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Because of the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing stay-at-home order from the State of Illinois, Knox College has made the decision to teach the entirety of spring term remotely. More Information

Students collaborate


Department Chair

Andrew Leahy

Professor and Chair of Mathematics; Chair of Financial Mathematics

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Mathematics B.A., B.S., Minor
Financial Mathematics B.A.
Statistics Minor

How we work

  1. We solve problems, together. Our students receive a solid mathematical background, through a series of challenging courses and specially tailored independent studies, close interaction between faculty and students, and rigorous honors projects and senior research experience. This solid background has allowed a nontrivial number of our majors to be successful at top graduate programs, and has opened a multitude of doors for those with a non-academic inclination.
  2. We use technology to do more. It motivates us, suggests alternate approaches, illustrates complex ideas, and confirms that our insights are correct. Beyond the incredibly powerful computer algebra system Mathematica, Knox students have access to a suite of customized Mathematica commands designed to enhance courses from calculus through linear algebra and differential equations, developed by a member of our own faculty—with the assistance of Knox students and supported by several National Science Foundation grants.
  3. We see intrinsic beauty in mathematics. Because even the most simple of the mathematical structures (e.g., the natural numbers) have intricacies (e.g., the distribution of prime numbers) that we are very far from comprehending. Because every little bit of light we can cast on those intricacies make us very happy.
  4. We also see mathematics as a tool to understand the world. Is there a human gene that accounts for altruism, and if so, how has it survived over time? What are the reasons behind the Great Recession of 2008, and can those conditions be prevented from happening again? Through our research, we are exploring these (and many more!) complex questions.
  5. Thus, we offer two rather different (yet also similar!) majors. In the mathematics major, the focus is on the mysteries and intricacies of pure mathematics—though these can have surprisingly practical applications as well. (Number theory, for instance, is the basis of the cryptography that protects confidential data on the internet today.) Oh, but the good news is that if you want more—of everything—we can make that happen. The bachelor of science degree in mathematics extends the traditional major, allowing you to build a truly powerful undergraduate mathematics experience. The B.S. prepares you for the best graduate programs in pure or applied mathematics and for the most mathematically intensive careers. In addition, Knox is home of one of the few undergraduate programs in financial mathematics, where you'll explore interest, present value calculations, probability modeling, and portfolio evaluation—basically, everything you need to prepare for a career in investment banking.

Where We Go

Our students don't just manipulate numbers and equations. They learn to write, speak, and think clearly through writing intensive courses and the independent study of a topic of interest that results in a professional paper and public presentation of their findings.

These skills put our graduates in a great position for career success. They have been sought out by computer and consulting firms, insurance companies, investment companies, banks, and government agencies.

Knox is also a national leader in preparing students for graduate school. We are among the top 10 percent of liberal arts colleges in producing graduates who go on to earn doctorates in mathematics, according to the National Science Foundation. Students have also received highly competitive graduate fellowships at these universities:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Toronto
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of North Carolina
  • Columbia University
  • Purdue University

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Printed on Monday, March 30, 2020