Academic Departments and Programs

Mathematics and Physical Sciences

The study of mathematics or the physical sciences requires a combination of creative thinking, detailed analysis, and organized problem-solving skills. At The College of Idaho we provide the opportunity to expand and develop these skills as you acquire a broad range of mathematical and scientific knowledge.

Why study Mathematics, Computer Science and Physical Sciences at The College of Idaho?

Our department provides an engaging and pragmatic curriculum that fosters student understanding of the nature and structure of mathematics and physical sciences, and encourages exploration of computational methods and mathematical applications. Our professors are dedicated to helping students develop critical thinking skills that are necessary for understand a rapidly changing and technologically driven world.

The College offers majors in mathematics, mathematics-computer science, and mathematics-physics which include core coursework incorporating programming, problem-solving, abstract analysis and applications, and additional upper-division courses in mathematics, physics, or computer science. Minors are offered in mathematics, physics, and computer science in the natural sciences. A dual-degree engineering minor provides tracks in biological systems engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Career Opportunities for C of I Mathematics and Physical Science Students

An understanding of mathematics and the nature of matter and energy, along with the ability to think critically and solve problems, is essential to many careers. Our graduates have pursued successful careers in a wide variety of fields including business, computer programming, economics, education, engineering, finance, law, and medicine.

Majors

The Mathematics and Physical Sciences Core encourages all majors and minors in our Department to experience similar theoretical, analytical, and algorithmic viewpoints. This collection of courses incorporates programming, problem solving, abstract analysis, and applications.

Mathematics Major

40-43 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

Core Requirements

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

MAT-150

Applied Calculus

4

MAT-175

Single Variable Calculus

4

MAT-275

Multivariable Calculus III

4

Complete 1 course from the following:

PHY-230

Digital Electronics and Laboratory

4

PHY-240

Electronics and Laboratory

4

PHY-271

Analytical Physics and Laboratory

5

Additional Requirements

MAT-494

Independent Study

1-3

MAT- ELEC

Mathematics Upper Division (300-level or above) Coursework

18

Elective upper division courses must include at least two of the following courses:

MAT-431

Complex Variables

3

MAT-441

Topology

3

MAT-451

Real Analysis

3

MAT-461

Algebraic Structures

3

Notes

Students interested in graduate work in mathematics are strongly encouraged to take the following courses:

MAT-451 Real Analysis

MAT-461 Algebraic Structures

The Mathematics-Computer Science major is designed to prepare students for a broad variety of careers and for graduate study. Work in computer science includes software development and design, research in solving problems in computing (including data storage, networking, retrieval, organization, validation, and so on), and research into new ways of using computing devices (computer vision, robotics, machine learning, accessibility studies, etc.). Computer science is one of the most rapidly expanding and changing fields of scientific inquiry. Preparation for work in this field is thus inherently interdisciplinary, requiring a strong mathematical background. Majors also complete coursework in effective communication. The problem-solving capabilities acquired in the Mathematics-Computer Science major are of wide utility in many fields of study and careers not directly connected to computer science. Computer Science majors gain familiarity with concepts and technologies that have become an integral part of virtually every profession. Just as organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills have become a requisite part of most successful employment, the capacity to understand, operate, and manipulate computational tools will soon be a professional necessity in all areas of industry and academia. The Mathematics-Computer Science major fulfills the Professional Studies PEAK as well as the Natural Sciences & Mathematics PEAK.

Mathematics-Computer Science Major

50 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

CSC-152

Computer Science II

4

CSC-160

Introduction to Computer Architecture

3

CSC-235

Programming Languages

3

CSC-270

Applied Databases

3

CSC-340

Design and Analysis of Algorithms

3

CSC-350

Formal Languages and Automata

3

CSC-440 or
CSC-450 or
CSC-455 or
CSC-497

Operating Systems or
Advanced Computer Architecture or
Numerical Computation or
Internship

3

CSC-480

Software Engineering and Senior Design I

2

CSC-481

Software Engineering and Senior Design II

1

CSC-482

Software Engineering and Senior Design III

3

MAT-150 or
MAT-175 or
MAT-275

Applied Calculus or
Single Variable Calculus or
Multivariable Calculus

4

MAT-280 or
MAT-281 or
MAT-282 or
MAT-283

Introduction to Proof: Number Theory or
Introduction to Proof: Combinatorics or
Introduction to Proof: Sets & Functions or
Introduction to Proof: Logic

1

MAT-252

Discrete Mathematics

3

MAT-361

Linear Algebra

3

PHY-230

Digital Electronics and Laboratory

4

SPE-101

Basic Public Speaking

3

Notes

Mathematics-Computer Science majors may not minor in either Computer Studies (Natural Sciences and Mathematics PEAK) or Computer Science (Professional Studies and Enhancements PEAK).

The Mathematics and Physical Sciences Core encourages all majors and minors in our Department to experience similar theoretical, analytical, and algorithmic viewpoints. This collection of courses incorporates programming, problem solving, abstract analysis, and applications.

