Frequently Asked Questions
Department of Mathematics
Where do I start as an incoming freshman?
That depends on your High School Background. Most students start in Calculus I. Some students with a background in Calculus start with Calculus II or III. Students who don’t feel they are ready to start in Calculus I may start with PreCalculus.
How many classes will I need to take to get a math major?
Depends on where you start. Calculus I, II, III, Abstract Algebra, linear Algebra, and Advanced Calculus form the core courses. You choose five more courses (from eight possible choices). You also have a support course of a programming language. So all together you take 12 courses. For more detail see the College of Science and Mathematics Section of the current course catalog.
What can I expect to learn?
Our Program Goals and Objectives are now available online. In this document you will also find what our graduates have to say about our program.
What sizes of classes will I be in?
On average, College Algebra runs about 40 students per class. Calculus I has 30 or so in the fall, somewhat fewer than that in the spring. Most other Math classes run 15-20 students per class.
What type of calculator is required?
Most majors have at least a scientific calculator. Many have some type of graphing calculator. The department owns TI-82 and TI-92 overhead units that are used for classroom demonstrations and recently obtained a classroom set of TI-83+ calculators. These were the result of memorial funds contributed in the honor of Dr. M. Michael Awad, SBU Provost and Professor of Mathematics, 1993-1999.
If you are interested in Calculators, here are some calculator pages you might check the following:
- The Museum of HP Calculators
- TI Home Page
- Casio Home Page (includes more than just calculators)
- Casio Classroom from the University of Central Florida.
- TI-GRAPH link
- TI Customer Support
- TI On-line Calculator Information --this includes links to reference material on calculators and newsletters. If you are interested in the history of TI calculators here is a press release highlighting the first 20 years .
- Here is a history of calculators that goes back even further than just hand-held electronic calculators.
What can I do with a Math major?
There are many industries needing math majors. Visit the Math Careers page of our Web site for a detailed list.
Can I find out about graduates?
Visit our Math Alumni page for a list of graduates. These graduates have given the math department the following information about themselves. If you have specific questions to ask them concerning mathematics study at SBU (or questions about SBU in general), you may send them e-mail.
What will it cost?
The Admissions Department can give you specific costs for SBU. Financial aid is also available and should be considered when looking at the total cost for any institution.
In addition to cost, consider the value of the institution. A college education is an investment. It is our opinion that SBU returns an excellent value on the investment that our students make by coming here. Consider also the "cost" (not financially, but in potential spiritual damage) to attending a public institution. Steve Henderson, a consultant from Christian Consulting for Colleges and Ministries, Inc. (C3M) , gave a presentation on this topic at SBU on November 2, 2002. You can see the PowerPoint slides (in Adobe format) of that presentation and the research base of the statistics he quotes in that presentation . For me, the most striking statistic was that "52% of all born-again students who attend non-Christian colleges no longer identify themselves as born-again and/or have not been to any religious services in the past year." The percentages are not in favor of Christian students who choose to attend non-Christian colleges.
Does the department have any student activities?
See our page detailing the various student activities.
What is the department's mission and vision?
You can read our mission and vision statement on the Mathematics Department mission statement page of our Web site.
Page last revised September 2008.