Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Qingkai Kong, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115
Email: ugradprog@math.niu.edu
Phone: (815) 753-6739


NIU Department of Mathematical Sciences - For Prospective Students

This website is for prospective undergraduate students. If you are looking for information on our graduate programs, please click here.

Dear Prospective Students

Welcome to the Department of Mathematical Sciences webpage for prospective students. We have a lot to tell you about our department academic emphases/programs, faculty members' teaching and research, students' extra-curricular activities, mathematics assistance center, (also NIU's tutoring centers), scholarships and jobs. Ultimately, our goal is to help you successfully prepare for your career goals.

Why Mathematics at NIU?

The Department offers six emphases/programs, each of which is carefully designed for students' specific interests and career goals.

  • The General Mathematics emphasis offers the broadest and most theoretical program of study. It is often an appropriate choice for students who wish to pursue graduate degrees or attend professional school or teach in a community college or above.
  • The Applied Mathematics emphasis offers a course of study which focuses on the application of mathematics to real-world problems. This is an appropriate choice for students interested in problems arising from industry or engineering, and prepares them for many technical fields.
  • In the Computational Mathematics emphasis, students investigate the nature of computation, and the methods used to compute mathematical quantities accurately and efficiently. Such skills are increasingly valuable in a world which uses computers heavily.
  • The emphasis in Probability and Statistics investigates the use and theory of probabilistic and statistical methods. Students within this emphasis become familiar with several statistical computer packages which are commonly used in industry and business. This emphasis develops skills which are of value in industry, finance, and insurance.
  • The emphasis in Mathematics Education prepares math teachers for the middle and high schools. Students in this emphasis usually earn both a mathematics degree and Illinois State Certification to teach in secondary schools.
  • Students with the emphasis in Actuarial Science would typically enter the actuarial profession upon graduation. The rigorous curriculum carefully combines training with all the learning objectives of the first three examinations of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.

All classes required by majors are taught in small sections by our faculty. This includes the first courses in Calculus. Most mathematics majors will never have a math class with more than twenty-five students at NIU. Some upper-level math classes usually only have about ten students in a section.

The Department values its excellent reputation for quality teaching, and is proud of the large number of award-winning teachers within the Department. Currently, there are eight faculty members in the department having been recognized with the Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and three faculty members are awarded the Presidential Teaching Professors, a university-wide award for extraordinary excellence in teaching.

The Department is also proud of the recognition achieved by some of our most active researchers. Currently, there three faculty members who have been awarded the Presidential Research Professors, a university-wide award for extraordinary excellence in research.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree and the Master of Science degree. They are necessary for one to land a research oriented job or teach in a junior college or a four-year college.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is committed to the development of the best mathematics teachers in the state and has a long history of producing top quality teachers in the state, too.

  • The Math Education emphasis prepares teachers to teach the full spectrum of high-school mathematics, including Advanced Placement courses.
  • The Department has at least five professors whose area of research is mathematics education, who teach a wide variety of methods of mathematical instruction and the theory behind these methods; most have also had public school teaching experience.
  • Students in the Mathematics Education emphasis work closely with advisors within the Department. This is a particular strength of the Department, about which our Mathematics Education students are universally enthusiastic.
  • Mathematics Education majors at NIU student-teach in some of Illinois' best school districts, and our graduates teach in many of the middle and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago, the collar counties, and throughout Northern Illinois.
  • Graduates of this program are recognized as some of the best high school mathematics teachers in Northern Illinois.
  • The core requirements of the emphasis enable students to go to a graduate school studying mathematics without too much deficiency and be competitive in the job market beyond teaching.

The main campus of NIU (in DeKalb, population: 40,000) is 65 miles west of downtown Chicago, 35 miles southeast of Rockford and spans 755 acres.

Thank you for your interest in NIU. We are exited about the future of our programs and hope that you will consider joining us. If you/your parents want to talk to me or one of our faculty, do not hesitate to send me an email, or, call me at 815-753-6739.


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Qingkai Kong
E-mail: ugradprog@math.niu.edu