Education in mathematics assists students in developing, to their fullest potential, their mathematical reasoning, communication and problem solving skills. Students who choose to major in mathematics are provided opportunities to develop strong problem solving skills that use quantitative methods and appropriate technology. They understand the strengths, limitations and wide applicability of mathematical modeling in a variety of disciplines. Students develop an appreciation for the discipline and esthetics of mathematics, effectiveness in problem solving, and an appropriate understanding of theory.
You have the option to earn your bachelor degree in three years. Do your part to stay on track, and you could shave a year off your undergraduate work. That means significant savings on tuition and you get a jumpstart on your career.
While we excel in scholarship and research, teaching undergraduate mathematics is the task we value most. Our class sizes are small, enabling us to tailor courses to student need:
- Lower division courses have 15-40 students.
- Upper division courses have fewer students, typically around 10.
After graduation, mathematics students flourish in careers at insurance companies, various branches of government, law schools, medical schools and engineering firms. Some go on to pursue graduate studies in Mathematics. Others become math teachers at middle schools and high schools or pursue careers as actuaries. Mathematics plays an important role in many careers, a few of which are highlighted here.
Actuaries work for insurance companies, banks, investment firms and government agencies. This job is consistently rated among the top five professions in the United States. Actuaries determine the risk involved with certain decisions, such as how much car insurance should cost or how mutual funds should be managed.
Qualified high school mathematics teachers are always in demand. Many of our alumni had job offers before they graduated.
Many branches and agencies of the government employ mathematicians. The Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA are some examples.
Operations research analysts work in an organization to keep things running efficiently. How should production be scheduled? How should resources be allocated?
Earning a math major is good preparation for law school. Lawyers must be analytical, creative and skilled in logical reasoning and problem solving. Training in mathematics develops these abilities.
Medical schools have a strong record of accepting math majors. Our program is designed to allow students to take a broad range of courses that might include biology and chemistry if you are interested in the medical profession.
Other career possibilities for math majors include:
- Computer programmer
- Science writer or editor
- Environmental consultant
A variety of degree options are available through the Mathematics Department to meet a range of career and academic goals. Students who are majoring in math can choose from four degrees: a BA or BS in math, a BS in applied mathematics or a BS in actuarial science.
Students who choose to double major or minor in mathematics or who choose to study mathematics as part of their liberal arts education learn the major methods, applicability and spirit of the mathematical sciences. Our department helps students to develop the quantitative skills necessary for success in any career.
We have a major program that will suit your needs:
- The BA in mathematics requires 10 math courses; this gives students room to take coursework for another interest such as preparation for law or medical school.
- If you are planning for graduate study in mathematics or economics or a career in mathematics, our BS in mathematics is a good choice.
- If you are looking for a second major or are interested in graduate study in engineering, the BS in applied mathematics might be right for you.
- We offer curriculum designed to prepare future high school math teachers for the CSET exams.
Pacific Math Club
The Pacific Math Club helps to create a sense of community and sociability among our students. It has held occasional events such as movie nights or the celebration of Pi-Day on March 14. If you are interested in participating in this group contact Chris Goff.
Pacific Problem Solving Group
The Pacific Problem Solving Group is a student collaborative focused on collectively solving problems posed in math publications such as Horizons, a mathematics magazine targeted at undergraduates. Our team was cited in the February 2006 edition of Horizons as having correctly solved a given problem. Students Damian Mondragon ('08) and Michael Abram ('11) were cited in separate issues of Horizons for submitted solutions. If you are interested in participating with this group, contact Chris Goff.
Pacific Putnam Team
The Putnam is the premier math competition for undergraduates in the United States and Canada. The exam, consisting of 12 questions, is designed to test mathematical knowledge as well as creativity and originality. Each year roughly 3,500 students from 500 colleges and universities participate in the Putnam. The competition is held on the first Saturday of each December. If you are interested in taking the Putnam as part of the University of the Pacific team, contact Aleksei Beltukov. You may also be interested in taking our one unit Problem Solving Seminar offered each fall semester.
Pi Mu Epsilon
Pacific's California Sigma Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon
In April 2011, 17 Pacific students were inducted into Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society. These students are the founding members of the 350thChapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, designated the California Sigma Chapter. The petition for this new chapter was initiated by the Pacific Math Club.
Pi Mu Epsilon Purpose
Pi Mu Epsilon is an honor society whose purpose is the promotion and recognition of scholarly activity in the mathematical sciences among students at the academic institutions that have been chartered as Chapters of the Society.
Pi Mu Epsilon accomplishes its goals by promoting and recognizing scholarly activity among students through active, vibrant Chapters that:
- Elect Members on an honorary basis according to their proficiency in mathematics;
- Engage in activities designed to promote the mathematical and scholarly development of its Members; and
- Take other measures designed to further the purposes of the Society.
"Being a math and graphic design student allows me to develop my creativity and my problem-solving abilities at the same time. Through my interdisciplinary studies, I have been able to look at problems in math more creatively in order to find easier paths to solutions, and with my building of problem-solving skills through math I can approach graphic design assignments like I would a math problem. The students I am able to interact with are also much more diverse in terms of their interest, rather than being surrounded by only STEM or only art students."
"I originally came to Pacific for the pre-pharmacy program, but after a while I found out that the reason I liked science was due to the math behind it. So, that just helped me transition to mathematics.
While I was doing that transition, I was doing some market research and I found actuaries to be an interesting position since they dealt a lot with risk, probability and finance. And so I decided to concentrate in that for my major."
"I like the feeling of getting to the end of the problem and thinking, 'Oh, I got it.' I like the struggle along the way, not, 'Here's the formula. Just find the number.' I have to really think about what I'm doing."
A career in Actuarial Science is one of the best options that a student with talents and interests in mathematics, statistics, economics and finance can pursue. It was ranked at Top 10 Best Job of 2019 by CareerCast.com. Pacific is one of only five schools in California to offer an undergraduate program in actuary science.
Students pursuing a California mathematics or foundational-level mathematics single-subject teaching credential may elect either the BA or BS program. In addition to earning a degree, students must show subject matter competency by passing the CSET (California Subject Exams for Teachers) in mathematics.
Students planning to earn a degree and a teaching credential simultaneously are required to take certain professional education courses during their undergraduate years.
If you wish to qualify to teach mathematics at the secondary level, you should complete the Single Subject Credential in the social sciences. Ask you adviser or the department chair for information on specific course requirements. For other credential requirements, you should consult faculty in Benerd College.
Each spring, the University of the Pacific Department of Mathematics hosts the Avanish Raina High School Math Competition, which invites high school mathletes from across the Central Valley to hone their skills and test their knowledge in an exciting day of competitive math activities.
The Avanish Raina High School Math Competition was made possible through the donation of the parents of a young Stockton man, Avinash Raina, who as a Stagg High School student had exceptional math skills. Avinash was a gifted student who believed math skills were critical to our everyday living. He not only excelled at math, but had a passion for speech and journalism. Avinash was never able to realize his many professional ambitions, because at 19 he was diagnosed with tongue cancer. Avinash succumbed to the disease in less than two years.
To continue Avinash's legacy of academic excellence and passion for mathematics, our Math Club students organize the competition every spring to ensure that the flame of knowledge continues to burn in his memory.