Summary: Why Study Mathematics?
You need to. Mathematics continues to play a central role in engineering and the physical sciences as the
appropriate language to describe natural phenomena, and modern computer science could not exist without its
theoretical (and immensely practical) mathematical underpinnings. Mathematics has become an indispensable
tool in the natural and social sciences, not just to understand data but also to construct predictive models.
You want to. While immensely useful when applied to the problems of other disciplines, the study of
mathematics can be a satisfying end in itself. It possesses all the excitement of experimentation and discovery
that is so attractive in the other sciences, with the added feature of completely objective proof. Beauty can be
found everywhere in mathematics: from an unexpected and clever twist in the solution to an elementary
problem to the construction of an abstract theory explaining seemingly unfathomable complexity.
It's good for you. There are good reasons why mathematics is one of the main pillars of the liberal arts. Its
study is not merely the learning of a collection of quantitative techniques. The critical thinking skills used in
solving (and explaining the solution of) even the simplest math problem practice organization, deductive
reasoning, and clarity of thought and expression. Attacking a large and/or complicated problem by breaking it
down into a coherent collection of smaller problems is standard practice in mathematics, and strategies for
doing this in mathematics can be applied to many non-mathematical situations.
Majoring and Minoring in Mathematics
The SMC Mathematics Department has two tracks to a B.S. in mathematics. In the "traditional" track students
are exposed to a broad spectrum of required foundational courses along with a selection of elective courses to
give depth of study. Our "interdisciplinary" track allows students to design a program still centered around