# 6 Reasons to Study Math as a Liberal Arts Major

We’ve previously directed a lot of attention to science students, trying to get them to take their humanities classes seriously. Now, let’s flip the script. Are you a SoSci/English/Art/Business major, dreading those STEM requirements?

If so, here are 5 everyday scenarios in which knowing a little extra math can help you.

**1. Impress your date.**

You pick up the check. You spend an eighth of a second calculating the tip. You add it up even faster.

Wow, manners *and* smarts. Your date is quite impressed.

**2. Make a job less boring. **

The ability to reason mathematically – which I will gain in any algebra, geometry, trig, or calculus course – will majorly help me if I decide to take up programming.

Why would I, a liberal arts major, ever do something like that?

Well for one thing, I could __automate the boring stuff__ at my job, freeing up time to focus on what’s fun . . .

**3. Spot the crap faster. **

I can give you the obligatory __Mark Twain__ quote. Or I can send you to __Correlated.org__, the most layman-friendly introduction to the concept that *sophisticated data reports may very well mean absolutely nothing.* Want to be better at evaluating claims in the news? Take a course in statistics.

**4. The math majors have to take art classes, dammit. **

Think of all those poor STEM students humiliated and frustrated when asked to express themselves in that creative writing class I relished last semester. *I owe this to them.*

**4**. You get to learn problem solving from multiple points of view.

My solution, and my teacher’s.

Take a problem and design a solution, or take a solution and design a proof.

I can also learn two approaches to mathematics: *how* to get the problem solved, and *why* the variables work together that way.

We all know that liberal arts is a great place to learn critical thinking skills. (I mean without a practical application, this is the main thing going for my __choice of major__, right?)

Seriously, though, math is an another awesome place to build those critical thinking skills, and in surprisingly beautiful ways.

**5. Math – geometry, calculus, game theory, and more – is part of a grand history of the human mind. **

I have literally nothing to add to this.

**6. Math unlocks a sense of awe for the world around you.**

Math opens up windows into the real world. There are models describing: economies. weather. wild animal populations. epidemiology. ocean currents. black holes.

We use math to understand, predict, sometimes even manipulate things we can’t see (atoms, radio waves, quasars). Maybe I don’t need to know that in my everyday experience. But even if that became as distantly magnificent to me as great works of art are to the non-art majors, I will be happy.

**Resources for those with cold feet**

Still skeptical? Some amazing math resources are:

by Leonard Mlodinow. History of mathematics from the Greeks to quantum physics, from an author with a wicked sense of humor.__Euclid’s Window____Love and Math__Any calculus lectures by

__Professor Bruce Edwards__from*The Great Courses.*I took my Calc III course in a distance learning format, which means they only gave me a textbook and a workbook. Edwards’ lectures saved me. And again, he genuinely loves the subject.__Professor Arthur T. Benjamin__‘s TGC courses are great too, and include subjects like The Joy of Mathematics,*Secrets of Mental Math*and*Math & Magic.*__Geometry__And of course, perennial favorite

__Khan Academy__, with not only lectures but practice problems and fun little badges to earn along the way.

What is your relationship with math as a non-math major?

Do you think there is a point to your math general ed requirements?

For the math lovers stopping by: what are your reasons for studying mathematics? Why do you think math is useful (or not) for nonmajors?

#lifelonglearning #history #mentorship #math #education #humanities #homeschooling