Applied Projects

The Applied Project component of the Applied Math major offers students the opportunity to engage in one or more projects of original research. These are interdisciplinary projects in which mathematics are applied to an outside area. Students work under the guidance of faculty members in mathematics and/or in other departments.


The Applied Project requirement is completed over the course of 3 courses (MATH 301, 302, and 494-2).  Over the course of the curriculum, students will

  • learn to be comfortable reading and learning from journal articles and other primary sources of scientific literature.
  • learn about areas of cutting edge research in applied mathematics, and how to approach a project of original research in these areas.
  • learn how to delve into a specialized area of study outside of mathematics, with the purpose of acquiring the necessary background in that area to understand how their mathematical expertise can be applied.
  • learn to write a scientific article following academic publishing guidelines, using standard industry editing software such as LaTeX.
  • learn to present the results of their project orally to various audiences of mathematicians and non-mathematicians.

Students have several opportunities to present their projects at local events on campus at Wheaton College such as mid-semester oral presentation sessions or the homecoming weekend poster session. In some cases, students may obtain funding to travel to local, regional, and national conferences to present their projects, and may appear as co-authors of an article in peer-reviewed journals.

MATH 301 - Colloquium (1 hr)

This course provides an introduction to research in the mathematical sciences.  Students will work on a short research project of interest to them.  The first part of the course will focus on formulating the project, gathering and organizing and background information and relevant data, and obtaining results.  The second part of the course will focus on the presentation of the results in the form of an oral presentation, poster presentation, and academic article formatted for publication.

MATH 302 - Applied Project (2 hr)

Students work individually on a research project in applied mathematics.  The topic of the project is selected from a list of topics in the applied sciences (economics, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, epidemiology, pharmacology, physiology, music, or the social sciences); application of a mathematical tool (or set of tools) is required to model the problem, analyze data, obtain quantitative results, and complete the project.

Students work independently for the most part, under the guidance of one or more faculty adviser(s).  All students enrolled in the course will gather as a class periodically during the semester to give updates on their progress, share methods and intermediate results, and ultimately present their project.

MATH 494-2 - Applied Capstone (2 hr)

Students complete and present their major applied project.  The faith integrative aspects of the projects are discussed and, whenever possible, connections made to faith-based missions serving in under-served communities.  This course also serves to provide a survey of important advances in applied mathematics, both historical and contemporary, and explore how the fundamental methods of applied mathematics have impacted other areas of inquiry and facilitated the improvement of society.

Critical reflection on the relationship between applied mathematics and other liberal arts disciplines and general education are fostered by class discussions supplemented by selected readings and information from other sources such as seminars, websites, e-mail correspondence and phone interviews.

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