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Math Courses at Boston College

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Santosha Veera

Boston College, located in the biggest city in Massachusetts, offers many different math classes, from core classes in probability and statistics to more advanced classes in multivariable calculus and combinatorics - things that the average high school student probably hasn't taken! Graduating math majors at Boston College have careers from working with the National Security Agency (NSA) analyzing complex algorithms and cryptographic problems to becoming math professors themselves! Boston College Math Department has fostered the academic and career pursuits of several notable alumni, including Dan Wolf, the senior director of statistical analysis at Capital One Finance, and Karen Golden Russell, the senior marketing manager at Philips Electronics.

1. Math 1190 - Fundamentals of Mathematics

Elementary school kids learning fundamental mathematics

The Fundamentals of Mathematics course at Boston College is specifically designed to give college students a deeper understanding of the kindergarten to 8th grade math curriculum. This course goes over numbers and number systems, basic problem solving and reasoning, applications of fundamental math, and the function and structure of algebra. The Fundamentals of Mathematics course is perfect for students who hope to be math teachers in early education, allowing them to build conceptual knowledge for teaching math to kids.

This course is offered through the Lynch school of education at Boston College. Math 1190 is the prerequisite to to Math 1191, and hopeful K-8 math teachers will benefit from taking both courses. The course has been taught before by Professor Matthew Lamoureux. Math 1191 gives a great foundation for future teachers.

2. MATH 1100 - Calculus 1

Students learning calculus

Math 1100, or Calculus 1, is the first course in calculus for students in biology, computer science, and economics majors, as well as those on the pre-med track. This course goes over some prerequisite knowledge, such as fundamentals of polynomials and trigonometric functions, and then follows with an introduction to calculus concepts. Limits, derivatives, and integrals are the three major topics that are covered in this course, and applications of these mathematical devices to real world problems is used to supplement student learning.

This course is offered specifically for students who have not taken a calculus course at the college level yet, and is not intended for students in math-heavy majors, such as physics, chemistry, or mathematics. This course has been taught by Professor Marie Clote in recent semesters. Math 1100 is the ideal course for students who have not taken a calculus class before and are hoping to gain a guided introduction into higher level math.

3. Math 1102 - Calculus 1 for Math and Science Majors

professor teaching math equations in physics in college

Math 1102 is the first course of calculus designed for students who are in Chemistry, Geology, Physics, or Math Majors. These majors require a more intensive approach to higher level mathematics, and thus, Math 1102 is designed differently from Math 1100. This course has no review of pre-requisite knowledge, and instead starts with an introduction to functions, limits, and derivatives. The course concludes with a review of integration, preparing math and science majors for Calculus 2 (Math 1103). 

Math 1102 is a more challenging calculus course that is also open to students who desire a more rigorous exploration of higher-level mathematics. Calculus is essential for many STEM majors, including in the field of physics, where acceleration and velocity are modeled as derivatives and integrals. Taught by Professor Robert Reed in recent semesters, Math 1102 is ideal for students who will use higher level mathematics in their major.

4. Math 1007 - Ideas in Mathematics

The mathematical art of MC Escher is a topic in this course.

Math 1007, Ideas in Mathematics, is less of a problem-solving math course, and more of a conceptual exploration the spirit and purpose of mathematics. The course emphasizes a fundamental conceptual understanding of math and the functions it serves in academics and society. Students are encouraged to collaborate with classmates on problems and complete a group project about a large concept, theory, or figure in the field of math.

Math 1007 has no prerequisite course, but students who have completed their Math Core Curriculum requirement cannot take this course without permission. It is ideal for students who want to gain an appreciation for the function and beauty of math, rather than focusing in problem-solving skills. This course has been taught in the past by Professor Robert Gross.

5. Math 1180 - Principles of Statistics for Health Sciences

a teacher teaching students math

Math 1180 introduces the function of statistics and its applications in the fields of health sciences - including medicine, nursing, and public health policy. The curriculum of this course is less focused on hard problem-solving, and more on the ways statistics is used to analyze trends in public health and healthcare systems. Students will understand statistical ideas and methods used to analyze data, and how these methods are used in the real world.

Principles of Statistics for the Health Sciences is ideal for students that are interested in a career in nursing, medicine, or public health. However, any student who is interested in working in healthcare will benefit from understanding how health policies and scientific decisions are made through using statistical analysis. Math 1180 has been taught in the past by Assistant Professor Siddhi Krishna.

6. Math 2290 - Number Theory for Teachers

Math education for younger students focuses on hands-on learning

Math 2290, Number Theory for Teachers, is similar to Fundamentals of Mathematics in its purpose to create a foundation of math for future math K-12 educators. This course covers the concepts of prime numbers, magic squares, Fibonacci sequences, and even mathematical art. Students will also learn collaborative activity-style techniques for teaching math to younger children, and be guided on how to use tools such as calculators and computers to aid in teaching.

Math 2290 is ideal for future K-9 educators in math, and will provide a solid foundation not only in number theory concepts of math, but also in how to teach number theory to students. The prerequisites for Math 2290 are two semesters of Fundamentals of Mathematics (Math 1190 and 1191). The course is offered through the Lynch School of Education.

7. Math 4426 - Probability

a normal distribution curve  with histograms under

Math 4426 is a higher-level math class that explores modern probability theory and its usage in many fields of study. The curriculum for this course covers probability spaces, discrete and continuous variables, the Central Limit Theorem, and more. Students will focus on problem-solving through the use of real-world data, and the use of a computer as a tool for statistical analysis.

Math 4426 is ideal for students who are looking for a higher level course in math that focuses heavily on real world application over abstract mathematics. The prerequisite is Math 2202 (Multivariable calculus), so many students will not be able to take this course during their first year. This course has been taught in the past by Professor Robert Gross.

8. Math 1104 - Finite Probability and Applications

two people with computers pointing at bar graphs

For students who are looking for a far more introductory approach to probability, Math 1004 is the perfect class. Designed for humanities and social science majors, Finite Probability and Applications goes over finite sets, enumeration, probability, and random variables. Math 1004 emphasizes the application of probability to real world problems.

This course has no prerequisites, but it is not open to students who have already completed their Math Core requirement without permission. This course is ideal for non-math majors who want an understand of how probability is used in their fields of study. It is offered through the school of education and the school of nursing, as well as to students in other humanities majors.

9. Math 4453 - Euclid's Elements

This course is taught seminar style, encouraging discussion.

Math 4453 is a close reading of Euclid’s Elements and the mathematical reasoning that makes up this theory. It is taught seminar style to a small group of students, so class discussion and collaborative work is highly encouraged. The course goes over axiomatic reasoning, logical argument sequences, and the function of Euclid in modern mathematical theory and education.

Math 4453 is ideal for math education majors who are looking for higher level courses. This course is a discussion-based, more abstract math course that focuses less on real world applications and problem-solving. It can be a valuable course for those who are looking to pursue math education in high school and college.

10. Math 2216 - Introduction to Abstract Mathematics

a student drawing math equations on the board

Math 2216 is an introduction to higher level abstract mathematics that prepares students for further courses in math. This course covers the fundamentals of abstract math, while focusing on teaching skills that improve students’ ability to do abstract math. Topics like set theory, integers, rings, and complex numbers are covered.

Math 2216 is the ideal course for math major and minor students who are looking to prepare for upper-level courses in this field. It is an introduction to the fundamental topics and skills needed for courses such as Abstract Algebra, Partial Differential Equations, and Numerical Analysis. Courses in abstract math are perfect for those hoping to pursue graduate school to study math and teach or research in higher education.

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