Mathematics

Challenge yourself by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics

Are you looking for a useful, challenging and practical major? Would you like an active, supportive community of faculty mentors to guide you in your studies? The Mathematics program at Loras prepares students to argue rigorously, think abstractly and problem-solve creatively. These skills provide an edge in a wide variety of careers, as well as on graduate entrance exams.

Learn About Our Major in Mathematics

Student Experience

A study by the National Institute of Education found that on average, math majors scored higher than any other major on the LSAT and GMAT. If you’d like one of the top three “Majors That Pay You Back,” according to PayScale.com, Mathematics may be an excellent choice for you.

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MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

Mathematics and Computer Information Technology annually offer several awards and scholarships to students taking related courses. Some are available only to those majoring in Mathematics or Computer Information Technology while others are available to first-year students, regardless of their intended major. Winners are selected by Mathematics and Computer Information Technology faculty, and awards are presented at a ceremony each spring.

Computer Information Technology Awards and Scholarships

  • McKesson HBOC Scholarship — awarded since 1999.
    Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually. Candidates must be in their final year of study in Computer Science or Management Information Systems (MIS). Eligible candidates usually apply in April of each year and are required to submit a current transcript and an essay regarding their qualifications. A successful candidate will have excelled academically, been involved in extracurricular activities and demonstrated financial need. The recipients are chosen by representatives of McKesson HBOC along with Loras Accounting and Business, Mathematics and Computer Science faculty.
  • Computer Information Technology Alumni Award — awarded since 1986.
    Candidates must be graduating seniors and nominated by a faculty member teaching a computer science-related course. Each candidate is asked to submit an essay detailing how they plan to use their experience in the future. The winner is selected by faculty vote. Recently, winners have garnered $100, a certificate and a nameplate engraved in their honor and displayed in Hennessy Hall.

Mathematics Awards and Scholarships

  • First-Year Mathematics Award — awarded since 1980.
    Recent winners have received $100 and a certificate in addition to the coveted handshake from the department chairperson. Candidates must be first-year students and nominated by a department faculty member. Each nominee is asked to submit a mathematical autobiography, and the winner(s) are chosen by department vote. Winners’ names are proudly displayed on nameplates near the main entrance of Hennessy Hall.
  • Droessler Scholarship — awarded since 1994.
    A scholarship in the amount of $2,000 is awarded annually from the endowment graciously provided by Dr. Earl Droessler, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Droessler is a 1942 graduate of Loras College. A candidate for this scholarship must have either junior or senior standing, have declared a mathematics major and have a minimum 3.0 GPA in all courses. Strong candidates will have shown creativity and devotion to their study of mathematics and the liberal arts in general, and be involved in extracurricular activities. Candidates are nominated by department faculty members, and winners are selected by a vote of the department faculty.
  • Sullivan Applied Mathematics and Science Award — awarded since 2001.
    Recipients receive $500. The Sullivan award is intended to reward and provide further motivation for female majors in Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics or Engineering. Candidates for this annual award must maintain a 3.5 GPA and have demonstrated quality course selection in the pursuit of a liberal arts education.
  • Father Louis Ernsdorff Senior Math Award — awarded since 1980.
    Winners of the award receive $100, a certificate and a nameplate engraved in their honor and displayed in Hennessy Hall. Candidates for this award must be graduating seniors nominated by a faculty member in the department. The winner is then selected by a vote of the department faculty.

LORAS COLLEGE MATH CLUB
Loras has an active Math Club which hosts a variety of events, including game nights, Sudoku contests, a Pi Day “Pie Your Professor” contest, and a high school math competition.

The Loras Math Club meets monthly and hosts several events throughout the year, including Sudoku contests, board game nights, Family Feud-style game shows, and the infamous “Pie Your Professor” contest on Pi Day. For the past several years, the club has helped sponsor student trips to undergraduate research conferences, traveling to Pi Mu Epsilon at St. Norbert College in the fall and the Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium at Simpson College in the spring.

