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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

MS 476, Math Sciences Building
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
T. 403.220.5203

Applied Mathematics

Bachelor of Science

(Faculty of Science)

The Applied Mathematics program at the University of Calgary prepares students to use mathematics to quantify and solve problems which arise in all areas of human endeavour. Applied Math students develop knowledge based upon analysis, algebra, geometry and mathematic principles associated with physics, computation and numerical analysis, allowing them a greater understanding of those areas of mathematics that have proven the most useful in solving real world problems or seem to offer promise for present problems.

Applied mathematics is a broad field which historically emphasized theoretical physics and physical problems, giving deeper understanding of the physical world and enabling accurate predictions of physical phenomena. Although physics problems ranging from fluids to quantum systems remain a significant part of applied mathematics, the field has grown to include a wide variety of subjects – biomathematics, cryptography, scientific computation, mathematical modelling, economics, financial mathematics, operations research and engineering.

General Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission applicants are required to present the appropriate high school subjects and a competitive average.

Application/Document Deadlines

Why take this program?

Applying yourself
Do you enjoy being challenged? Critical thinking is an extensive and integral part of every course in the Applied Mathematics program. It is a process in which applied mathematics majors learn to keep clearly in mind the precise nature of the mathematical objects defined, exactly what conclusions can be drawn, the logical progression of reaching them, and how they may relate in a consistent manner to real-world problems. This ability to identify key factors and apply appropriate methods in problem solving is a valuable asset in any work environment and can help build a successful career.

More than just formulas
In addition to critical thinking and learning mathematical methods, students engage in creative thinking as they try to find their own ways of understanding and appreciating abstract material and invent correct solutions to problems that go beyond standard exercises. Applied mathematics students will soon discover and appreciate how creative mathematical thought has led to great advancements in mathematics, to the resolution of several famous math problems, and to establishment of new fields of study.

A language without boundaries
The language and ideas of mathematics and the natural sciences are more universal than any other discipline. A great deal of scientific material (particularly basic scientific laws) is expressed mathematically, so mathematics can provide the unifying means by which people of different cultures and languages inquire about the same things. Its ability to cross international lines is largely reflected in the cultural diversity of people within the math and science community on campus, and clearly demonstrates mathematics’ cultural independence and universal relevance.

What do I need to get in?

You’ll need to meet the admission requirements of the Faculty of Science .

What will I study in my first year?

In your first year you will obtain the basic mathematical skills required in all science and engineering disciplines, including Applied Math by taking courses such as:

  • calculus: calculating with continuous quantities
  • linear methods: solving systems of equations via systematic techniques
  • computer science: basic knowledge of computers and programming

Calculus and linear methods provide you with the basic tools required to set up and solve models for quantitative problems. Computer science will give you a method to find solutions to quantitative problems where exact solutions are difficult or impossible to obtain, or simply too tedious to obtain by other means (e.g. by hand).

Courses in first year may also include a number of options from all Faculties, which actuarial students are encouraged to take for the sake of interdisciplinary content.

In addition to the regular program there is an honours program in applied mathematics which begins in the first year. If you have with a passion for math and excelled in mathematics in your high school careers you may wish to consider the honours program. The honours courses are designed to encourage deeper study of the subject, and to challenge students by broadening their experience beyond the regular courses. Because the honuors courses are more challenging they have stronger prerequisites than the regular courses. Non-honours students who meet the prerequisites are allowed to include honours courses in their program.

Some attractions of the honours courses are smaller class sizes, streamlined presentation allowing access to advanced courses more quickly without sacrifice of prerequisite knowledge, and lecturers screened for teaching abilities. There is a gateway honours course which has been designed to introduce students to the beauty of mathematics from the very start of their student experience.

What will I study in later years?

Your second year builds on the basic skills learned in first year, and introduces you to the calculus of several variables, vector spaces, more advanced ideas about matrices, and a calculus based first course in probability and statistics. Your first course in differential equations should also be taken in the second year.

In your third and fourth years you will take courses in analysis, a study of the mathematical foundations of calculus and an investigation of advanced results, including proofs, which extend and amplify the beginning calculus material of the first and second years. For breadth and strength in your subject you will take required courses in complex variables, numerical analysis, partial differential equations, and a third course in linear algebra. Other required courses include a choice between abstract algebra and a second course in mathematical statistics plus a second course in differential equations or in numerical analysis or a first course in optimization.

Students are also expected to take a number of courses from outside their major field and are encouraged to take courses that will provide breadth and contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of their degree.

Students also have the choice to further focus their Applied Math degree by selecting an optional concentration in one of the following areas:

Concentration in Mathematical Finance and Risk Management

Mathematics is an integral part of everyday life whether we realize it or not. The financial markets and money economy are just two examples that rely heavily on mathematics.

In this concentration students will learn about differential equations, financial markets and derivatives, pricing models, and the relationship between calculus theories and the futures and options market. This concentration is a must for students wishing to pursue a career in finance, risk management or money markets with a focus on their mathematical foundations.

Concentration in Computational Applied Mathematics

Using mathematical models to solve numerical solutions to continuous optimization problems is an area where this concentration is important. An example of this is when determining the optimal flow of fluids and the design of pipelines, airplanes or water treatment facilities.

Numerical analysis, mathematics of image processing, applied mathematics and theories are key influences in this concentration. Students interested in this concentration can focus their careers in the areas of software design and engineering, computer visualization and imaging.

What can I do with my degree?

Graduates of Applied Mathematics have obtained a strong background in analyzing problems, isolating their essential features, and applying analytical tools toward their solution. They are skilled, knowledgeable and capable of independent thought, which enables them to meet academic and professional challenges in a variety of fields. Graduates are particularly adept in relating theory to practice, as well as gathering and organizing data and logical calculation. Through careful program planning, applied mathematics graduates may be prepared for work involving statistical or economic analysis, employment in the computer industry, or various others sectors that require scientific application. Possible careers may be found in government departments, IT companies, petroleum production, machinery manufacturing, engineering, and businesses that assess financial risk. With teacher training, graduates can take advantage of the increasing demand for math instructors in primary and secondary education. Career opportunities might exist in

Statistics Canada, Bank of Canada

Primary education, secondary education

Financial risk analysis, systems analysis

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Mathematics and Statistics