by Matthew Orsi
Last week in this section, I covered the Actuarial Mathematics major here at Bryant University. This week I am turning to the Mathematics department’s other major offering: Applied Mathematics and Statistics. I myself began as an actuary before switching to Applied Math/Stat during the fall of my junior year. If you have an interest in mathematics but not necessarily finance or insurance, this is the major for you.
The Applied Mathematics and Statistics major emphasizes quantitative thinking skills and is designed to prepare students for roles in general analytics. By using their background in applied statistics, students are able to solve business challenges with mathematical techniques and models. More importantly, students not only understand the results of statistical analysis they perform using tools like SAS and Minitab, they are also able to communicate them in a matter that is conducive to the success of their team or organization. The opportunities are endless for students with a mathematics background, especially with the abundance of data that companies are now realizing is available. Math is an integral part of all facets of daily life, from health care to government to high-profile corporations and academia. Many of the popular applications that we use every day like Pandora and Netflix are the result of high-powered algorithms running in the background.
Bryant’s Applied Math/Stat program is incredibly flexible and allows students to tailor the major to their particular mathematical interests. The only three required courses (beyond three courses of Calculus) are Actuarial (read Applied) Statistics I and II and the Applied Math/Stat Capstone course. From there, students are free to choose seven additional mathematics courses from a list of about twenty. These courses range fall into a couple of buckets: mathematical theory, actuarial mathematics, SAS, and miscellaneous. For students who desire to learn more about the fundamental theory of mathematics, there are Linear Algebra, Discrete Structures, Geometry, and Elementary Number Theory. Actuarial coursework, as covered last week, looks at Interest Theory, Pensions, and Advanced Probability. Applied Math/Stat majors are also highly encouraged to pursue the SAS Data Mining certificate through the Math department. Through the partnership with the SAS Institute, students can take a collection of four courses (which count toward the major) that focus on mathematical analysis with the SAS programming language and platforms. These courses are SAS Programming and Applied Statistics, Applied Data Mining, Applied Multivariate Statistics, and either Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments or Applied Analytics using SAS. Students gain first-hand experience with programs like Enterprise Guide and Enterprise Miner while working on techniques like ANOVA, regression, and decision trees. Lastly, in the miscellaneous bucket there are courses like Econometrics and Sports Statistics that apply statistics to different kinds of real-world scenarios.
To summarize, the Applied Mathematics and Statistics major teaches students to think and communicate quantitatively, taking their love for numbers, critical thinking, and problem solving and turning it into a career in analysis. Students more interested in the major can reach out to the Mathematics Chair, Kristin Kennedy, or the Actuarial Association which has a branch devoted to Applied Math/Stat, at firstname.lastname@example.org.