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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What percentage of students at Rose-Hulman graduate as math majors?

A: Before answering your question let me explain the idea of double majors which presents an excellent opportunity here at Rose. Most math majors at Rose-Hulman are double majors about 2/3 of which take math as a second major. We are now graduating about 20 math majors and double majors each year.  So even though the number of strictly math majors seems small there are many advanced math courses.

Q: How many math majors applied to graduate school this past year (other than medical and law schools), and how many were accepted?  What graduate schools are they attending?

A: I have been here for over 15 years. In the past 15 years every graduate who applied to graduate school has been accepted at a good school. Sometimes the students go on to graduate programs in areas other than mathematics. Each year a few students go on to grad school. Many of those who do not, still have the talent and drive to do so, they just have other interests. Most of the students who do not, are very interested in using their math skills to solve hard real life problems in a variety of areas. Here is a web page of grad schools attended by our students.

The department has revised its curriculum so that students who want to go on to graduate school will be able to take the right courses to prepare them. The courses are offered on a regular basis.

Part of this is cultural. Most students at Rose major in engineering, and for most of them immediate employment after graduate school with further advanced training or graduate school after a few years on the job is the typical career path (50% eventually). A very large percentage of our students have the intellect and work ethic to be a strong success in good graduate schools. If they decide to do so their education at Rose is a very good preparation. However, our excellent success in placement makes getting a good position after school extremely attractive to many of our students.

Q: Approximately what percent of current math majors are female?

A: During the first few years after the first coeducational graduations in 1999 about 15% of the math majors and double major graduates were women. About 18% of Rose-Hulman students are women. Now, we are attracting more women into the freshman class and the percentage for female math majors and double majors is around 35%. We work very hard to make our department welcoming to women, but don't have any special programs or scholarships that target women, beyond Rose-Hulman programs. As you may know Rose-Hulman has only been a coed institution for 15 years. However, I feel, based on my experiences at other schools, that women feel as comfortable here as at other schools. In my classes there have been as few as 1 woman in a class of 16, however in the classroom the female students have always been accepted on par with the other students. Of course there is the normal social banter that goes on between college students.

Q: What do you consider the strengths and weaknesses of your department as compared to other schools?



  • many, many "math nerds" - students who like math and who are pretty good at it without being a math major
  • large faculty for a small private school, all of whom are dedicated teachers and active scholars
  • excellent opportunity for a double major, especially with computer science, physics, economics or chemistry, double majors with other engineering disciplines such as electrical, computer or mechanical engineering.
  • exceptionally strong focus on undergraduate mathematics education and undergraduate math research
  • exceptional computing environment
  • Rose is a student (learning and development) centered environment and our department is a full player in that philosophy.


  • We are a focused institution with a few excellent (9-10) programs not a full service university. Though our humanities and social science department is very talented and offers a rich set of courses we are an institution focused on engineering, science, and mathematics. For a student who is pretty confident that they are interested in a career in engineering, science, or mathematics and prefers a smaller college environment to the large state school, I think Rose is one of the best in the nation. On the other hand if you are not prepared to focus your career choices so narrowly a comprehensive university is a better choice.

Q: What opportunities are there for a math major to learn about specific fields of interest?

A: In our math program we have many elective courses. We require students to take a breadth of science and humanities courses as well. In addition we also require our students to take at least 6 sophomore and higher courses in other program areas to develop a breadth and depth of experience. Our idea is for students to have a solid idea of how math applies to these areas. We especially encourage our majors to get a minor or double major in some other area, if they are not going to grad school. If they are going to grad school we recommend using electives for a deeper study of mathematics.

Q: What else do you think I should know about Rose-Hulman's math department that would influence my decision?

A: If you have time, please check out our web site. It has a lot of information. One thing that may interest you is our unusual level of success in various mathematics competitions. We usually have the largest numbers of competitors of any school our size, probably about 5 times the size of comparable schools. (Note that the student asking questions was the winner of our freshman mathematics competition.)