Department Chair: Bret Benesh

Faculty: Bret Benesh, Philip Byrne, Robert Campbell, Sunil Chetty, David Hartz, Robert Hesse, Kristen Nairn, Travis Peters, Thomas Sibley, Anne Sinko, Michael Tangredi.

Math Skills Center Director: Brian Nyholm

The mathematics department offers courses to fit the needs of a wide variety of students: the student majoring in mathematics, the student majoring in another field who needs or chooses supporting courses in mathematics and the general liberal arts student.

Since a knowledge of mathematics can be useful in disciplines as diverse as biology, philosophy and economics, the mathematics department offers a number of options to students. The major offerings are flexible enough to prepare students to apply for further study in graduate school, for a career in secondary education or as a mathematician or statistician in business or industry. It is also possible for a student to arrange for an individualized major in mathematics and another discipline. This should be done in careful consultation with a member of the mathematics department and a member of the student's major department. A student majoring in another discipline may choose to minor in mathematics. A major in elementary education may choose a minor in mathematics or the concentration designed especially for elementary teachers. (See the education department listing for more information.)

In addition to the formal courses described below, there are many other opportunities available for students interested in mathematics. An individual learning project on a topic of mutual interest can be designed with the assistance of a faculty member. The department supports students to engage in summer research in mathematics, mathematical biology or biostatistics through a generous stipend program. Opportunities are available to combine the summer research with an honors thesis. An active student math club and a local chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (a national honor society for students of mathematics) cooperate with the mathematics department to offer a rich program of seminars, films, visiting speakers, career information and social activities. Each spring the department hosts a regional Pi Mu Epsilon conference at which students and faculty from several colleges gather at Saint Benedict's and Saint John's for two days of presentations by students and invited speakers.

Each semester the mathematics department employs students paid on an hourly basis as calculus teaching assistants, course assistants, and tutors. Calculus teaching assistants grade papers and, in consultation with the course instructor, supervise the calculus labs. Those labs, which meet regularly, provide students with additional opportunities to discuss course material and to practice problem-solving skills. Course assistants grade papers for lower division classes other than calculus I and II. Tutors give individual help to students at the Math Skills Center.

Mathematics in the Common Curriculum

Mathematics as a skill and as a theoretical structure has played a crucial role in modern civilization as well as in the everyday lives of individuals. Therefore, all students will be required to take and pass one course which satisfies the common curriculum requirement in mathematics. While different courses cover different topics, all courses meeting the requirement stress mathematics as a conceptual discipline, and address its contemporary role. These courses will also enable students to understand and appreciate the power and limitations when using mathematical reasoning, its language and notation to solve a variety of problems from other disciplines and from everyday life. Students enrolled in common curriculum courses are actively involved in doing mathematics.

The director of the Math Skills Center will provide assistance for students who have not fulfilled this requirement.

Mathematics common curriculum courses typically have as a prerequisite satisfactory performance on the Quantitative Skills Inventory Test. Students who have an ACT-Math score of 21 or greater or SAT-Math score of 530 or greater will be granted satisfactory performance status without taking the examination. Otherwise, we recommend Math 111 (the Quantitative Skills Inventory Test will be administered by appointment with the Mathematics Skills Center if the student feels that s/he does not need Math 111). All students enrolled in MATH 118 or 119 will be asked to take a calculus readiness exam during the first week of classes.

Acceptance to Major Requirements

Course Requirements:  MATH 119 and 120; Math 239 or 241
Minimum Grade and/or GPA for required courses:  2.00 GPA
Minimum Cumulative GPA:  2.00


The mathematics department offers concentrations in mathematics and mathematics/secondary education; it also offers a major in numerical computation jointly with the computer science department. Information about the numerical computation major is in a separate section for that major. Students may not earn majors in both mathematics and numerical computation. Students may not earn a minor in mathematics with a major in numerical computation.

Special Requirements:
Students anticipating a major in mathematics and/or the natural sciences ordinarily begin their study of mathematics with 119. However, a student needing further preparation before beginning calculus, either 118 or 119, should enroll in 115. Students interested in advanced placement should contact the department chair.

Admission to the major requires a grade of C or higher in MATH 119, 120 and MATH 239 or 241.
Before admission to the major (ordinarily in the sophomore year), prospective majors must consult with their advisors in the mathematics department to plan their mathematics courses. Students should choose their courses and non-curricular activities with regard to their goals for careers and graduate school. Students should be aware of which semesters upper-division mathematics courses will be offered.

Senior majors are required to take a comprehensive exam in mathematics (the Major Field Test).

Prospective majors should have familiarity with computer programming before taking upper-division mathematics courses. Students preparing for graduate school in mathematics should include 332 and 344 or 348.

Concentration in Mathematics (40-42 credits)
Required Courses:
119, 120, 239, 241, 331, 343, 395, 16 additional upper-division credits in.  395 may be waived for students who complete an undergraduate research project in mathematics.  See department chair for details.

Concentration in Mathematics/Secondary Education (40-42 credits)
Required Courses:
Same as concentration in mathematics, but include 333, 345.

See the education department listing for minor requirements.See the education department listing for minor requirements.

Minor (24 credits)

Required Courses:
119, 120, 239; plus either 12 additional upper-division credits in mathematics, or 241 plus 8 additional upper-division credits in mathematics. Note: students may not earn a minor in mathematics with a major in numerical computation.

The minimum prerequisite for all mathematics courses with the exception of MATH 114 and MATH 121 is: Math ACT subscore of 21 or above OR Math SAT subscore of 530 or above OR satisfactory performance on the CSB/SJU Quantitative Skills Inventory. For MATH 114 and MATH 121, the minimum ACT subscore is 17 or above. Other prerequisites may also apply, as noted in the course descriptions.

Courses (MATH)