Mathematics & Natural Science

Dr. Greg Townsend explains the vital role which Mathematics and Natural Science play in Christendom's core curriculum.

Omnia in mensura et numero et pondere disposuisti.
Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight.

—Wisdom 11:21

Take away number in all things and all things perish.
Take calculation from the world and all is enveloped in dark ignorance, nor can he who does not know the way to reckon be distinguished from the rest of the animals.
—St. Isidore of Seville

The Mathematics Major and Minor are great ways to enhance your education, increase your set of skills, learn interesting mathematics, and see how it's used in your field. From a professional standpoint a Mathematics Major or Minor can help your degree stand out to prospective employers. It will allow you to work in many computer-related jobs. It is also good preparation if you plan to take the Engineer in Training exam. Anyone considering entering the teaching profession will find their employment prospects are proportional to the number of mathematics courses taken.

Math Major Credit Worksheet Physics Minor Credit Worksheet
Math Minor Credit Worksheet Math Minor Schedule

The tradition of Aristotle and St. Thomas sees that mathematics is the science of abstract quantity, a science which arises directly or by analogy from a consideration of the quantitative aspects of things found in the physical world. These quantitative aspects are rooted in the fundamental property of things “having part outside of part.” The two branches of mathematics, Geometry and Algebra, arise out of the observation that the parts have common boundaries (continuous quantity) or can have no common boundaries (discrete quantity).

Mathematics, a subject delightful to know in itself, is also an essential part of a liberal education: the unique simplicity of its subject matter allows its students to practice logical thought in a realm in which truth is readily apparent; and its instrumental use opens insights into the nature of physical reality that are not readily apparent by other means.

Christendom offers one elementary course in Euclidean Geometry and another in the historical development and philosophical aspects of mathematics. College Algebra and several more advanced courses deepen a student’s mathematical knowledge, as well as prepare him for programs in business, engineering, mathematics, or science. Any of the courses in mathematics fulfills the one course requirement of the core curriculum. In all courses the student is helped to understand the place of mathematics in man’s understanding of the world around him.

Requirements for the Mathematics Major
Nine upper-level courses in Mathematics ( 30 semester hours) are required of majors – seven designated and two electives.  The designated courses are: MATH 203 Calculus III, MATH 304 Linear Algebra, MATH 261 Differential Equations, MATH 301 Fundamentals of Advanced Mathematics, MATH 441 Real Analysis, MATH 422 Abstract Algebra, and MATH 512 Senior Thesis. In addition the department requires students to have a competency in basic physics, demonstrated by passing SCIE 205 General Physics II + Lab course.

A student may obtain a minor in mathematics by completing 18 credit hours of 200 level or above mathematics courses.  These must include the Calculus Sequence (MATH 201, MATH 202, MATH 203), the General Physics courses can also be used to complete the mathematics minor.  The minor generally corresponds to the first two years of an undergraduate degree in mathematics. 

Courses listed below are for 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted.  A course grade of at least C-minus is necessary for a course to fulfill the department’s requirements for a major or minor.


Mathematics Courses

MATH 101  Introduction to Mathematical Thought   This course focuses on our changing conception of the notion of extension leading to the rise of the various branches of mathematics and the application of mathematics to describing the universe.

MATH 103 Euclidean Geometry   A study of selected books from Euclid’s Elements. Topics covered include plane geometry, theory of proportions, and classical arithmetic. Students will also investigate the relation between mathematics and more comprehensive philosophical issues.

MATH 105  College Algebra and Trigonometry   Topics include theory of equations, inequalities, trigonometry, logarithms, exponentials, and analytic geometry.

MATH 150  Introduction to Statistics    The purpose of the course is to introduce the student to the ideas and concepts of statistics and the statistical models used for the decision making in different areas of life.  Topics covered include description of sets of data, elementary probability, discrete and continuous random variables, the Binomial and Normal Random variables, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing.

