Evaluating Mercy College Math BS Program - Worth Pursuing?

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In summary, the online math program at Mercy College does not have a very strong curriculum. It may be adequate for high school teaching, but it would not be sufficient for a college degree in mathematics.
  • #1


I'm pondering attending Mercy College in NY and earning my BS in Mathematics online, but had some questions regarding whether or not the cirriculum was worth anything. Below is the online cirriculum regarding the mandatory math classes:

Foundation Courses
MATH 131 Foundations of Computing I
MATH 231 Foundations of Computing II
MATH 244 Discrete Structures
MATH 260 Calculus I
MATH 261 Calculus II

MATH 307 Number Theory
MATH 315 Linear Algebra
MATH 350 Probability: Theory and Applications
MATH 351 Statistics: Theory and Applications
MATH 360 Calculus III
MATH 365 Algebraic Structures
MATH 417 Mathematical Modeling

And 3 of the following courses
MATH 327 Computer Graphics
MATH 329 Numerical Analysis
MATH 362 Differential Equations
MATH 395 Special Topics in Mathematics
MATH 460 Advanced Calculus I
MATH 461 Advanced Calculus II

So is this program worth pursuing or am I better off looking elsewhere? Also, what could be better about the program so I know what to look for in other schools. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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  • #2
Just because the program of mandatory courses isn't very strong such as the one you posted, doesn't mean you cannot take a number of other, non-mandatory courses to learn what you want to learn. Forget the piece of paper, and learn as much material as you want.

But yes, your curriculum is lacking a lot compared to most degrees (and has only 15 math courses; most would have at least 20, sometimes up to 30 - In fact, a math minor here as about the same requirements as your major). But as long as you learn the material that you want to learn, by taking extra courses if required, then there is no problem (assuming such courses are offered).

What kind of math are you most interested in? Your program lacks enormously in topics such as stats and algebra, and may not have any differential geometry (unless it's inside the advanced calculus courses), so hopefully you're not looking to be a statisticians or an algebraist.
  • #3
The courses he listed consist of the entire curriculum they offer there, according to their webpage. Also, about 1/3 of them are basic computer programming courses and more than 1/2 would be considered freshman/sophomore courses at a regular university. So I would say no, it's not a good curriculum. If you are just doing this out of interest and have no other options (although I think you could self-study most of the courses listed), then maybe it is fine. However, you will certainly not impress any graduate schools with such a transcript. What are your goals?
  • #4
I'd really like to earn my BS in Mathematics to start then possibly move on to PhD work to become a high school teacher or university professor. The biggest problem is that I'm currently stationed overseas and cannot attend UK universities; therefore, I can only work on my BS online. And as I'm sure y'all know, finding an online math program is an anomoly. I'm still looking around online and found one at University of Illinois that's a degree in mathematical sciences...is that the same as a regular BS in Mathematics or no?

Thanks for the help so far and any further help is greatly appreciated.
  • #5
The curriculum that you've posted is that of a fairly weak undergraduate degree in applied mathematics (with an emphasis on computer science). The curriculum of the Mathematical Sciences degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield is a little stronger, but it's still a fairly weak undergraduate degree in applied mathematics (with an emphasis on statistics). Either of them should be adequate preparation for high school teaching (although a master's degree might be helpful), but you would not be prepared to enter a Ph.D. program.
  • #6
How long will you be stationed overseas for?

You could always take courses from an online university to get started on your BS, then transfer the credits to a real university and finish off your BS there.

Also, such a curriculum would probably be good enough to become a high school teacher (although I'm not familiar with the UK system), so you could just do that, although you wouldn't be able to get in a PhD program.
  • #7
why can't you take courses at a university in the UK? Is it legal reasons such as you can't get a student visa if you work in the military (which seems unlikely but I don't know), or is it that the military doesn't cover costs of non-federal supported institutions which seems likely? If it truly is the later, why not consider paying for the cost of the classes in the UK yourself and transfer those? At that seems like another option you could consider.
  • #8
TMC: I cannot tell you exactly how long, but I know it'll be a few more years (at least).

Eastside00_99: According to the education office, the military will not pay for any classes that are not from a US regionally accreditated school. I consider paying for the cost of classes in the UK, but I honestly cannot afford most of the schools around here. Also, I'm not sure I have a high enough GPA to get accepted to any of the local universities (ie Cambridge).
  • #9
What I think you want to do is to find a US university that has an exchange program with a local UK university.
  • #10
i agree you cannot tell much about the potential quality of your education by looking at the minimum requirements.

but you would want to add to this list, courses in abstract algebra and topology, if they are available, and maybe some geometry.

you might check whether they have them. and why are you not asking the advisors at the school for this information? they can tell you what is available and what is recommended in addition to those basic mandated courses.
  • #11
mathwonk, I tried that, but the advisors are just looking to make a buck off of me. I know this because they are telling me all this great stuff about the mathematics program, but without any proof. They won't let me get in touch with any of the professors, students, etc. and when I emailed the department chair, I was informed that he could not answer any of my inquiries and to talk with the advisement office.

If worse-comes-to-worse, I'll just take a few more of the required general ed classes I need then finish the degree when I get back to the states.
  • #12
If you really want to learn math, you could always buy some books and study them on your own.
  • #13
You might also try applying to an american university that offers a lot of its courses through Distance Education (online). Some schools may have a lot of DE courses and you might be able to complete your first two years that way (it's unlikely that any school would have 3rd or 4th year math courses available through DE)
  • #14
any program that does not have analysis and abstract algebra as requirements is lacking in its math department

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