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Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics FAQ
  • Can I have a double major?

    Yes, double majors are allowed, and we usually have individuals in the department who are pursuing double majors. Note that in doing so, a student must complete all requirements for both majors. Courses which are common between the two majors (such as General Education and cognate/prerequisite courses) need be taken only once. Students should consult their academic advisor prior to deciding to pursue a double major.

    Should I declare a minor?

    A minor is most useful for those pursuing a job after graduation rather than going on to graduate/professional school. Have a minor tells an employer that you have depth is a second skill area, and that might be useful in selling yourself to the employer. If there is another area of interest that you want to pursue, by all means do it. However, if pursuing a minor means taking additional courses that are not really of interest or may lower your GPA, then you probably should pass on this option and concentrate on the courses of your chosen major. A minor may be added to your transcript at any time prior to graduation, so there is no rush in making this decision.

    Is Study Abroad an option for majors in the department?

    Absolutely, and it is encouraged. The opportunity to spend a semester in a foreign country is an exciting and unique experience that more students should consider. If you are interested in this option, you need to consult your faculty advisor a year in advance. The International Student Office in Renner Hall has all of the resources and experience necessary to make Study Abroad easy and rewarding.

    Where can I find ideas for a research project?

    Since research is carried out with a faculty member of the department, the faculty would be the best source of ideas. Often faculty members indicate ideas that they have to the junior and senior seminar classes. Students usually approach research from one of two directions: 1) Select a topic or area of interest and approach the faculty member whose own research interests the closest; 2) Select a faculty member that you would enjoy working with and ask him/her for a list of possible research topics. Remember that all faculty in the department are eager to work with undergraduate students. If a faculty member cannot accommodate your needs at the moment, he/she will direct you to another faculty member who may be able to assist.

    How much time should I expect to spend studying and preparing for each class?

    The general rule is that for every credit hour in class, you should spend 2-3 hours outside of class working on the class (e.g., studying, preparing, completing assignments). This means that for a 4-credit hour course, you should spend 8-12 hours outside of class working on the class. For courses that you find particularly challenging, you should be prepared to spend 3 or more hours outside of class for each hour in class.

    I need to work during the school year. How many hours a week is reasonable?

    There is always a conflict between work and study. What you need to keep in mind is what it will take to be successful in your studies and to get the GPA necessary to reach your goals. If you are carrying 16 credit hours during a semester, you should expect a minimum of 32 hours a week outside of class for study, for a total educational time of 48 hours per week. Stated another way, going to college is a full-time job. Working a second job is difficult and often disruptive to a normal lifestyle. Nonetheless, most students find it necessary t work in order to pay the bills. We recommend that you work no more than 10 hours per week during the semester.

    What is the minimum grade for a course which is required for my major?

    A grade of D is required for courses in your major. You must have at least a 2.00 GPA in your major courses in order to graduate.

    Are any of the University Core classes waived by taking a major in Mathematics or Computer Science?

    Yes, Goal 3 (Quantitative Reasoning) is waived as part of each of these majors, since that subject matter is included within the major. Additionally, for those students in the education licensure program, Goal 9 (Social Science) is met by the major.

    Should I take an Independent Study course?

    The purpose of an independent study is to allow a student to study an area of Mathematics, Computer Science & Physics that is normally not covered in an existing course or to delve into more depth on a topic only briefly covered in class. It may also be an opportunity to do laboratory or field research on a topic of student interest. An independent study project is supervised by a member of the full time department faculty and must have the approval of the Department Chair prior to registration for the course. Independent study proposals are normally limited to students with junior or senior standing except under special circumstances.

    What is the difference between an Independent Study and a Course by Contract?

    A Course by Contract is a regularly-offered course that, for some exceptional reason, cannot be taken by the student at the time it is scheduled. As with Independent Study courses, a Course by Contract is supervised by a member of the full time department faculty and must have the approval of the Department Chair prior to registration for the course.