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MATH 390: Mathematics Practicum

Students work in groups on substantial problems posed by, and of current interest to, area businesses and government agencies. The student groups decide on promising approachesto their problem and carry out the necessary investigations with minimal faculty involvement. Each group reports the results of its investigations with a paper and an hour-long presentation to the sponsoring organization. Offered annually during Interim.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


Mathematics, the study of patterns and order, is a creative art, a language, and a science. The practice of mathematics combines the aesthetic appeal of creating patterns of ideas with the utilitarian appeal of applications of these same ideas. Long seen as the language of physical science, mathematics is also used increasingly to model phenomena in the biological and social sciences. Mathematical literacy is indispensable in today’s society. As members of the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS), mathematics faculty strive to help students understand natural connections among these related but distinct disciplines. Mathematics at St. Olaf is interesting, exciting, accessible, and an appropriate area of study for all students. Each year, seven to ten percent of graduating seniors complete mathematics majors. The department offers courses representing various mathematical perspectives: theoretical and applied, discrete and continuous, algebraic and geometric, and more. Our faculty also teach courses in statistics, computer science, and mathematics education. A concentration in statistics and a major in computer science are also available. Courses in these areas are taught by faculty from the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. For more information on these, consult the separate listings under Statistics and Computer Science . Overview of the Major Students arrange a major in mathematics by developing an Individualized Mathematics Proposal (IMaP). An IMaP outlines a complete, coherent program of study consistent with the goals of the individual student. The courses included in a student’s IMaP are determined after consultation with an MSCS faculty member and approved by the department chair. About ten courses are normally required. Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major


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