Mathematics is one of the oldest and most fundamental sciences. Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms, and the latest computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering and business problems.
Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and many universities offer master’s and doctoral degrees in pure or applied mathematics. Courses usually required for these programs include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Additional courses might include probability theory and statistics, mathematical analysis, numerical analysis, topology, discrete mathematics, and mathematical logic. In graduate programs, students also conduct research and take advanced courses, usually specializing in a sub-field of mathematics.
Many colleges and universities advise or require students majoring in mathematics to take courses in a closely related field, such as computer science, engineering, life science, physical science, or economics. A double major in mathematics and another related discipline is particularly desirable to many employers. High school students who are prospective college mathematics majors should take as many mathematics courses as possible while in high school.
What can I expect from a career in Mathematics?
A degree in mathematics can lead to a wide variety of careers. Theoretical mathematicians advance mathematical knowledge by developing new principles and recognizing previously unknown relationships between existing principles of mathematics. Applied mathematicians use theories and techniques, such as mathematical modeling and computational methods, to formulate and solve practical problems in business, government, engineering, and the physical, life, and social sciences. There are many jobs, however, that math graduates are heavily sought to fill:
- Computer network, systems, and database administrators
- Computer scientists
- Computer software engineers and computer programmers
- Computer systems analysts
- Operations research analysts
A strong background in mathematics also facilitates employment for the following workers:
- Financial analysts
- Market and survey researchers
- Personal financial advisors
- Physicists and astronomers