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Exceptional Preparation, Diverse Opportunities

In today’s data-driven world, mathematical fluency is essential in almost every industry. Tailor your studies to match your academic and career interests with UNC’s versatile math bachelor’s degree program. A math degree with a focus on secondary teaching, applied mathematics or liberal arts can propel you toward graduate school or employment in education, business, statistics, computer science and many other fields.

No matter which focus you choose, you’ll benefit from UNC’s small classes and highly engaged instructors. Our math bachelor’s degree program offers extraordinary access to Ph.D. faculty, providing you with unusually broad opportunities for academic guidance, professional mentoring and research participation. You’ll graduate with exceptional preparation for the job market, and if you’re seeking employment as a secondary math teacher, you’ll benefit from UNC’s highly regarded, innovative teacher education programs.

Oscar Levin


Oscar Levin
Assistant Professor, Mathematics

For UNC mathematics professor Oscar Levin, academics have come full circle. He was a double major in mathematics and philosophy at UNC and earned his PhD in mathematical logic at the University of Connecticut in 2009. 

In 2011, Levin returned to UNC. “I had experienced UNC—and the math department in particular—as a student. I knew the faculty to be friendly, focused on students and passionate about teaching, and I wanted to be part of that sort of a department.”

Those qualities are what he believes makes the UNC mathematics department unique from other universities. “Many of our faculty specialize in mathematics education, and everyone in the department takes teaching seriously. Our first responsibility is to our students. This gives undergraduates access to faculty that they just wouldn’t have at a larger university.”

That focus on students is also reflected in one of Levin’s recent projects. “My recent project that I’m most proud of is my discrete mathematics book, Discrete Mathematics: An Open Introduction.”

The book is used as a textbook at UNC and is used by at least four other universities so far (the first edition was released August 2015). The textbook is free and open-source. “I decided to pursue this model to help combat the ridiculously high textbook prices (for example, a fairly common choice for textbook for this class costs nearly $300),” Levin says.

He describes his current research as an “interplay between graph theory and mathematical logic. I use tools of computability theory to try to understand why some problems in mathematics are harder than others,” he says. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with talented undergraduates on some research projects, including two that resulted in peer-reviewed publications.”

That also brings a certain symmetry to his work, giving him an opportunity to involve undergraduates in research, much as he himself enjoyed undergraduate mathematics at UNC.

Degree Options

B.S. in Mathematics, Secondary Teaching Emphasis

Few mathematics bachelor’s degree programs can match UNC’s dual focus on high-level mathematics content and advanced teacher training. You’ll get the rare benefit of earning your teaching certification while working with Ph.D. math faculty in a math department, rather than an education department. This concentration includes a one-semester student-teaching placement, plus coursework in teaching, curriculum and pedagogy. Close to 100 percent of recent graduates from our Secondary Teaching concentration have found jobs as math teachers within a year of graduation.

B.S. in Mathematics, Liberal Arts Emphasis

This focus area prepares you to enter a math graduate degree program or to seek immediate employment. Advanced math skills and quantitative expertise are in high demand in business, engineering, finance, law, scientific research and other professions. You’ll explore higher mathematical concepts such as calculus, real and complex analysis, differential equations, linear and abstract algebra, discrete mathematics, probability and statistics.

B.S. in Mathematics, Applied Math Emphasis

Within the Applied Math focus area, choose one of three concentrations: computer science, statistics or applied math. All three prepare you to pursue careers and graduate study in fields related to higher technology, engineering, business, industry, scientific research and social and governmental policy.

The computer science concentration offers advanced coursework and training in skills such as programming and software development.

Learn to design and analyze statistical models for a wide range of purposes in the applied statistics concentration.

Use mathematics to address real-life challenges related to environmental, governmental, industrial, military and social issues in the applied math concentration.

Minor Options

Minor in Applied Statistics

Statistical expertise can add career-boosting value to many majors. This minor includes 20 to 21 credits of coursework in subjects such as probability theory, linear regression, sampling techniques and calculus.

Minor in Mathematics (Liberal Arts Emphasis)

The basic math minor pairs well with majors in business, science and the social sciences; it adds skills that improve your competitiveness on the job market. You’ll enjoy broad flexibility to take courses in calculus, statistics, probability, differential equations, numerical analysis and other advanced subjects.

