Mathematics

Eric Westlund (department head)

The department offers two majors: mathematics and mathematics/statistics. For purposes of advising students, advanced courses may be classified as follows: MATH 253, 351, 452, and 462 are called applied; MATH 365, 454, 456, 459, 471, and 472 are called foundational; and MATH 321, 322, 327, and 328 are called statistical.

Mathematics is an extremely versatile major. Mathematics is both the primary language and the theoretical foundation of modern technology, yet its roots in Western culture are as deep as those of any classical discipline.

Statistics is the science of reasoning from uncertain empirical data. Statisticians build mathematical models to solve problems in business, the natural sciences and the social sciences. The intent of the mathematics/statistics major is to cover the undergraduate mathematics necessary for an understanding of statistics.

Requirements for majors:

Math: Plan I (Theory). MATH 220 and 240; either MATH 454 or 471; CS 150 or 160; and a minimum of three additional courses in the math department numbered 200 or above, including at least one additional from MATH 365, 454, 456, 459, 471, or 472. Writing requirement completed with MATH 220, MATH 240, and MATH 454 or 471.

Math: Plan II (Applications). MATH 220 and MATH 240; either MATH 454 or 471; CS 150 or 160; and four additional courses in the math department numbered 200 or above. Writing requirement completed with MATH 220, MATH 240, and MATH 454 or 471. Only two of MATH 321, 322, 327, and 328 may count towards a mathematics Plan II major.

Math: Plan III (Teaching). A Plan I mathematics major that includes MATH 321, 365, and 471. Complete one of MATH 253, 322, or 351. Writing requirement completed with MATH 220, MATH 240, and MATH 454 or 471. Credit hours of required and elective mathematics courses must total a minimum of 30 hours. See education department for secondary education minor requirements.

Mathematics/Statistics: MATH 220, 240, 253, 321, 322, 327, 328, and CS 150 or 160. MATH 454 is recommended. Writing requirement completed with MATH 220, MATH 240, and MATH 327 or 328. (A student may not major in both mathematics and mathematics/statistics.)

Required for a mathematics minor: At least five courses in mathematics, including MATH 240 and two additional courses numbered 200 or above.

Required for a second teaching area: At least 24 credit hours, including 151, 152, 220, 240, 321, and 365. CS 150 or 160, and EDUC 352 are required. The second teaching area license is offered only in the state of Iowa.

Suggested patterns for majors planning careers in the following areas:

  1. Graduate study in mathematics: Plan I including MATH 253, 321, 351, 454, 456, 459, 471, 472.
  2. Statistics: A mathematics/statistics major.
  3. Actuarial science: A mathematics/statistics major plus ECON 247 and ECON 248, MGT 353 and MGT 365, and courses in computer science.
  4. Computing/data science: MATH 220, 321, 322, 462, 471.
  5. Management (accounting, economics): MATH 253, 321, 322, 327, 454.
  6. Science: MATH 253, 321, 322, 327, 328, 351, 452, 454, 456, 462, 471.

NOTE: Students earning a C or below in Math 220 or 240 are advised not to take 300+ level courses.

First-Year Placement

The mathematics department placement procedure uses high school records, scores on ACT or SAT tests, and a placement test in mathematics as a basis for a recommendation. MATH 110 and MATH 115 are designed for students who will not be taking calculus. MATH 123 is only for students who major in elementary education. Students who need calculus for their major but also need a review of algebra and trigonometry should take the MATH 140 and 141 sequence. Students with good algebra and trigonometry skills should begin with the traditional Calculus I course, MATH 151. Students who have completed a year of calculus in high school and perform well on the Advanced Placement A/B Exam or the Calculus I portion of the mathematics placement test should start in Calculus II, MATH 152. Students who perform well on the Advanced Placement B/C Exam or the Calculus II portion of the mathematics placement test should start in MATH 220 or 240.

Advanced Placement Credit

  1. A student will receive credit for MATH 151 with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus A/B Exam. A student will receive credit for MATH 151 and MATH 152 with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus B/C Exam.
  2. A student who places into MATH 152 will receive, upon completion of the course with a grade of C or better, Luther College credit for the preceding calculus course, MATH 151 (if credit has not already awarded through AP or transfer credit).
  3. A student who places into MATH 240 may petition the head of the mathematics department, upon completion of the course with a grade of C or better, to receive Luther College credit for the preceding calculus course(s) MATH 151 and/or MATH 152 (if credit has not already awarded through AP or transfer credit). Approval of the petition will depend upon whether the student has previously covered the content of MATH 151 and/or MATH 152.
  4. A student who achieves a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics Exam will receive credit for MATH 115.

NOTE: AP credit for MATH 115, 151, or 152 satisfies the all-college requirement for quantitative perspective (QUANT).