Mathematics at Gordon College

Please also visit the mathematics section of the college's public web page for more information about studying mathematics at Gordon.

Why Mathematics?

Mathematics and related fields have never been more important than they are today. As just one example, commerce on the Internet depends on public key encryption to secure transaction information. This and other applications of cryptography come from number theory, a branch of mathematics that until recently was not thought to have any practical application. Mathematicians are employed as actuaries, financial analysts, and programmers. They solve optimization problems (a field called operations research) and become managers and team leaders. Biology is increasingly dependent on mathematics and information theory for both models and data analysis. Computer security, cryptography, graphics and virtual reality implementations all require sophisticated mathematics.

Perhaps you enjoy mathematics but don't see yourself working in a highly mathematical field; there are still many reasons to major in mathematics. At its heart, the study of mathematics develops important analytic skills and the ability to solve complex problems, valuable in any vocation. The Chronicle of Higher Education has published data showing that students who major in mathematics score measurably better on the LSAT and GMAT professional school entrance examinations than students who major in subjects such as philosophy, economics, chemistry, English, foreign language, history or biology. Of course, one need not study mathematics alone. Many mathematics students also major in another discipline; an approach that blends the benefits of a mathematics degree and specific interests in another area.

Aspiring teachers will find that mathematics is an excellent choice for a major. This applies to those who want to teach math at the middle- or high-school level as well as those who want to work with younger children. At all levels the ability both to do and explain mathematics is valuable. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has recognized just how important mathematical and analytical skills are for elementary and early childhood teachers. As a result it has recently revised the recommended curriculum and the licensure examinations to include substantially more mathematics.

Why Gordon College?

If most colleges and universities offer a major in mathematics, why should you come to Gordon?

First, at Gordon you'll find a Christian community of believers who want to grow in their faith as they grow in knowledge. We intentionally weave this theme through our classes, chapel program, on- and off-campus experiences, and the many service opportunities you can participate in.

Second, the Gordon mathematics faculty is committed not only to teaching mathematics, but also to helping students develop an appreciation for how mathematics and critical thinking can inform all aspects of life and faith. It is important to us to get to know our students, learn about their interests and aspirations, and help them achieve their goals. Our interaction extends beyond the classroom into collaborative research opportunities and social events.

Third, our students are encouraged to broaden their perspectives by taking part in a global experience by studying or serving in different locations around the world. Recently several of our students spent a semester in Hungary as part of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, a prestigious program that provides advanced, focused upper-division mathematics and computer science classes in a city and culture long associated with mathematics. Many other academic opportunities exist for Gordon students, as well as a range of short-term missions projects.

Fourth, Gordon's location is hard to beat! We are located in a beautiful area just north of Boston, between historic Lexington and Concord and the seafaring town of Gloucester. We are only minutes from the ocean and on the edge of an undeveloped woodland conservation area. Within several hours one can drive to the Maine coast, the New Hampshire and Vermont mountains and ski areas, and all of eastern Massachusetts.

Fifth, and above all, we are a community of Christian learners. Students, faculty and staff all have a common purpose: Believing that God is the author of all truth, we question, probe, explore, and challenge ideas, all the while holding firm to the foundation of our faith.

What can I do as a math major?

If you're interested in studying mathematics and are excited by the challenge of exploring how your academic interests intersect your faith then Gordon is the right college for you. Research: During the last five years students from Gordon and other collages have worked with our faculty on research projects, including a project funded by the National Science Foundation, resulting in several presentations and published papers. Other Gordon student have participated in research projects at other universities. Service and Employment: Some of our students volunteer as inner-city math tutors. Others work for the college as tutors or departmental teaching assistants. Many of our students also capitalize on their other interests by double majoring in departments like physics, history, psychology, and of course, education.

After graduation our students begin teaching careers (public and private schools), work in industry (mathematical and non-mathematical fields), begin ministry (Bible translation, missions) or attend graduate schools (Boston College, the University of Utah, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern Maine) before continuing into academic or industrial careers.

The American Mathematical Society has an entire website devoted to early career profiles of students who majored in mathematics.