Minor in Mathematics (Secondary Teaching Emphasis)

This minor does not lead to a teacher certification, but it combines well with education-related degrees to provide you with expertise in the important science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education category. Coursework covers linear algebra, calculus, geometry and discrete mathematics.

Minor in Computer Science

Applied computer knowledge can boost your qualifications and skills for any industry. This 18-hour minor covers structured programming, object-oriented analysis, algorithms and data structures.

Your Future in Mathematics

Nearly every industry relies on higher math skills in some respect, so the math bachelor’s degree with an Applied Math emphasis or Liberal Arts emphasis opens up good career opportunities in health care, medicine, business, engineering, environmental research, manufacturing, computer technology and many other fields. With STEM education ranking among the nation’s most talked-about priorities, our Bachelor of Science in Math, Secondary Teacher Emphasis, prepares you to step directly into a dynamic sector of the job market.

Consider UNC’s Mathematics programs if you are:

  • Passionate about math
  • Enjoy collaborative problem-solving
  • Seeking a variety of career options
  • Focused on a career in math teaching, engineering, computers, statistics or another math-related field
  • Interested in connecting with other mathematicians

You’ll learn:

  • Higher math concepts such as differential equations, numerical analysis and mathematical modeling
  • Statistical concepts including linear regression and probability theory
  • Computer science skills such as object-oriented programming and algorithm writing
  • Classroom teaching and curriculum development (teacher emphasis area only)

Sample courses:

  • Computer Programming
  • Abstract Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Mathematical Modeling

Beyond the Classroom

UNC’s large, active math department offers many opportunities for extracurricular activity. The student-run Math Club meets weekly and sponsors lectures, movies, problem-solving contests and more. Each fall the Math Club sponsors the Gathering for Gardner Celebration of Mind. Students also regularly attend regional and national mathematics conferences.

Where can your degree take you?

  • Secondary math teacher (Grades 7 through 12)
  • Computer science
  • Business and finance
  • Engineering
  • Graduate school in mathematics

Current Research in Mathematics

UNC faculty pursue varied research projects and areas of interest, including:

William Merchant

William Merchant

Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics and Research Methods

William Merchant earned his Ph.D. at Kent State University, arriving at UNC in 2017. He sees his affinity for numbers as a means to help people personally, and is currently researching the topic of custodial grandmothers. When a child needs to be placed in care, often because of tragic or stressful circumstances, it’s usually grandmothers who step in to provide care to their grandchildren. Applied Statistics and Research Methods is a “systematic way of looking at problems and situations so that that their moving parts can be rearranged into a way that can be studied and understood,” he says. “We found that overall, their mental health outcomes were not that great. A lot of depression, anxiety, and physical challenges come with taking on fulltime childcare at such an old age and coupled with often stressful circumstances,” Merchant says. “The most valuable result (of the study) was that all of the interventions improved some aspect of the grandmother or grandchild’s well-being.” 

Katie Morrison

Katie Morrison

Assistant Professor School of Mathematical Sciences

Katie Morrison earned her PhD in mathematics in 2012 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and joined the UNC School of Mathematical Sciences that same year. She focuses on algebraic coding theory and on the application of mathematics to neuroscience. In 2015 she presented “Problem-Solving Tasks Fostering Mathematical Discourse 60-minute joint presentation” (with Gulden Karakok) at the 2015 National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hortensia Soto-Johnson

Hortensia Soto-Johnson

Professor and Graduate Recruitment/Induction Coordinator School of Mathematical Sciences

Earning her PhD in Educational Mathematics at UNC in 1996, Hortensia Soto-Johnson earned two master’s degrees—an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Arizona and an MS in Mathematics Education from Chadron State College. She focuses her research on teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics through the lens of embodied cognition. She has authored articles and chapters and recently presented “Moving and Learning: Embodying Mathematics Workshop at MAA MathFest in Columbus, Ohio and “Developing Dynamic Geometric Reasoning of Complex Analysis” at MAA Rocky Mountain Section in Grand Junction, Colorado, with B. Schaubroeck. Soto-Johnson has earned numerous awards and honors as a distinguished teacher and outstanding faculty member.

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