 115AB (Probability
and Statistics), Stat 155 (Operations Research), or any of the soon-to-be-introduced
courses in applied statistics. Students interested in statistics should
consider pursuing actuarial careers.
Which Option in the Major?
Which of the five areas (teaching,
grad school, engineering, computer science, and statistics) you choose
might help determine the option in the mathematics major that suits
you best. Secondary teachers would probably want the single subject
waiver program; those interested in grad school would probably choose
the pure major (maybe not if they already know the area of mathematics
they want to emphasize in grad school); those interested in engineering
would probably want the emphasis in applied mathematics and statistics;
those interested in computer science would probably choose the double
major in math and computer science or the emphasis in applied math and
statistics; those interested in statistics would probably want the emphasis
in applied math and statistics.
Advisors are faculty members
who are knowledgeable about the program you have chosen in mathematics.
It is important that you pay your advisor a visit during your first
semester at CSUS, if only to make contact. It is a good idea to see
your advisor frequently, for help in planning your schedule, career
planning, or for other advice. It is very important that you see your
advisor when you plan your upper division coursework, as there are many
decisions that your advisor can help you with that are not obvious from
reading the catalog (e.g., which courses take a great time commitment,
which courses are better in your senior year, etc.). If you decide to
change major advisors, simply get the OK from your new advisor and tell
the department office about your desire to change.
Although the mathematics
major requires relatively few upper division units, they are quite challenging.
Try to avoid taking too many classes in a semester, as this will more
likely result in extra semesters in the university because of grades
that are not in line with your potential.
The most difficult courses
are probably the upper division core courses: Math 108 (Intro to Formal
Math), Math 110AB (Modern Algebra), and Math 13OAB (Advanced Calculus).
It is important that you plan to put in a great deal of effort on these
courses, because they are demanding, and because if you can do well
in these courses, then you have achieved the mathematical sophistication
to do well in other courses with comparatively little effort. Do not
take Math 110A and Math 130A in the same semester. Students who attempt
this are rarely successful.
Notice that the prerequisites
for courses lead to a sequence in which some courses must be taken.
For example, Math 130B requires Math 130A, which requires Math 108,
which requires Math 35, which requires Math 30. Also notice that some
courses are not offered every semester.
There are numerous opportunities
for employment on campus for budding mathematicians. The math department
hires students as graders, grading the homework assignments from lower
division mathematics courses. The mathematics department hires students
to work as tutors for the Intermediate Algebra class (Math 9), which
is taught in multimedia format (Up to 40 students per class). The Learning
Skills Center teaches the remedial mathematics classes on campus, and
hires undergraduates to tutor in structured and supervised classes.
All of these tutorial jobs are excellent ways to learn to teach for
students who plan to enter the high school or junior high school teaching
credential program. The department also maintains a Math Lab in BRH
118, which is a drop-in help center for mathematics. Students with math
questions come here to find tutors who can help them (which doesnt
mean just giving them the answer). The Math Lab is mostly staffed by
graduate students, but some of the Math Lab tutors are undergraduate
mathematics majors. We also strongly recommend the Math Lab as a place
to study your math. If you have questions about how to apply for any
of these job opportunities, inquire in the mathematics department office
There are other jobs on campus
for math tutors, in programs such as AMP, CAMP, EOP, or MEP. These are
programs aimed at supporting minority students in various majors. There
are also opportunities for private tutoring. Oftentimes high school
students will call the department seeking tutors, or students in lower
division math classes need a tutor on a regular basis. We give all of
these requests to the Math Society, which maintains a database of tutors.
So if you are interested in tutoring privately, contact the Math Society.
We suggest that you become
aggressive consumers of education. Find out about courses and instructors.
Ask what courses are going to be offered next year. Ask for a specific
course to be offered at a specific time, if you need it. Tell the department
how it can better serve your needs. Join the Math Society. Help this
to be a better department for future students.