Carroll Mathematics Student



Carroll has one of the most state-of-the art mathematics programs in the country. Affiliations with West Point and Harvey Mudd College via Project InterMath have led to a unique approach to teaching and integrating mathematical topics.

Concepts are threaded together in and between classes so that students have a deeper understanding of how different branches of mathematics are intertwined. Working individually and in groups, students are challenged to apply their knowledge to solve real world problems. In order to develop expertise in an area of applied mathematics, Carroll math majors take courses to complete a cognate concentration in a field of interest.

Students can select from biology, business and economics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, secondary education, or work with their advisor to develop a plan unique to their interests.


A degree in Math from Carroll can lead to a variety of careers, which may or may not use math specifically but will require the ability to reason carefully and problem solve. Some of the careers our math majors have found themselves in include: Actuary,Mathematician, Network Engineer, Secondary Math Teacher, Statistician or Web Developer.

Mathematical Modeling

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and its sister contest, the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM), provide great opportunities for students to focus on problem solving skills in a real-world environment. Problems come from research areas of applied mathematics related to many fields – business, environmental sciences, and sports are a few examples. Student teams are given 96 hours to analyze a single open ended problem, develop a model of the problem, solve the model, and write a report. Carroll’s faculty meet with student teams weekly in the months before the competition to help them prepare for the unique nature of this international contest.

Math Modeling 2010Carroll has had three teams awarded the contest's highest ranking: In 2003, Carroll's ICM team of Kylan Johnson, Gary Olson, and Joe Rasca was awarded an Outstanding Winner ranking. In 2006, Carroll's MCM team of Ben Dunham, Kyle Nixon, and Steffan Francischetti was awarded an Outstanding Winner ranking, placing them in the elite company of Cal Tech, Harvey Mudd, MIT, and Harvard. In 2010, the MCM team of Brittany Harris, Chase Peaslee, and Kyle Perkins were one of 4 Outstanding teams along with Beijing Jiaotong University, Hangzhou Dianzi University, and Lawrence University.

For more information on this contest, see the Montana Math Modeling Challenge website.

Many students view the experience as a highlight of their academic tenure at Carroll. Faculty member Dr. John Scharf regularly serves as a final judge for the competition.

Operations Research and Business Analytics

How can we optimize delivery of humanitarian supplies during a crisis?  How do we route snowplows during a storm to minimize the storm's impact?  If you are interested in questions such as these, consider the Operations Research track.  Operations research uses mathematical modeling to provide quantitative input to decisions.

Analytics, a digital magazine published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science (INFORMS), provides readers with real-life examples of how data, modeling and mathematical analysis is used to drive better business decisions and provide concrete competitive advantage.

From a Math Alum:

“I was well prepared for graduate studies. My Carroll courses gave me a very strong base in mathematics and computers, along with engineering classes. A lot of students in graduate school seem to have very particular backgrounds and they struggle more. In general, I have a broad background in lots of different things.” -Chris Gossard, Carroll class of ’98 (Mathematics), who recently completed her Ph.D. (Civil Engineering) from the University of Oklahoma. 

Interested in Business and Mathematics?

Our newest concentration in the mathematics program is in actuarial science.  Actuaries use mathematical models to help make decisions about investments and insurance.  This is an exciting and rewarding career choice in a field that is rapidly growing.  We currently have 2 students interning at local firms, and the Society of Actuaries just approved our course work in support of Applied Statistical Methods.  For more information about this career path, visit

Project Math Vote

College mathematics faculty, headed by Dr. Kelly Cline and Dr. Holly Zullo,  has been awarded a $180,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a three year project (2010-2012) in order bring together a team, including 5 other faculty from colleges across the country, to study the use of classroom voting in mathematics and to develop curricular materials. Classroom voting and clickers have been popular in Carroll mathematics courses for the past 6 years.

Free Mathematics Textbooks

Mathematics belongs to humankind!  Furthermore, college textbooks are expensive!

In an effort to help reduce textbook costs and to bring the beauty of mathematics to the minds of students, the Carroll College math department is working to write FREE open source textbooks for the Calculus, Statistics, and Mathematical Modeling classes.  The current versions of the books can be found here.  The content from the books promote active, hands-on learning and are designed to help build content knowledge as well as intuition and problem solving.  These books are available to anyone who wants to use them!  As of Fall 2014, the MA121, MA122, MA131, MA141, and MA207 classes are all using textbooks of this format.

Should I be in Math 131 or Math 121 and 122 for Calculus?

questionsUse these questions to guide you:
Placement Questions & Solutions (MS Word)

Calculator Requirements

If you are taking one of the following math or chemistry classes,  you will need one of the calculators listed below. If you have any questions about substitutions, please contact your instructor or Dr. Kelly Cline (Math Professor) at

  • CH 101 General Chemistry - TI Voyage 200
  • MA 117 Difference Equations & Linear Algebra - TI 83 or higher
  • MA 121 Calculus I - TI Voyage 200
  • MA 131 Calculus of Single Variable Functions - TI Voyage 200
  • MA 207 Elementary Statistics - TI Voyage 200 or TI 83

Contact Us!

Contact Dr. Kelly Cline 406-447-4451 ( today to learn more about mathematics at Carroll College.

Request more information about this major

10 reasons

to choose carroll college for Mathematics

  1. Destroy your opponents in our Sumo-bot tournament!
  2. We use real world mathematics to solve real world problems
  3. Our students are in high demand for internships and summer research opportunities
  4. What other degree prepares you for business, science, government, industry, engineering, and education?
  5. Mathematical Contest in Modeling:  3 World Champion teams since 2003 (alongside MIT and Harvey Mudd), including 2010
  6. Recent alumni have completed grad programs at MIT, University of Iowa, University of Colorado, Notre Dame, and Carnegie Mellon in applied mathematics, pure mathematics, engineering, and operations research.
  7. Stargaze with Dr. Cline, play music with Prof. Oberweiser, rock climb with Dr. Parker or Dr. Zullo, or play ping-pong with Prof. Rose
  8. Our courses are designed around open-ended problem solving challenges
  1. Your Vote counts in class! We use clickers to turn our classrooms into an active and engaging learning adventure
  2. You'll learn to THINK!

On Top of the World!

Did you know that in three of the last seven years, Carroll College has had teams rated Outstanding Winner in the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling, placing them in the elite company of other school such as Harvey-Mudd, Harvard, MIT, and Duke which also have had winning teams. 

For each of the last seven years, Carroll has had at least one team rated Meritorious Winner, placing them in the top 13% of the world

Carroll graduate shares passion for science

Emily Speranza

Helena native and Carroll graduate Emily Speranza is breaking the mold with her math and biology double major by pursuing a doctoral degree in a field she says is dominated by men. In the fall, she is starting a fellowship, which includes full tuition and a stipend, at Boston University, where she will peruse a doctoral degree in a field called bioinformatics. She says she is just one of two female first-year students enrolled in the program. Read more of this story

Reehl Scary Stuff

In a twist of wickedly executed timing, Carroll math grad Sarah Reehl (’13) is featured in a Scientific American blog post entitled "Zombie Fever: A Mathematician Studies a Pop Culture Epidemic".  Reehl, who is currently a mathematics graduate student at Utah State University, was intrigued by the prevalence of zombie fever in popular culture and subsequently used the undead as the basis of her undergraduate thesis.  Read more