Academic Catalog


Department of Mathematics and Statistics

2300 Engineering and Computational Sciences Building 
Norfolk, VA 23529

Gordon Melrose, Chair
Ruhai Zhou, Graduate Program Director
N. Rao Chaganty, Statistics Program Director

Graduate Study in Computational and Applied Mathematics

The master’s and doctoral programs in computational and applied mathematics offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics are designed to produce applied mathematicians and statisticians who can meet the growing demand for analytical and computational skills in traditional scientific and multi-disciplinary fields. Students in the program can choose to pursue an option in either applied mathematics, mathematics of data science, statistics, or biostatistics.

Applied mathematics is the application of mathematics to the solution of non-mathematical problems. Such problems may originate in math-oriented fields (physics, chemistry, and engineering) as well as in such areas such as geology, oceanography, meteorology, biology, ecology, environmental health, economics, actuarial science, business (operations and market research), banking, and medicine. Students will learn to use methods of applied mathematics, machine learning, data analysis, probability, statistics, biostatistics, numerical analysis, and scientific computing in seeking solutions to such problems. For work in computational and applied mathematics, training in an additional field of application is a necessity.

The desire and ability to use mathematics to bring together various disciplines is the unique characteristic of an applied mathematician. Not only has mathematical modeling and solving of societal and scientific problems increased the demand for applied mathematicians, but the flexibility and breadth of knowledge inherent in this discipline make it attractive for those who do not want to become irreversibly specialized.

Old Dominion University is one of the few American institutions offering a program expressly in applied mathematics. There are approximately 26 graduate program faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and current enrollment in the program is about 50 students. Areas of faculty research include analytical and numerical modeling in oceanography and meteorology, computational fluid dynamics and stability theory, elasticity and fracture mechanics, combustion theory, magnetohydrodynamics, mathematical biology, numerical analysis and approximation, optimization, applied probability, statistical inference, reliability, multivariate statistics, generalized linear models, estimating equations, biostatistics, nonparametric statistics, bioinformatics, machine learning, data science and high performance computing.

Facilities within the metropolitan area include the NASA/Langley Research Center, the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), and the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Program Financial Aid. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offer graduate assistantships with stipends awarded to students after a competitive review process.  The level of award is determined on the basis of previous experience and performance as a graduate assistant and on the student’s academic achievement and potential in applied mathematics or statistics. In addition, a number of teaching and research positions are available for financial support of graduate assistants during the summer months (June and July).

Writing Proficiency. All students in the graduate program are expected to demonstrate an acceptable level of writing ability. Students needing help to remedy their writing deficiencies will be referred to the Writing Center for diagnosis and assistance. All M.S. candidates will enroll in one of the MATH 632STAT 632, and BDA 632 for a master’s project.