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What can I do with a degree in math?

A mathematics degree opens doors to positions in a surprisingly wide variety of technical and analytic fields.

Have you considered majoring in mathematics?

Was your first reaction, no that's not for me, I don't want to be a math teacher? Well, if so then let me tell you that majoring in mathematics opens up many career opportunities! Of course, majoring in mathematics is useful if you want to be a math teacher, too.

Think about the “fun part” of mathematics – you know, the “word problems.” Wait, if your reaction to that one was, that's not “fun” to me, then please read on and reconsider. Perhaps a better word for “fun” here might be “rewarding” in the sense of satisfaction from analyzing and solving a challenging problem.

By majoring in mathematics you will learn how to identify, analyze, and apply logical principles to solve technical problems. The ability to identify the crux of a problem, formulate it abstractly, and work through to a solution is a valuable skill!

People with mathematics degrees, and these problem solving skills, are in demand in a wide spectrum of fields and occupations. In this sense by doing mathematics you will learn patterns of problem solving and insight that transfer to other knowledge domains. Once you learn to do this I am sure that you too will find “word problems” to be “fun.”

Another potentially “fun part” of mathematics is deductive reasoning. That is, proving the validity of results. By learning how to formally prove mathematical results you will learn to use rigorous argumentation and persuasion to establish facts and convince others of their validity. The ability to formulate convincing arguments, or refutations, is a skill that is valued in all areas and occupations.

Some valuable and valued abilities acquired by majoring in mathematics are:

  1. The ability to argue rigorously and logically.
  2. The ability to think abstractly.
  3. The ability to formulate and solve problems.
  4. The ability to analyze data and extract information.
  5. The ability to create and analyze mathematical models.

A mathematics degree can serve as preparation for further study, e.g., graduate school in mathematics, in a quantitative field, and even in some seemingly non-quantitative fields such as Law or Medicine. A degree in mathematics can also serve as preparation for employment in many fields, some of which may not seem quantitative at first glance.

The faculty in our department are active in a wide variety of areas of concentration. We don't just teach, we are actively producing new mathematical and statistical results every day. As a mathematics major you will have opportunities, both formal (through our undergraduate research program) and informal, to interact with and perhaps work with our faculty. Don't be shy, ask us what we are doing and we will be thrilled to share with you. Speaking to a person who works in and is passionate about the area you find of potential interest is the best way to get started! Some general descriptions of the areas of concentration of our faculty, along with links to their web pages, can be found on our Research Areas page.

What about careers in mathematics?

Please visit our career opportunities page and use it as a starting point for your exploration of careers and opportunities with a connection to mathematics.