Erskine Math Students Can Finish at Clemson, Earn Two Degrees in New Program

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

An agreement between Clemson University and Erskine College will allow mathematics students at the Due West school to transfer to Clemson after three years and earn bachelor’s degrees from both schools in just two more years.

The program targets students interested in the actuarial science/financial mathematics emphasis area at Clemson, which is the most popular in the College of Science’s school of mathematical and statistical sciences, according to senior lecturer Mark Cawood.

Mathematics majors at Erskine would be able to transfer to Clemson after completing 93 hours of coursework. After one year in Clemson’s actuarial science/financial math program, they would receive a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Erskine. In one more year, they can graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mathematical sciences from Clemson, completing courses not available at Erskine.

Holding two degrees would make graduates more attractive to employers who are already hiring Clemson actuarial science/financial math majors in the insurance, financial and data science fields.

The idea for the program came from three Clemson alumni who are faculty members at Erskine: Kokou Yano Abalo, Young Professor and chair of the math department; Catherine White, assistant professor and Dual Degree Programs coordinator; and Art Gorka, professor. All three earned doctorates in Clemson’s mathematical sciences department.

“The big thing about math majors is that they are able to think critically,” said Cawood, who noted that the students also take two semesters of computer science courses due to the growth in the fields of data analytics.

The transition to Clemson should be easier for Erskine students because three of their professors earned math degrees at Clemson.

“When they come here they’re going to have a solid foundation,” Cawood said. “We know the courses they’ve had.”

“They can build confidence as they begin their collegiate career in a small, community-driven environment at Erskine and finish their education at Clemson where they will have access to a vast number of resources and experiences that are only available at a large, well-respected institution such as Clemson,” White said. “I believe giving students such a diverse educational experience will make them more marketable as they enter the professional world.”

The agreement was signed this spring by Erskine President Robert E. Gustafson and Clemson Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert Jones. Students in the program could begin moving to Clemson as soon as fall 2020.