The club also helps promote the Bi-State Math Colloquium, a series of informative talks by faculty, graduate students and undergrads from colleges and universities in Iowa and Wisconsin. In addition, math club members participate in a variety of math contests, including the Iowa Collegiate Math Contest, the Mathematical Competition in Modeling, the Iowa Mathematical Modeling Contest and the Putnam Exam.

Math Club also enjoys coming together with faculty members in the department to socialize and serve. Students in all math classes are invited to Tasty Tuesdays, a weekly evening of snacks, socializing and math homework help from professors. The club encourages alumni to return annually by reserving a spot at the Homecoming Tailgate. The club also participates in a variety of service projects. Last year, they helped run a Great Plains Math League high school math tournament at Loras.

WHY MATH AT LORAS COLLEGE?
Conferences and Competitions, Bi-State Math Colloquium, Math Club, Faculty Support

Conferences and Competitions: Students can travel to conferences to meet new people and share their discoveries. Our math majors regularly present their work at the Pi Mu Epsilon Regional Undergraduate Math Conference in the fall and the Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium in the spring. Our students also compete in a variety of college-level regional and national math competitions, including the Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition and the Iowa Mathematical Modeling Competition.

Bi-State Math Colloquium: Students hear of developments in the field by staying on campus, too. Loras College is co-host of the weekly Bi-State Math Colloquium with UW-Platteville. Speakers for the colloquium series include professors, graduate students and undergrads from colleges and universities in the region presenting talks ranging from brand-new research to the ancient history of math.

Math Club: Loras has an active Math Club, which hosts a variety of events including game nights, Sudoku contests, a Pi Day “Pie Your Professor” Contest, and a high school math competition.

Faculty Support: Math students at Loras receive lots of support. In addition to regular office hours, the math faculty holds Math Lab in the library 12 hours a week. Faculty also host evening help sessions both on- and off-campus for homework and fellowship help.

Loras College Mathematics Degree
Students interested in pursuing advanced study in mathematics or related fields can choose courses that will prepare them for graduate school.

Students who wish to use mathematics in industry or want to supplement majors in fields such as engineering, computer science, economics or chemistry can choose the courses that will aid them in other fields.

Students planning to teach high school mathematics can take those courses that are required for licensure to teach math, as well as other courses to prepare for teaching at the secondary level.

In addition to standard coursework, each major completes either a one-semester capstone class, in which students work in groups for a collaborative research experience, or a three-semester seminar sequence, in which students pursue individual undergraduate research projects with faculty advisors.

LORAS MATH MAJORS PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL PROGRAMS
Proposing a model of nonlinear ordinary differential equations and showed the existence of coexistence, recurrence, and cure steady states.

Katie Gonzales (’14) spent the summer of 2013 interning with the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Chicago Sky. Being a math and sport management double major, this internship allowed Katie to use skills she’s learned in both areas. After completing her internship, Katie used data from the Sky for her senior math project. She worked with Dr. Matt Rissler to calculate wins produced in the WNBA, based off models used in the NBA.

Patricia McCarthy (’15) (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) was chosen to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Winthrop University during summer 2014. REUs are highly selective national programs funded by the National Science Foundation. Tricia’s REU group worked with Dr. Kristen Abernathy in the use of the cancer stem cell hypothesis in the study of treatment of Glioblastoma Multiform by immunotherapy. Their project proposed a model of nonlinear ordinary differential equations and showed the existence of coexistence, recurrence, and cure steady states. Tricia and her team traveled to the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January to present their research.