MATH 153  Computer Programming   An introduction to problem solving methods and algorithm development. Programming in a high-level language including how to design, code, debug, and document programs using techniques of good programming style.  Prerequisite:  MATH 105 or equivalent.

MATH 201  Calculus I   Basic course in differential calculus with an introduction to integration.  Topics covered include limits and continuity, the notion of the derivative, techniques of differentiation, the definite and indefinite integral, and the fundamental theorem of calculus.  Prerequisite: MATH 105 or equivalent or permission of the instructor.  (4 credit hours)

MATH 202  Calculus II   Continuation of MATH 201. Topics include inverse functions, techniques of integration, sequences and series, the conic sections and the polar coordinate system. Prerequisite: MATH 201 or equivalent. (4 credit hours)

Advanced Courses

MATH 203  Calculus III   Continuation of MATH 202. Topics include limits and continuity in three dimensions, vectors, vector functions, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, the notions of gradient, divergence, and curl, and the basic theorems of vector calculus. Prerequisite: MATH 201 or equivalent.

MATH 261  Differential Equations   This course covers the basic techniques for solution of ordinary differential equations.  Topics include first and second order linear equations, non-linear equations, systems of linear equations, the fundamental matrix, series solutions of differential equations, and introduction to stability theory.  Prerequisite: MATH 202 or equivalent. 

MATH 232  Probability and Statistics   Introduction to the basic notions of probability and statistics. Topics covered include combinatorial probability, distribution functions, discrete and continuous random variables and distributions, conditional probability, sums of random variables, the central limit theorem, and typical applications in reliability, sampling, and estimation theory. Prerequisite: MATH 202 or equivalent.

MATH 301  Fundamentals of Advanced Mathematics   This course introduces the student to modern mathematical structures that are not present in introductory mathematics courses and aims to develop a student’s skill in composing and writing proofs. Topics include elementary logic, methods of proof, philosophies of mathematics, set theory, functions and relations, cardinality, elementary number theory, rings and domains. Prerequisite: MATH 203 or equivalent.

MATH 304  Linear Algebra   Introduction to the concepts and theory of linear algebra. Topics include vector spaces, bases, matrices, linear mappings, scalar products and orthogonality, determinants, bilinear forms, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, diagonalization, the spectral theorem and the SVD decomposition. Prerequisite: MATH 203 or equivalent. (4 credit hours)

MATH 353  Symbolic Logic   Introduction to symbolic logic and the theory of formal systems. Topics include the traditional logic of categorical sentences, truth functional logic, the first order predicate calculus, higher order systems, the notions of decidability and completeness, and some typical applications, among them a brief look at the design of digital computing machinery. Prerequisite: PHIL 101 or equivalent.

MATH 354  Modal Logic   An introduction to the structure and techniques of the logic of necessity and possibility from an axiomatic standpoint. Topics include sentential modal logic and the systems T, S4, and kS5; validity; decision procedures and completeness; and quantified modal logic. Prerequisite: MATH 353 or permission of the instructor.

MATH 355  Mathematical Logic   Development of the principal topics of mathematical logic.  Through an axiomatic approach, the course treats the foundations of mathematics and illustrates the power as well as the limitations of mathematical reasoning.  Topics include propositional and quantificational logic from an axiomatic standpoint; formal number theory; recursive functions, Gödel’s theorem, and recursive undecidability; and an introduction to axiomatic set theory.  Prerequisite:  MATH 353 or permission of the instructor.

MATH 441  Real Analysis  This course is a rigorous introduction to the fundamental theorems of the introductory calculus courses.  It aims to develop in the student a sense of the unity of mathematics and further expose him to the importance of rigorous proof in mathematics.  Topics include: the real number system, sequences & limits, continuity of functions , the derivative and , the Riemannian integral.  Prerequisite:  At least a “B” in MATH 301 or equivalent.  (4 credit hours).

MATH 422  Abstract Algebra  This course is an introduction to the ideas of modern algebra which enables one to reinterpret the results of classical algebra, giving them a greater unity and generality. Topics include: equivalence relations, functions, properties of the integers, groups, rings, integral domains, ideals and fields. Prerequisite: At least a “B” in MATH 301 or equivalent.

