Laura Staugler, Junior
Major: Mathematical Sciences
The department is composed of diverse faculty (over 50!) and serves over 100 undergraduate majors in Actuarial Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences. Additionally, we have about 80 graduate students between our Masters and PhD programs.
WPI Mathematical Sciences Student Experiences
Activities. Our dynamic students and faculty run several different student clubs, including the Math Club and Actuarial Club, along with student chapters of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and American Statistical Association. These groups organize social gatherings and networking events, often inviting guest speakers from industry to give information about job opportunities and internship experiences.
Courses. In addition to our current roster of courses (>60!), we also offer additional cutting-edge courses. We have rotating special topics courses that are driven by student interests and often focus on emerging areas and techniques that provide a competitive edge on the job market.
The First-Year Experience in the Department of Mathematical Sciences
Calculus is fundamental to the sciences and further explores limits, functions, and rates of change. In addition to the standard Calculus sequence, we offer a Theoretical Calculus sequence (MA 1033 in A-term and MA 1034 in B-term) for our majors interested in the theoretical underpinnings of calculus concepts. For more info, check out this video!
Actuarial majors with some calculus background might consider the introductory actuarial sequence Theory of Interest (MA 2211 in A-term and MA 2212 in B-term).
Denksport. (MA 1801) is a course that meets once per week to exercise the mind through problem solving. There is a different theme every term, exposing students to different areas of mathematics. Previous iterations have focused on problem sessions as a prep for the Putnam Competition (preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduate college students), combinatorial games, and the connections around mathematics, poetry, and Paris. We also offer several courses as accelerated versions for our majors (e.g. MA 2072 – Accelerated Matrices and Linear Algebra I) where advanced concepts and connections to other areas are highlighted and other courses are restricted for our majors (e.g. MA 2631 – Probability).
Projects. As a student in the Mathematical Sciences department, you will have the opportunity to work closely with our faculty and pursue your Major Qualifying Project (MQP) in a wide variety of subject areas. Read about recent MQPs.
In addition, many projects are sponsored collaborations with industry partners through our Center for Industrial Mathematics & Statistics.
Actuarial Mathematics. The Actuarial Program in the Math Department provides a tight-knit, collaborative community of students and dedicated faculty. With between 50 and 75 majors at any one time, you will get personalized attention from our experienced faculty. We work closely together and cheer each other’s successes. With two full-time faculty dedicated to the actuarial program, courses are kept relevant to the syllabi of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Many students graduate with two or more exams, VEE credit, and sometimes more. In addition, the actuarial program has built-in flexibility allowing the faculty to run special courses that focus on advanced exams not normally covered in undergraduate programs.
The WPI Actuarial Program has a strong working relationship with both the SOA and the CAS. Both provide our students with professional resources like candidate updates, access to mentor programs, and focused job and internship announcements. Within WPI, the Actuarial Club, participation in Actuarial Case Competitions with other university programs, and a dedicated Actuarial Job Fair will help you further establish the foundation of wide and diverse professional network.
WPI has all the resources you will need to graduate with an attractive background to actuarial employers, and the habits and foundations to pass your actuarial exams and succeed in your career. We look forward to working with you!
Research Experiences. In addition to the MQP, there are several opportunities to get involved in state-of-the-art research with internationally recognized researchers and educators. There are opportunities for summer research experiences and independent studies, potentially in collaboration with scientists and engineers across disciplines.
BS/MS programs. The Mathematical Sciences department offers Master’s programs in Applied Mathematics, Applied Statistics, Financial Mathematics, and Industrial Mathematics. You can consider applying to these programs, and with careful planning of courses, you can complete both your Bachelor’s and Master’s degree within 5 years! To learn more, check out this video of a recent info session and/or look at these slides.
Job Placement and Internships. Due to numerous internship opportunities, project-based learning experiences, and targeted curriculum, over 87% of our graduates find a job immediately upon graduation! This job report compiled by the WPI Career Development Center shows that mathematical sciences graduates start with an average annual salary of $73,400. Page 5 of the report provides more information on our actuarial mathematics graduates, while Page 44 of the report covers mathematics graduates. Each page includes a listing of companies where our graduates were employed and the prestigious graduate programs our students attend after WPI.
Interdisciplinary Programs. In addition to our Mathematical Sciences and Actuarial Mathematics majors, the Department of Mathematical Sciences and our faculty play a large role in two interdisciplinary programs: Data Science (DS) and Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BCB). In both of these programs, there is an additional focus on quantitative approaches to analyze datasets to determine patterns and/or correlations. This means that there are many exciting cross listed courses, opportunities to complete MQPs in these areas, and additional flexibility to pursue minors or double majors in these areas.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to giving you additional information as well as connecting you with faculty or students.