Mathematics

What makes mathematics exciting?


Need to figure out how many overtime hours you must work to make up the lost wages from an unexpected sick day? Want to alter grandma’s lasagna recipe to serve 10 instead of 8? Is Pi Day your favorite holiday? If so, then you might want to figure math into your education equation. Mathematics is the science of numbers. Mathematicians use patterns and symbols to formulate and test theories.

Watch our Hand-On video and discover how waves work.

What's cool about studying math at BYU?

As a BYU undergrad, you will have access to top-notch facilities and equipment. Not only is our gear great, but our staff and faculty are as well. In the Math Lab, you can ask skilled student employees for help in any of your mathematics courses. Professors and TAs will be available every step of the way to help guide you on your quest to become a math expert.

The relationships you build here through mentored teaching and unsurpassed undergrad research are valuable resources that will be helpful throughout your life. At BYU, you’ll approach mathematical science in a way that is both spiritually strengthening and intellectually enlarging. You’ll address real scientific questions in the light of the Gospel.

“Mathematics is the search for truth and understanding. It is painting a picture of reality with symbols.”

–Dr. Pace Nielsen

Major and minor options

• Major

Mathematics

• Minor

Mathematics

For more information on required classes for these majors and minors, please see the current undergraduate catalog. You can declare one of these majors or minors by visiting the Advisement center.

Featured videos


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Using mathematics to solve wave problems.

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See how a BYU student developed options for retailers to help protect against risks.

What makes BYU mathematics undergrad research unique?

The Mathematics Department is one of the top math departments in the nation for undergraduate mentored research, and was recently honored with a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to teach other universities across the nation its undergraduate research methodology. In the past four years, faculty members in the department have been awarded more than $2,675,000 in competitive, national grants for use in teaching and mentoring. In 2008 alone, the Mathematics Department spent over $600,000 funding undergraduate research.

“Math is about logic and discovery.”

–Jim Kaiser, math student

Research areas

Undergraduate students can do research in nine areas. Specific projects within these areas include making and breaking codes, creating techniques to model sound waves, and using math to explore the many dimensions of the universe.

• Algebraic Geometry

Students study curves, surfaces, and other shapes defined by systems of algebraic equations. This combination of algebra and geometry has many areas of application including computer graphics, cryptography, and mathematical physics.

• Applied Mathematics & Mathematical Physics

Applied mathematics students research mathematical methods that are used in science, engineering, business, and industry. It describes the professional specialty in which mathematicians solve practical problems.

Mathematical physics students study the development of mathematical methods that are applied to physics. It develops methods suitable for the formulation of physical theories.

• Combinatorics & Matrix Theory

Combinatorics students study finite structures. Aspects include counting the structures, deciding when criteria can be met, and constructing and analyzing objects meeting certain criteria.

Matrix theory students study matrices; rectangular arrays of numbers, symbols, or expressions. Matrices are used in most scientific fields including physics, computer graphics, and quantum mechanics.

• Differential Equations & Dynamical Systems

Students research systems that evolve in time, with a particular focus on how short-term rates of change affect long-term outcomes. This theory is applied to the study of many things including the motion of the solar system, the growth of populations, and the spread of disease.

• Geometric Topology & Geometric Group Theory

Geometric topology students research settings which mathematicians call a space. This branch of math emphasizes aspects that are most closely allied to classical geometry like distances, polyhedral objects that generalize intervals and triangles; manifolds that generalize planes, surfaces, and Euclidean spaces.

Geometric group theory students research models of symmetries and rigid motions. It is applied when objects such as a molecule or a space exhibits symmetries or admits motions. The group of symmetries or motions reflects the geometry of the object or space on which it acts.

• Mathematical Biology

Students focus on the mathematical representation, treatment, and modeling of biological processes. This branch of math has a variety of applications ranging from predicting how populations change over time, how infectious diseases spread, and how do cells move.

• Number Theory

Students solve problems involving whole numbers. This branch of math also studies prime numbers and answers questions by developing precise answers.

• Partial Differential Equations

Students study equations involving unknown functions and several independent variables and their partial derivatives. These equations are used to solve problems such as the propagation of sound, heat, or elasticity.

• Stochastic Differential Equations

Students research equations in which one or more of the terms is a stochastic process. SDE are used to model various phenomena from fluctuating stock prices to thermal fluctuations.

What can I do with an undergraduate degree in mathematics?

Mathematics reveals innumerable opportunities.  With an undergraduate degree in math, many job opportunities are open including working as a/an: 

• Actuary

• Cryptanalyst

• Financial Analyst

• Medical Researcher

• Operations Research Analyst

• Software Designer

How much money could I make?

With an undergraduate degree in mathematics you could earn:

*Industry-wide estimate from: payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp

What if I advance my education past an undergraduate degree?

Many of our students go on to get advanced degrees and additional experience that broaden their career opportunities. BYU Mathematics alumni have found jobs in government, academia, and numerous business positions including working at:

• Georgia Tech

• Hewlett Packard

• Hughes Aircraft

• IBM

• Intel

• Michigan Tech

• Microsoft

• National Security Agency

• Novell

• Omniture

Talk with a professional


“The more creative you are, the better problem-solver you are. I try to be creative in my teaching, just because there are so many different learning styles.”

–Darrell Johnson, Symetra Financial

Eric Murphy Lecture (Complete)

Eric Murphy Lecture

Hear the confessions of a recovering English major and unrepentant math nerd.

Hands On: Riding Mathematical Waves

Join the Hands On team and the Department of Mathematics as they figure out how waves work.

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Options for Retailers

See how a BYU student developed options for retailers to help protect against risks.

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Why Mathematicians Play with Bubbles?

Why Mathematicians Play with Bubbles

See math students determine what shape of bubble has the least surface area.