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Math Majors: A Guide to Higher Education in Mathematics

math majors

Are you thinking about majoring in math? Then you’re making a great decision! Math is a fascinating and versatile field of study leading to infinite possibilities. This guide will discuss what math majors can do with their degree, the different specializations within the field, and how to choose the right program for you.

We’ll also provide tips on studying mathematics and preparing for your career. Before we begin, congratulations on deciding to pursue a math degree!

What is a Math Major?

A math major is an undergraduate degree earned at a college or university. Math major requirements vary from school to school, but most include advanced mathematics courses and comprehensive examinations.

Math majors often pursue careers in teaching, research, or finance. You’ll develop work-ready skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical reasoning.

If you are curious about mathematics as a career, then a math major is a great place to start. This guide will look at what you can expect from a typical math major program and some career options to consider after graduation.

Types of Mathematical Majors

1. Applied Mathematics

An applied mathematics major is suitable for students who want to use their mathematical skills in the real world. Applied mathematics majors often find jobs in the business or government sectors.

A degree in applied mathematics can lead to a career in finance, insurance, or consulting. Lastly, the average salary for these careers is $85,000 per year.

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Mathematics

  1. Actuary, Salary: $105,900 per year
  2. Cryptographer, Salary: $128,970 per year
  3. Economist, Salary: $105,630 per year
  4. Financial analyst, Salary: $81,410 per year
  5. Mathematician, Salary: $108,100 per year
  6. Statistician, Salary: $95,570 per year

2. Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing

This field is for students who want to use their mathematical skills to solve problems in science and engineering. Numerical analysis and scientific computing majors often find jobs in the computer science or engineering sectors.

The average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in numerical analysis and scientific computing is $131,490 per year.

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing

  1. Computer scientist, Salary: $131,490 per year
  2. Data analyst, Salary: $82,360 per year
  3. Database administrator, Salary: $98,860 per year
  4. Network administrator, Salary: $80,600 per year
  5. Systems analyst, Salary: $99,270 per year

3. Optimization Theory

An optimization theory major is for students who want to study the mathematical methods of optimizing systems. Graduates often find jobs in the engineering or business sectors. Also, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in optimization theory is $108,100 per year.

When you take this major, you can expect studies such as:

  • Convex optimization
  • Integer programming
  • Markov decision processes
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Linear and nonlinear programming
  • Deterministic and stochastic dynamic programming

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Optimization Theory

  1. Operations research analyst, Salary: $82,360 per year
  2. Product manager, Salary: $103,150 per year
  3. Systems engineer, Salary: $79,840 per year

4. Computer Science

Or, specifically, the study of computers and their applications. These college majors often lead to CS, IT, and engineering jobs.

A CS bachelor’s degree can lead to software engineering, web development, or systems administration jobs. On average, the salary for these careers is $110,140 per year. However, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science is $131,490 annually.

Some of the topics you will cover while studying computer science include:

  • Algorithms
  • Data structures
  • Programming languages

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

  1. Computer hardware engineer, Salary: $128,170 per year
  2. Computer systems analyst, Salary: $99,270 per year
  3. Information security analyst, Salary: $102,600 per year
  4. Network administrator, Salary: $80,600 per year

5. Pure Mathematics

A pure mathematics major is for students who want to study mathematics for its own sake. Pure mathematics majors often find jobs in the education or government sectors.

In short, a degree in pure mathematics can lead to many different and interesting career paths. Potential careers students may be interested in are actuaries, economists, and mathematicians. The average salary for these careers is $105,900 per year.

When you take this major, you can expect to learn about:

  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Geometry
  • Number theory
  • Probability and statistics

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pure Mathematics

  • Actuary, Salary: $105,900 per year
  • Economist, Salary: $105,630 per year
  • Mathematician, Salary: $108,100 per year
  • Statistician, Salary: $95,570 per year
  • Teacher, Salary: $61,820 per year
  • Research assistant, Salary: $56,430 per year

To summarize, it’s essential to research the various career paths available to them to make an informed decision about your future.

6. Economics

Economics is the study of how people use resources to satisfy their needs and wants. Above all, economics majors often find jobs in business or government sectors.

