Mathematics Department Names

Descriptive Overview

Instructional departments offering mathematics classes have had a fairly straightforward descent and relationship at the University of Northern Iowa. With one minor spelling variant and one odd combination with another department, the Mathematics Department has had a fairly stable name for most of UNI's history.

The Mathematics Department was listed in the institution's first catalogue in 1876 and stayed there until 1897 when it was listed as the Mathematical Department. While it is difficult to know exactly why the spelling variation was introduced, it may have had to do with distinguishing pure mathematics from practical aspects of mathematics, such as surveying and calculating. This distinction would surface several times in the history of the Mathematics Department.

The Mathematical Department name survived until the major organization and re-organization of instructional departments in 1909. At that time the name reverted to Mathematics Department. In that same year, the Geometry and Surveying Department was founded. The Geometry and Surveying Department survived for only two years before its courses were folded back into the Mathematics Department. The Mathematics Department kept its name until 1922. At that point, the work of the Commercial Education Department was added to the Mathematics Department. The new combined department became, initially, the Mathematics and Commercial Department, and then in 1927, the Mathematics and Commercial Education Department. This slightly odd combination survived until 1937, when Commercial Education and Mathematics again emerged as separate departments.

The Mathematics Department continued until 1982 when the growing importance of computer studies was recognized in the new name, the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. The Computer Science Department emerged as a separate department in 1991, and the Department of Mathematics reverted to its original name.

The Mathematics Department and the Computer Science Department are members of the College of Natural Sciences.






Geometry and Surveying


Mathematics and Commercial

Mathematics and Commercial Education

1937-1982 (Became a department of the College of Natural Science in 1968.)

Mathematics and Computer Science

Computer Science