Mathematical and Computational Sciences

The School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (SMCS) at UPEI is new, but it is built on a strong foundation of core Mathematics and Computer Science programs that have existed at UPEI for many years. The SMCS is unique in Atlantic Canada for offering a comprehensive suite of majors in the quantitative disciplines.

We offer degrees in core areas: Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, as well as specialized/professional programs in: Actuarial Science, Financial Mathematics, Business Analytics, Data Analytics, Video Game Programming and Mathematics with Engineering.

Mathematical and computational sciences are experiencing a “boom”. Everyone is collecting data, and they need people with the skills to manage, analyze, and extract useful information from the data. This is what mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists are trained to do. Analytics (sometimes called “data science”) is at the intersection of mathematics, statistics and computer science, and is the hottest area of job growth right now:

  • Canadian Business Magazine’s 2016 job market survey found Canadians employed as data professionals (mathematicians, statisticians, financial mathematicians, actuaries, etc.) grew by 48% in the past five years, and future growth is projected to be stronger
  • The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council’s 2015 market outlook predicted hiring requirements in Canada in ICT fields will exceed 180,000 positions over the next four years, and that positions requiring a computer science or analytics-related university degree will be in highest demand.
  • Canadian website careercast.com says mathematician, statistician, computer scientist, actuary and data scientist consistently rank in the top ten careers for hiring outlook, income and job satisfaction.
  • US website glassdoor.com says degrees from our School lead to 10 of the top 20 hottest careers.

There are plenty of sites where you can find similar conclusions: a degree in an area of mathematical or Computational Sciences is a great start to a great career.

For example, the unemployment rate for actuaries in Canada is 0%, and the mid-career average salary is near $100,000. We offer the only complete actuarial degree in Atlantic Canada. The program is currently undergoing accreditation by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. Once completed, we will be one of only 12 universities in Canada with an accredited program in actuarial science, and the only one in Atlantic Canada.

Here at the SMCS, we have designed our programs to lead to success. We have a common first-year so students can spend some time on their foundational courses while discovering their strengths and interests and getting degree advisement. We have tutorials in introductory courses to ensure the jump from High School to University goes smoothly. We have top-notch facilities in the Cass Science Hall, including well-equipped computer labs, newly renovated study areas, a smart classroom, and a Help Centre where students can drop in and get help for first- and second-year courses. We have an excellent cohort of professors, many who have received awards for their teaching, research or both.

Our school is designed to ensure students enjoy their time at UPEI. We have an active Student Society that organizes many social events. The SMCS also organizes a number of extracurricular activities, like our Integration Tournament, math problem solving and CS programming groups, conference excursions and many others. There are also many opportunities for students to put their math or CS skills to work and earn some money as tutors, lab assistants or outreach program aides.

We have built, and are building ties with companies and employers who are looking for our graduates. Students can take advantage of these ties by participating in our co-operative education program that provides relevant career experience while working towards a degree. Our Advisory Council consists of industry leaders in all areas of mathematical and computational sciences. They provide advice and make sure our programs are designed so students learn the skills and are equipped with the knowledge to succeed in their field.

Historically, some women have tended to avoid mathematical and computational fields. Currently, 30% of our majors are women. We want everyone to be able to take advantage of the opportunities available, and we’re committed to identifying and breaking down barriers to women in mathematical and computational sciences.

It’s an exciting time for mathematical and computational sciences and an exciting time for our School. We’d love for you be part of it, whether you are: a current or prospective student, a graduate of one of our programs, a business leader looking for the kind of students we develop, or a friend of UPEI and/or mathematical and computational sciences.  If you have questions, or want to be involved, please contact us at smcs@upei.ca or (902) 628-4349.

You can also visit the Mathematical and Computational Sciences program page for admission requirements, program degrees and specializations, and complete course listings. 

Gordon MacDonald
Associate Dean

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