With an enrollment of nearly 30,000 full-time students, Brigham Young University, founded in 1875 as Brigham Young Academy, is one of the nation’s largest private universities and ranks 7th in the nation among all undergraduate institutions for the number of alumni who successfully complete a PhD in mathematics or statistics.
The BYU Mathematics Department has distinguished itself in many areas. Over 50% of our faculty members have received university, college or national teaching and research awards for a total of 15 who have received teaching awards and 17 who have received research awards.
We encourage student participation in weekly colloquia, department contests, research programs, and seminars in over 10 different fields. Our department is one of the top math departments in the nation for mentoring undergraduate students in mathematics research. Our success in doing this resulted in a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to teach other universities across the nation how to successfully help undergraduate students do research in mathematics. In the past four years, faculty in the BYU Mathematics Department have been awarded more than $2,675,000 in competitive, national grants for use in teaching and mentoring undergraduate students in research. In 2008 alone, the Mathematics Department spent over $600,000 to financially support BYU undergraduate students in doing research.
Clearly, undergraduate research mentoring is a major emphasis in the department, with several special labs and resources available including:
- IMPACT (Interdisciplinary Mentoring Program in Analysis, Computation, and Theory),
- Summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates), and
- CURM (Center for Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Mathematics).
Students from the Math Department placed 24th of 546 colleges in the 2009 Putnam Mathematical Competition, an annual competition for the brightest mathematical student minds in the country.
Each fall, the BYU Mathematics Department offers a career and internship talk series for students. We invite 5-8 guest speakers who talk about internships and careers opportunities for mathematics majors. Past speakers have been a lawyer, a doctor, an actuary, an operations researcher at communications firm, a senior scientist at a pharmaceutical company, a mathematician at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the president of a computer company, and a financial planner at Goldman Sachs. These presentations have been very popular with an average attendance of about 200 people.
Mathematics is central to life in a technological society. The rigor and discipline required to excel in mathematics develop skills that are in constant demand. Therefore, graduates obtain positions in a wide variety of business, governmental, and industrial enterprises. Mathematics majors are also sought after by professional schools of law, medicine, and management. Mathematical experience beyond basic calculus enhances the life and capabilities of every intellectually curious student.