Mathematics is the science of patterns: pattern recognition, pattern description, and pattern explanation--proof. Because pattern analysis plays an important role in most analytical work, mathematical skills are widely applicable. The Department of Mathematics maintains a rigorous major program, helping to prepare graduates for careers as analysts with consulting firms, as actuaries, as financial analysts in the banking and finance arenas, as teachers, and as software developers. Other majors have pursued advanced degrees in mathematics, computer science, economics, engineering, law, and medicine. Each year several of our majors participate in summer research, often resulting in work published in prestigious professional journals.
A "formal science" is an area of study that uses formal systems to generate knowledge such as in Mathematics and Computer Science. Formal sciences are important subjects because all of quantitative science depends on them.