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What should I major in?

Management sophomore Clarissa Aguirre solves a problem for her college algebra class. The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at UTRGV has more than 45 tenured and tenure-track faculty members. Faculty members have received grants from funding agencies, such as the U.S. Defense Department and National Science Foundation.
Management sophomore Clarissa Aguirre solves a problem for her college algebra class. The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at UTRGV has more than 45 tenured and tenure-track faculty members. Faculty members have received grants from funding agencies, such as the U.S. Defense Department and National Science Foundation. Lesley Robles/The Rider

Throughout this academic year, The Rider will explore the programs of study at UTRGV. This is the fifth in our second annual series. The Rider interviewed Roger Knobel, an associate professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, for information.

Major: Mathematics

School: Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Interim Department Chair: Associate Professor Timothy Huber

Prerequisites: None. The entry point, in terms of classes, is Calculus I.

Total credit hours needed to graduate: 120

What is mathematics? “Some people call mathematics the language of science. It’s like a language, but tools that we use to understand things about our world, either in other disciplines, or within mathematics itself. Many of our students who get a mathematics major, are either going to stay in mathematics by teaching or doing mathematical research. But, we may have students who may have another major or minor in a related field in engineering or science, or business, and that they may go into an area or career that they can use the mathematics that they have learned in their major to help them.”

Which classes can students expect to take? “All of our math majors take a sequence of calculus, three courses of calculus. We have other courses called Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, and Introduction to Mathematical Proof Writing, Modern Algebra, Real Analysis and Math Project Course.”

What skills will students learn by the time they graduate? “One of the main skills is the ability to be able to analyze and solve problems, critical thinking skills, being able to use mathematics to organize and describe things about the world and to be able to use that to look at a hypothesis about what might happen if something changes.”

What are some possible careers? “Many of our students go into secondary education teaching, with either middle schools or high schools. We have a fair number of students, who after getting their bachelor’s degree, go into a master’s degree program. Many of them get a master’s degree in mathematics, but some of them go into engineering, business or one of the sciences. Some of those students go into teaching in a college or university level. Some of them go on to Ph.D. programs.”

What salary can a student expect to earn after graduation? Huber answered this question: “The average income can be from $60,000 to $110,000, depending on the job. Teachers will make the lower end of that spectrum.”

Are there any student organizations related to math? “SIAM, which is the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.”

–Compiled by Gabriel Galvan

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