June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.160.1 - 15.160.8
An Innovative Undergraduate Computational Mathematics Curriculum for Engineering Students Seeking Dual Majors
In this paper, we discuss the design of a unique undergraduate curriculum in Computational Mathematics for students in the engineering fields who wish to pursue a dual major. At the institution that the authors teach, an undergraduate program in Computational Mathematics has been recently approved. The trend seems to be that most of the students wishing to pursue the degree program are engineering students interested in pursuing a dual major. The challenges faced by the department are 1) to offer these dual majors an integrated curriculum that would take advantage of their engineering background and 2) to offer a curriculum which will enable them to complete the degree within one additional year without compromising the integrity of the program. In this paper, the authors discuss in detail their Computational Mathematics curriculum and the modification of the curriculum for the dual majors.
Computational Mathematics is a multidisciplinary field that applies the techniques of mathematics and computer science to solve the problems arising in natural and social sciences as well as various business and engineering fields. In recent years, the accessibility to high performance computers and affordability of low cost clusters of microcomputers have resulted in the surge of interest in development of new degree programs in the area of computational sciences at universities across the country2-7. So to be part of the trend, the mathematics department at the our university had proposed13 a new degree program in Computational Mathematics four years ago and got it finally approved in 2009. Our university is a highly selective private masters granting technical institution that has a few well-established programs in aerospace engineering and aviation sciences. But, most other programs have very limited visibility outside. To be competitive to attract new students and to place them successfully, the degree program introduced has to be innovative and take advantage of the technical strength of our university. So, our degree program targets two groups of students. One group includes the students transferring from other engineering programs or engineering majors interested in pursuing a dual degree with Computational Mathematics as their second major. The other group includes new freshmen from high school. Most of the students currently pursuing the degree program are dual majors. The challenges faced by the department are 1) to offer the same core courses to the two groups of students mentioned above whose academic backgrounds are significantly different, 2) to customize a curriculum that will enable the students in dual major to complete the degree within one additional year without compromising the integrity of the program, and 3) to offer an innovative curriculum so as to attract students to this new degree program under tight budget constraints. In this paper, we discuss how we plan to address some of the issues through the design of our unique undergraduate Computational Mathematics curriculum.
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