Mathematics-Physics Major

39-43 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

Core Requirements

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

MAT-275

Multivariable Calculus
(Depending on placement, students may be required to take prerequisite courses MAT-150 and/or MAT-175.)

4

Complete the following:

PHY-271

Analytical Physics I and Laboratory

5

PHY-272

Analytical Physics II and Laboratory

5

Additional Requirements

PHY-494

Independent Study

1-3

MAT/PHY- ELEC

Mathematics or Physics upper-division (300-level or above) coursework (MAT or PHY)

18

Elective upper division courses must include at least two of the following courses:

PHY-301

Theoretical Mechanics

3

PHY-313

Thermal Physics

3

PHY-330

Electricity and Magnetism

3

PHY-400

Quantum Physics

2-3

Notes

Students interested in graduate work in physics are strongly encouraged to take the following courses:

PHY-240/240L Analog Electronics and Laboratory

MAT-431 Complex Variables

PHY All Upper-Division (300/400 level) Physics Courses

Minors

The Applied Mathematics minor is designed to build fundamental quantitative and problem-solving skills in mathematics and the allied fields of computer science and statistics. There is a strong emphasis on applications to mathematical modeling and the collection, management, and use of data. Applied Mathematics minors also gain experience in the laboratory and an appreciation of the role of mathematics and information in society.

All of the courses in the minor are offered every year, and most of them every semester, with the exception of CSC-270. Students wishing to take this course to fulfill the requirements should plan accordingly. Students may need to take MAT-125 Data Analysis and Statistics in preparation for MAT-150 Applied Calculus.

Applied Mathematics Minor

14-16 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

Complete 1 course from the following:

MAT-150

Applied Calculus

4

MAT-175

Single Variable Calculus

4

MAT-275

Multivariable Calculus

4

Complete 1 course from the following:

CSC-270

Applied Databases

3

MAT-212

Advanced Statistical Methods

3

Complete one approved laboratory course from one of the following sciences:

3-5

BIO

Biology

 

CHE

Chemistry

 

GOL

Geology

 

PHY

Physics

 

ENV

Environmental Studies

 

Notes

Approved laboratory courses include BIO-201, BIO-202, BIO-210, CHE-141, CHE-142, ENV-160, GOG-101, PHY-231, PHY-232, PHY-271, and PHY-272.

Computer science is one of the most rapidly changing and most highly interdisciplinary fields of academic inquiry. Because the ideas and techniques of information theory underlie large parts of the workings of modern society, computer science is very effective when paired with other studies. Conceptual developments pioneered by computer scientists have assisted researchers in areas as diverse as biology, sociology, music, and literary analysis. The Computer Science minor both develops and enhances students' analytical and problem-solving capabilities and prepares them to apply information-theoretical ideas and sensibility in their chosen careers.

Computer Science Minor

24 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

MAT-150 or
MAT-175

Applied Calculus
Single Variable Calculus

4

MAT-252

Discrete Mathematics

3

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

CSC-152

Computer Science II

4

CSC-160

Introduction to Computer Architecture

3

CSC-270

Applied Databases

3

CSC-235 or
CSC-340

Programming Languages or
Design and Analysis of Algorithms

3

Notes

Students may elect to minor in Computer Studies (Natural Sciences and Mathematics PEAK) or in Computer Science (Professional Studies and Enhancements PEAK), but not both. Mathematics-Computer Science majors may not minor in either Computer Studies or Computer Science.

The study of computing requires a creative imagination and develops analytical and problem-solving skills that are applicable in a wide range of academic and professional careers. The Computer Studies minor provides students with the academic background necessary to understand the applications of computing and information theory in solving scientific problems, both every day and professional. It also builds familiarity with concepts and technologies of computer science that have become an integral part of virtually every profession. In keeping with the interdisciplinary spirit of the field, minors in Computer Studies complete coursework in the natural sciences and mathematics. Students should recognize that an ability to acquire and use mathematical tools is an assumed part of this minor.

The Computer Studies minor is an excellent complement to majors not always thought of as allied to computer science such as political economy, business, or psychology, since these are increasingly concerned with very large sets of data.

Computer Studies Minor

18-20 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

MAT-150 or
MAT-175

Applied Calculus
Single-Variable Calculus

4

CSC-150

Computer Science I

4

CSC-152

Computer Science II

4

CSC-270

Applied Databases

3

Complete 3-5 credits from the following:

BIO-102

Biology of Human Disease and Laboratory

4

BIO-201 or
BIO-210

Molecules to Cells and Laboratory or
Molecules to Cells and Integrated Laboratory Research

4

BIO-202

Organismal Biology and Laboratory

4

CHE-124

Forensic Science and Laboratory

3

CHE-141

General Chemistry I and Laboratory

4

CHE-142

General Chemistry II and Laboratory

4

ENV-160

Environmental Science and Laboratory

4

PHY-230

Digital Electronics

3

PHY-231

General Physics I and Laboratory

4

PHY-232

General Physics II and Laboratory

4

PHY-271

Analytical Physics I and Laboratory

5

PHY-272

Analytical Physics II and Laboratory

5

Notes

Students who wish to enhance their understanding of the foundations of computer science or to prepare for careers more closely related to the field should consider the following additional courses:

CSC-340 Design and Analysis of Algorithms

MAT-212 Advanced Statistical Methods

MAT-252 Discrete Mathematics

MAT-361 Linear Algebra

Engineering gives students the opportunity to be simultaneously creative and practical. They can combine the principles learned in science and mathematics with the methods and techniques of engineering to develop theory, models, and applications. The Dual-Degree Engineering Minor is meant to develop a foundation preparing the student for further study and a career in engineering.