Student Learning Outcomes

 

Student Learning Outcomes – Mathematics
1. Students will demonstrate proficiency in oral mathematical communication
2. Students will demonstrate proficiency in written mathematical communication
3. Students will engage in the mathematical processes of creative problem solving, pattern recognition, and conjecture forming.
4. Students will reflect on their process of productive struggle in mathematics
5. Students will produce and evaluate the quality of mathematical arguments
6. Students will apply analytical and procedural skills in a variety of contexts
7. Students will synthesize various mathematical strategies to tackle authentic problems in novel settings

 

Curriculum

View Highlighted Courses

 

Math of Games
In this class, students will learn how to view and think about the world through the lens of mathematics. Students will form their own mathematical conjectures about games they play and determine how to test the correctness of their conjectures. The class mainly consists of collecting data while playing games during the day, and writing analytic papers about the day’s experience in the evening. In this way they will learn how to reason from data and make arguments based on data.

Discrete Mathematics
This course introduces the ideas and methods of logic and proofs. Topics include: set theory, logic, functions, proof types and elementary number theory.

Problems in Quantitative Reasoning and Statistical Thinking
In this course, students will grapple with problems from current events dealing with the communication and understanding of common statistical and mathematical models. Students will explore the difficulties of collecting data, calculate summary statistics, develop intuition about confidence intervals and hypothesis testing, and work with linear and exponential functions.

Patterns and Perspective: Math in Art and Music
This course uses the axiomatic and functional lenses of mathematics to both analyze and create art and music. In particular, we use projective geometry to develop axioms for perspective art, and we explore how mathematicians and artists tend to apply and manipulate those axioms differently. We use modular arithmetic and function transformations as a basis for understanding musical chords and counterpoint and compare that with a more conventional music theory approach. We also view and interpret fractals as structural objects from mathematical, artistic, and musical perspectives.

Introduction to Probability & Statistics
A study of the fundamental techniques used in descriptive statistics as applied to real-world data and the processes associated with the design and analysis of experiments; application of theories from calculus to the construction of cumulative distributions for continuous random variables and computation of associated probabilities, expected values and variances.

View All Mathematics Course Offerings PDF

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major or minor in Mathematics. 

Degree Requirements

 

Requirements for the major in Mathematics (B.S.):

Req Course Cr’s
1 Calc of One Variable I 4
2 Calc of One Variable II 4
3 Discrete Mathematics 4
4 Linear Algebra 3
5 Analytic Geometry and Calculus III 4
6 Introduction to Programming 4
Select one from Req 7
7 Data Structures & Algorithms 4
7 Physics Scientist/Engineers I 5
7 Special Sec Methods: Mathematics 3
Select either all three of Req 8a, or Req 8b
8a Seminar 1
8a Seminar 1
8a Seminar 1
8b Guided Research 3
Select four from Req 9a-9b; of those, at least one from 9b
9a Introduction to Probability & Statistics 3
9a Ordinary Differential Equations 3
9a Numerical Analysis 3
9a Modern Geometry 3
9a Topics 3
9b Modern Algebra 3
9b Real Analysis 3
9b Topics 3
10 Mathematics Portfolio 1
42 to 44 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in Mathematics:

Req Course Cr’s
1 Calc of One Variable I 4
2 Calculus on One Variable II 4
3 Additional Math elective course 4
4 Additional Math elective course 3 to 4
5 Additional Math elective course 3
18 total required credits

View Full Requirements & Additional Information PDF

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Mathematics degree?”

As a Mathematics major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

  • Math Teacher
  • Biologist
  • Software Engineer
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Business
  • Accountant
  • Economist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Meteorologist

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We offer Scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and visit loras.edu/financial-aid for information, scholarship opportunities and much more.

Meet Our Professors

Robert Keller, Ph.D.
Division of Mathematics, Engineering, & Computer Science Chair
Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7015 | Robert.Keller@loras.edu
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Susan Crook, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7794 | Susan.Crook@loras.edu
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Jacob Heidenreich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7793 | Jacob.Heidenreich@loras.edu
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Karen Heidenreich
Instructor of Mathematics
563.588.7971 | karen.heidenreich@loras.edu
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Angela Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7152 | Angela.Kohlhaas@loras.edu
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Matthew Rissler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7792 | Matthew.Rissler@loras.edu
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