Mathematics is one of the oldest and most basic sciences, yet it is the foundation for some of the most dynamic and rapidly growing professions. It is a crucial requirement for many careers in science, engineering, business, and other professions. Research in this living, dynamic subject is at the highest level in history.
Iowa’s Department of Mathematics offers students a choice of programs to suit their career goals and personal interests. With about 400 undergraduate majors, the department’s low student-to-faculty ratio allows students to receive a high level of individual attention.
The department also offers research opportunities for undergraduates. You may even be offered one of the department's paid undergraduate research assistantships.
Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
A bachelor's degree in mathematics prepares students for a variety of careers in government and business, secondary school teaching, graduate study, and, with proper planning, a variety of professional areas.
Graduate study is advisable preparation for some industrial and government positions and for college and university teaching and research.
To learn about the types of jobs mathematicians do, see Career Information on the American Mathematical Society website.
Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad programs and multiple undergraduate research opportunities.
The Math Tutorial Lab and computer lab are excellent resources offering additional student support and innovative teaching opportunities.
Majors are invited to join SUMS, the undergraduate mathematics club, or GAUSS, the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Seminar.
The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.
The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.
BA and BS core courses are the same, but the BS degree requires more elective course work. Both degrees offer a choice of three programs:
Program A—This is the traditional and most general degree. It is primarily for students who plan to work in business, industry or government, or pursue graduate study in pure or applied mathematics. The flexibility of this program allows some students to take electives specifically preparing for graduate work, while others take courses emphasizing tools for applications.
Program B—This program is for students seeking secondary school teaching licensure. To earn teaching licensure, students also must complete the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program, which includes education courses and one semester of student teaching.
Program C—This program is for students who plan to seek a math-related job after earning a bachelor's degree, rather than going on to graduate study. It is for students who want to specialize in a math-related area such as actuarial science, biomathematics, biostatistics, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, physics, risk management, or statistics.
All majors take courses in calculus, differential equations, algebra, analysis, topology, and more advanced courses in these areas, or differential geometry, discrete mathematics, number theory, partial differential equations, and numerical analysis. Some tracks require additional core courses and the track also determines the number of elective courses. Students who design their own study plan have considerable freedom, subject to approval by the department’s undergraduate committee.
Students also must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.
See Mathematics in the UI General Catalog or review the Undergraduate Math Handbook (PDF) to learn about required course work for the major or minor and graduating with honors.
B.A. with Second Major
Students majoring in mathematics may choose to earn a second major. Requirements for majors such as computer science, statistics, and actuarial science overlap with the math major’s requirements, so some courses count toward both degrees. Students must satisfy all requirements of Program A, Program B, or Program C in mathematics as well as all requirements for the second major.
For more information, consult an adviser and see Declaring or Changing a Major on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences website.
B.A./M.A.T. (Mathematics Education Subprogram)
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Education offer students the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Teaching degree with a mathematics education subprogram in as little as five years. Students can begin work toward the MAT while completing their bachelor's degree. The combined program allows students to count a limited amount of credit toward both the BA and MAT degree requirements.
Separate application to each program is required. For more information, see Teaching and Learning, M.A.T. in the UI General Catalog.