Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Do With a Math Degree?

The job of mathematician has been hailed as one of the best, and well-paid, in the world. What could be better for a math lover than to sit around and solve math problems all day? Even if you don't want to be a professional mathematician, the study of math can be quite lucrative. A math degree not only guarantees skill in logical thinking and creative problem solving, but it also prepares graduates to excel in whatever job they choose. Students of mathematics are well suited for law school, medical school, business school, and further studies in computer science. A math degree is infinitely useful and also applicable to most career fields. Due to the variety of careers available to math majors, HPU offers three concentrations within the Mathematics major.

  • The Pure Math concentration lends itself to the advanced study of mathematics in graduate school. Students attending graduate school in math may become professors, researchers in national labs, or consultants. Hawai‘i Pacific University has more advanced logic classes than most universities, as we stress methodology of mathematical practice.

  • The Math Education specialization prepares our graduates for a job as an educator in the K-12 system.

  • Students graduating with an applied math concentration are prepared to go to school for engineering, to work for the government, to analyze data for scientifically oriented businesses, practice mathematical modeling to solve real world problems,  or to train as financial analysts.

Several things are involved in placing you into the proper math class. We may use any combination of SAT and/or ACT scores, results from the HPU Math Placement Exam, high school transcripts, transfer credits, evaluation by faculty, and your personal input.

Strictly speaking, college credit must be obtained for the math courses that your major requires. This credit may come from appropriate grades on an Advanced Placement Exam, successful results on an HPU Challenge Exam or a CLEP exam for the course(s) in question, or successful completion of the course. Note: The University accepts no more than 36 semester hours of credit earned through the credit-by-examination process.

A grade of 3 or higher on an AP exam earns college credit for the following courses:


Credits earned in:

Calculus AB

MATH 1140 and MATH 2214

Calculus BC

MATH 2214 and MATH 2215


MATH 1123

An HPU Challenge Exam is a comprehensive exam that tests a student's level of mastery for a given University course. A Challenge Exam may be taken regardless of whether or not the student has taken the relevant course work. Any student who has completed at least 15 semester credits at HPU and who has a 3.0 grade point average (G.P.A.) may petition to take a Challenge Exam.

Transfer of credit is awarded on a course-by-course basis or on the basis of an established articulation agreement between HPU and the transferring institution. Acceptance of credit is subject to certain conditions. Students who wish to take a course at another accredited institution of higher education, and who plan to transfer credit to Hawai‘i Pacific University, should consult with an academic advisor to determine if the course is transferable.

HPU has many resources to help students in math. In addition to faculty office hours, there is free math tutoring available on both the downtown and Hawai'i Loa campuses. Other learning resources, found in the Learning Assistance Lab and the Learning Assistance Center, are software and videos targeted toward university math courses. Many students also find success in forming study groups with peers.

Texas Instruments TI 83+ or 84+ calculators are highly recommended for use in all Math classes.