UNDERGRADUATE: Learning Objectives

The Bachelor degree programs in Mathematics offered at USC are constructed to provide basic knowledge of modern mathematical techniques in the areas most relevant for each specific degree, and to allow each student to augment that knowledge by the study of additional mathematical topics that address his or her own particular interests and goals. Students should develop the intellectual approaches and habits that characterize both the development of mathematical structures and the application of mathematics: precision of thought, the logical development of argument, deep and insightful understanding of material, the need for justification of statements, the art of recognizing patterns in diverse situations and areas, the ability to abstract general principles from specific situations, an appreciation of the structure and beauty of the subject and the power of its applications.

To accommodate a wide spectrum of students' interests and goals, the department offers both BA and BS degrees, in both Mathematics and in Applied and Computational Mathematics. The Mathematics BA and BS degrees require a more focused study of theoretical material than the applied degrees, offering a deeper understanding of the core areas of algebra and analysis. The Bachelor of Science degrees provide a robust and broad range of material for those students desiring an intense study of mathematics. The BS programs have a greater number of core requirements than the BA in the areas appropriate for the degree and insist on a greater experience with courses that use mathematics and are offered by other departments.

In keeping with this framework, the Bachelor of Arts program requires the core material of Algebra and Analysis, as well as a course in Geometry, and leaves the student free to choose three remaining high level courses according to their interests. The Bachelor of Science program requires additional exposure to the core material, as well as one course in physics and additional courses offered outside the department in which mathematics plays a pivotal role.

The Applied BA degree requires courses in probability and numerical analysis, four additional courses within the department in material including algebra, statistics, analysis, number theory, combinatorics, vector analysis, modeling and optimization, a course in computing and additional electives according to the students' interest. The Applied BS degree is more intensive in requiring additional depth in analysis and statistics.

Students completing the programs in Mathematics, having made an appropriate choice of electives, should be well prepared for graduate study in mathematics. The Applied and Computational programs focus on the areas most useful in the application of mathematics to real-world problems. All programs offered, and the applied degrees in particular, train graduates for technologically oriented careers in which mathematics plays an essential role, such as aerospace, information technology, data analytics, the financial, health and accounting industries and management.