MATH 490-99  Special Topics or Directed Studies in Mathematics   A topic chosen according to the interests of the students and the instructor, such as: applied mathematics, game theory, number theory, philosophy of mathematics, History of Mathematics.

MATH 512  Senior Seminar and Thesis  Direction of the students with his senior thesis, a major scholarly paper on a mathematical topic of his interest. The student receives instruction and individual assistance in development of a topic, research methods, organizing and writing a mathematical paper. Includes a one hour per week seminar. (4 credit. hrs.)

In his Physics Aristotle laid the foundations for a philosophical knowledge of the natural, changeable world but he failed to fully develop what modern scientists, beginning with Galileo and Newton, have developed by exploiting the potential of mathematics to describe and systematize our knowledge of the natural world.  In the context of the broad Thomistic vision, the student is shown how the discipline of Natural Science is placed in the hierarchy of human knowledge and taught the valid insights of both traditions.

The College offers one introductory course dealing with the historical and philosophical principles of science, and another concentrating on the first quantified knowledge of the natural world: Descriptive Astronomy.  The more advanced courses deepen the student’s understanding of the nature of physical reality as well as prepare him for programs in business, engineering, or science.  Any of the science courses satisfies the core requirement in science

Requirements for the Physics Minor
A student may obtain a minor in physics by completing 18 credit hours of 200 level or above courses in physics – three designated and two electives.  The designated courses are:  SCIE 204  General Physics I, SCIE 205 General Physics II, SCIE 206 General Physics III, and their lab components.  At least eight credits must be unique to the minor and may not be used to fulfill requirements of the student’s major. In addition the department requires all physics minors to have a competency in calculus, demonstrated by passing MATH 201 Calculus I.  Courses are for 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted.  A course grade of at least C-minus is necessary for a course to fulfill the department’s requirements for the minor.


Basic Courses

SCIE 102 Introduction to Scientific Thought   This course focuses on our changing conception of the universe, the rise of the various physical sciences, and the development of the scientific method.

SCIE 104  Descriptive Astronomy   A study of astronomy beginning with its historical roots and leading to our current understanding of the universe.  Major developments are placed in their historical and philosophic context by appropriate study of original works.  Students also study the night sky and methods used by astronomers, by means of activities outside the classroom.

SCIE 204  General Physics I    Introduction to mechanics.  Topics in mechanics include Newton’s laws of motion; physical concepts of mass, velocity, acceleration, motion, energy, and work; conservation laws, oscillatory motion and application of mechanics to simple problems.   Co-requisite: MATH 201 or permission of the instructor.

SCIE 205  General Physics II    Continuation of SCIE 204.  Topics include fluids, thermodynamics, geometric optics, and electromagnetism. Prerequisite: At least a “B” in MATH 201 & SCIE 204 or permission of the instructor.

SCIE 206  General Physics  III   Continuation of SCIE 205.  Topics include wave motion, the nature of light and optical phenomena,  special relativity and quantum physics. Prerequisite: At least a “B” in SCIE 205 or permission of the instructor.

SCIE 204L-205L  Laboratory for General Physics I, II & III   Students conduct experiments illustrating the physics discussed in the classroom and learn and practice principles of data acquisition and data analysis.  (Required with SCIE 204-206)  (1 credit hour per semester)


Advanced Courses

SCIE/PHIL 420 Philosophical Issues in Modern Science   The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the basic scientific discoveries of the 20th Century regarding the origin of the universe, the existence of a creator, and the immaterial nature of man and how they relate to the Thomistic understanding of the same issues.  Topics include “Big Bang” Cosmology, Anthropic coincidences, human mind and the computer, Quantum Mechanics and reality, and philosophical issues in contemporary evolutionary biology.

SCIE 490-99  Special Topics or Directed Studies in Physics   A topic chosen according to the interests of the students and the instructor, such as Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism and Fluid Mechanics.