Engineering schools require that many general science and mathematics courses be completed at The College of Idaho before a student transfers under the dual-degree engineering program. Therefore it is recommended that students complete a mathematics or mathematics-physics major if interested in the dual-degree engineering minor. (Note: Choosing a major other than mathematics or mathematics-physics will likely result in the student spending four years at The College of Idaho to complete their major. Upper-level coursework from the engineering institution will transfer back to The College of Idaho to fulfill the mathematics or mathematics-physics major requirements. (Please see the dual-degree engineering requirements for affiliated institutions.) Students can fulfill two PEAKS upon completion of this minor: Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Professional Studies.

Dual-Degree Engineering Minor*

Minor credits vary dependent upon chosen path (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

MAT/PHY

Mathematics and/or Physics Upper-Division (300- or 400-level) Courses

9

Acceptance to an approved engineering program

The following courses are required for most fields of engineering and most computer science programs:

CHE-141

General Chemistry I & Laboratory

4

MAT-150

Applied Calculus

4

MAT-175

Single Variable Calculus

4

MAT-275

Multivariable Calculus

4

PHY-170

Engineering Analysis

2

PHY-271

Analytical Physics I & Laboratory

5

PHY-272

Analytical Physics II & Laboratory

5

Additional Humanities electives as specified by the partner dual-degree institution.

Notes

*The required courses specific to the Dual-Degree Engineering Minor depend upon the engineering field and the engineering institution. Every student completing this Minor should closely consult with a dual-degree engineering advisor to choose appropriate College of Idaho courses.

Mathematics Minor

21 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

PREREQUISITES

MAT-175 or
MAT-275*

Single Variable Calculus or
Multivariable Calculus

4

Complete 1 course from the following:

MAT-280

Intro to Proof: Number Theory

1

MAT-281

Intro to Proof: Combinatorics

1

MAT-282

Intro to Proof: Sets & Functions

1

MAT-283

Intro to Proof: Logic

1

MINOR REQUIREMENTS:

Complete 18 MAT credits (including the prerequisites)**:

MAT

6 credits of the 18 must be 300-level or above

18

Complete 3 credits from 1 of the following sciences:

BIO

Biology

3

CHE

Chemistry

3

GOL

Geology

3

PHY

Physics

3

Students who wish to satisfy the requirements for a second teaching field in Secondary Education must complete 20 credits of mathematics (MAT) courses including the following courses:

MAT-125 or
MAT-212

Data Analysis & Statistics or
Advanced Statistical Methods

3

MAT-252

Discrete Mathematics

3

MAT-311

Probability

3

MAT-361

Linear Algebra

3

MAT-370

Geometry

3

Notes

*Depending on Math placement, students may be required to take MAT-150 Applied Calculus prior to taking MAT-175.

*4 credits of Computer Science (CSC) may be substituted for a lower-level MAT course.

The Physical Sciences minor is designed for students desiring to better understand the physical sciences but who do not plan on pursuing a career in the sciences.

Physical Sciences Minor

15 - 17 credits

Course Course Title Credits

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

MAT-150 or higher

Applied Calculus or a higher-level math course
(excluding MAT-221/MAT-222 Mathematics for Elementary
Teachers I and II)

4

Complete 2 courses from the following:

CHE-141

General Chemistry I and Laboratory

4

CHE-142

General Chemistry II and Laboratory

4

PHY-231 or
PHY-271

General Physics I and Laboratory or
Analytical Physics I and Laboratory

4
5

PHY-232 or
PHY-272

General Physics II and Laboratory or
Analytical Physics II and Laboratory

4
5

And complete at least 3 additional credits in PHY, CHE, GOL or GOG

The fundamental nature of physics makes an understanding of its principles, techniques and limitations important in the acquisition and extension of knowledge in all the sciences. In addition, it has historical connections to metaphysics and natural philosophy, which makes it an integral part of a balanced liberal arts curriculum. Physics minors should recognize and gracefully accept that an ability to acquire and use mathematical tools is an assumed part of their minors.

Physics Minor

19 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

PREREQUISITES

MAT-175

Single Variable Calculus

4

MAT-275

Multivariable Calculus

4

MAT-352

Differential Equations

3

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

PHY-271

Analytical Physics I & Laboratory

5

PHY-272

Analytical Physics II & Laboratory

5

Complete 9 credits from the following:

PHY

Physics Upper-Division (300- or 400-level) Courses

6

PHY

Physics Coursework - any level

3

Notes

Completing this minor and 1 additional credit in physics satisfies the state requirements for the secondary education second-teaching field in physics.