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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Graduate Program Goals & Objectives

Mathematical & Statistical Sciences


Goals & Objectives

The Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver administers a graduate program which awards MS and PhD degrees in Applied Mathematics. The MS degree began in 1976, and the PhD was added in 1986.  Through the end of the spring 2010 semester, the department has awarded 239 MS degrees and 71 PhD degrees.

In 2002, the department put into place an assessment plan for its graduate degree programs. This plan identified learning objectives and goals which have been measured by several different assessment methods. Based on this assessment plan, the department has published an assessment report at the end of each academic year since 2002. The following conclusions can be drawn from these reports:

  • Graduates of the program have been successful in finding employment in academia, federal research laboratories and industry. Of the 62 PhD graduates prior to FY 2009, 19 found first positions as faculty members in a college or university, eight took a first position in government, four accepted post-doctoral positions, and 11 either accepted or resumed positions with industry. Employment information on the remaining 20 students is unavailable. Master's students, many of whom are already employed, find employment in the Denver business and research sector and Denver area community colleges.
  • The department has a respectable record for recruiting and retaining a diverse population of students. For example, in the fall 2009 semester, 31% of the graduate students enrolled were women, 2% were Arabic, 19% were Asian/Pacific Islanders and 7% were non-Asian foreigners. We had a total of 58 active students in the Fall 2009 semester. The record of diversity in degrees awarded is also impressive by most measures: of the 193 master's degrees awarded since 1987, 38% were earned by women and 18% were earned by minorities or foreign students. Of the 62 PhD degrees awarded since 1987, 23% were earned by women and 27% were earned by ethnic minorities or foreign students. These figures reflect the department's attention to diversity in recruiting and retention of students.

Student Learning Outcomes

Our student learning outcomes are focused around knowledge areas, skills and attitudes. Each of three objectives is detailed below.

Student Learning Objective #1: Students must acquire both a conceptual and operational understanding of the following core areas of mathematics:

  • Applied analysis
  • Applied linear algebra

Student Learning Objective #2: Students must acquire both a conceptual and operational understanding of at least one of the following emphasis areas of mathematics:

  • Discrete mathematics (graph theory and/or finite geometry)
  • Numerical and computational mathematics
  • Optimization
  • Probability and/or statistics
  • Mathematics of science and engineering
  • Computer science
  • Computational biology

Student Learning Objective #3: Students will become proficient in the following skills and attitudes.

Students must acquire the following skills at a level commensurate with graduate work:

  • Precision and clarity in the oral and written communication of mathematical ideas
  • Effective use of non-classroom resources to gain knowledge
  • Proficiency in the formulation and construction of proofs
  • Facility in problem solving, modeling, approximation, and mathematical exploration
  • Effectiveness in reasoning with and between concrete and abstract ideas
  • Capable of using computer technologies

Through coursework and research, students are expected to cultivate the following attitudes and dispositions:

  • Confidence in one's own mathematical skills and knowledge
  • Desire for continuous and independent learning
  • Appreciation of the dynamic role of mathematics in science, society and history
  • Appreciation of teamwork
  • Awareness of career opportunities in mathematics
  • Understanding of the interrelations among various areas of mathematics