At Humboldt State, Mathematical Modeling is an option within the Environmental Systems Graduate Program. Not only learning mathematics is emphasized, but also understanding the context for the mathematical problems. We achieve this through coursework and the required Masters' thesis.
Graduate students in Math Modeling take several courses with students from other Environmental Systems programs, including environmental resources engineering and geology. For example, in Statistics 530, interdisciplinary groups of students collect and analyze data together. Our Math Modeling Practicum course involves a semester-long group project in which students choose a research problem presented by Humboldt faculty and develop a model from scratch to address that problem. Through these experiences, students get exposure to the practical use of the mathematics and practice at developing a research project from beginning to the scientific presentation. Students also must take at least one course outside of mathematics to round out their studies, emphasizing connections with other disciplines.
The interaction with other programs does not end there. Students must complete a thesis project supervised by a thesis committee that must have one member from outside the Mathematics Department. Theses vary greatly in their focus as you can see on our "Faculty and Research" web page. A thesis may be based on an open research question of our Mathematics faculty, but students are also encouraged to develop their own research topics based on data and research of faculty from other departments.
Writing a thesis is a significant challenge that distinguishes our program. The thesis solidifies mathematical and computational ideas and prepares students for working with data and collaborating with researchers trained in other fields. Upon completing our program, students are well-prepared to make oral and written scientific presentations.
Our graduates go on to a variety of professions. Some continue their studies in PhD programs, and many teach at the college level. Others go on directly to research positions in fields as diverse as wildlife management, energy distribution, and statistical and environmental consulting.
"I have found the one-on-one attention and expertise I get from my instructors to be invaluable to my understanding and application of mathematical modeling."
"This program has offered me a unique opportunity to be involved with interdisciplinary research. Faculty in other scientific disciplines have encouraged my involvement in their research and have provided me with the resources and support when I've needed it."
"I love that the program is helping me prefect my understanding of mathematics as well as showing me how to use the subject to preserve the environment."
"One feature of the Mathematical Modeling option of the Environmental Systems program that I enjoyed was its size. Small class sizes enabled me to learn more from and grow closer to my colleagues and instructors than was ever possible during my undergraduate work."
"The Environmental Systems Masters Program - Math Modeling Option is an exceptional program. It teaches math in a not so typical way, through modeling various biological and physical systems related to the environment. The program allows for ample freedom in thesis topics. Iíve had the best experience at Humboldt State in part due to the fact that the professors here are incredible. They are always accessible to the students and do a great job of reaching out to the students as seen in the potlucks and outside of school events that go on throughout the year. I am glad I chose Humboldt; it has exceeded my expectations of graduate school."