Mathematics & 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.


17 Yotes arose bright and early to take the 76th annual Putnam competion on December 5, 2015. This strenuous six-hour examination is one of the world's toughest math contests, with an average score very close to zero points. Colton Grainger earned a very respectable 10 points on the exam! This year's top score was 99 of a possible 120. Congratulations to Colton and to all C of I participants.

Johanna Mori, David Riser, and Leo Trujillo earned an Honorable Mention for their entry in the 2016 COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, a grueling 96-hour ordeal that took place at the end of Winter Break. Their solution of the problem “Hot Bath” placed them among the top 34% of 7421 participating teams worldwide.

Finally, each of two C of I teams successfully solved 2 of the 3 cryptanalysis problems posed in the 6th annual Kryptos competition. Successful teams were Will Callahan, Erik Nordquist, and Leo Trujillo, along with lone Yote Sam Chandler. These teams were among 18 of 92 participating teams to earn this distinction. Congratulations to all of this year's Putnam, MCM, and Kryptos competitors!

Why study mathematics 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-physics, and mathematics–computer science, which all include core coursework incorporating problem-solving, abstract analysis, computer programming, and applications, as well as additional upper-division courses in each of the three disciplines. Minors are offered in mathematics, physics, computer science, and technical and analytical skills 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 mathematics and physical sciences majors/minors

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.