A degree in economics leads to different and interesting career paths. For example, economics students may be interested in careers such as actuaries, economists, financial analysts, and market research analysts. The average salary for these careers is $105,900 per year. When you take this major, you can expect to learn about:

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • International trade
  • Labor economics
  • Money and banking

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics

  • Economist, Salary: $105,630 per year
  • Financial analyst, Salary: $81,410 per year
  • Market research analyst, Salary: $63,920 per year
  • Management consultant, Salary: $93,000 per year
  • Sales manager, Salary: $127,490 per year
  • Investment banker, Salary: $62,910 per year

Economics majors can pursue myriad career paths. Therefore it is crucial to research and make an informed decision about your future.

Typical Candidates

A math major is perfect for students who are passionate about mathematics and its applications. It provides students with a strong foundation in mathematical theory and practice. Students who complete a degree in mathematics can pursue various careers, including teaching, research, and industry.

Math majors also have the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in mathematics or related fields. Graduate programs offer students the chance to continue their studies at more advanced levels and develop research skills.

Specifically, students who complete a graduate program in mathematics can pursue careers as mathematicians, researchers, or professors.

Therefore, if you’re passionate about a career in solving complex mathematical problems, then a math major is definitely for you.

Common Courses

1. Logic

You will learn how to think abstractly and critically. These skills are not only valuable for mathematics but in life as well. Mathematics is the study of patterns. You will learn to find and create patterns and use them to solve problems.

You will also learn about different types of numbers and how to work with them—for example, learning about prime, rational, real, and complex numbers.

2. Analysis

You will learn about different functions and how to work with them. For instance, you’ll study polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions. You will also learn about limits and continuity. These concepts are important in calculus, a branch of mathematics that you will likely study if you major in math.

Calculus is all about rates of change. Above all, you will learn how to find the rate of change of a function at a certain point. Then, how to use derivatives to solve problems.

Integrals are another important concept in calculus. In short, you will learn to find the area under a curve and use integrals to solve problems. Differential equations are equations that involve derivatives. Generally, you’ll learn how to solve these types of equations. Then, how to use them to model real-world situations.

You will also learn about vector calculus, including dot and cross products. Specifically, vector calculus is mathematics suited for physics and engineering. Therefore, it is a handy tool if you plan to pursue a career in either of those fields.

3. Abstract Thinking

A math major will enable you to learn how to think abstractly. Meaning you can see the relationships between things that are not immediately obvious. Abstract thinking is a critical skill because it is one that you will use in all areas of your life.

4. Problem Solving

One of the most important subjects you’ll learn from a math major is how to solve problems. In short, you know to take a problem and break it down into smaller pieces. Then, you use your knowledge of mathematics to solve each element of the problem. Finally, you will combine all the details to find the solution to the original problem.

Solving problems is a skill that is useful in all areas of life, not just in mathematics. If you can solve problems effectively, you will succeed in whatever field you pursue.

Why Pursue a Math Major?

A math major can lead to a successful and fulfilling career in many different fields. Math majors develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills that employers value in various industries.

There are many reasons to pursue a math major. Here are just a few.

1. There Are Plenty of Career Opportunities for Math Majors

Many businesses and organizations value math majors’ strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Some popular careers for math majors include:

  • Actuary
  • Financial analyst
  • Operations research analyst
  • Mathematician
  • Statistician

Other potential careers include accountant, computer programmer, engineer, insurance underwriter, investment banker, and market researcher.

In conclusion, there are plenty of career opportunities for math majors. With such a wide range of options available, finding a career that matches your interests and skillset is easy.

2. Math Professionals Are in High Demand

The job outlook for statisticians will grow by 28% in the next decade. There is anticipated growth in big data analysis because businesses are emphasizing its use. Mathematicians are necessary for analyzing big data.

As businesses rely on data to make decisions, they will need more workers to analyze that data and turn it into insights.

If you’re considering a career in math, now is a great time to pursue it. Many opportunities are available, and employers are eager to hire qualified math professionals.

3. Help Others with Your Skills

As a math major, you will develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills. You can use these abilities to help others in your community.

For example, you could volunteer with a local organization that provides tutoring services to struggling math students. Or you could use your skills to help businesses or government agencies solve complex problems.

Giving back to your community is a great way to use your skills for good. It’s one of the best reasons to pursue a math major.

4. A Math Major Enables You to Learn About Many Aspects of the Field

When you pursue a math major, you will have the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of the field. You will take classes in algebra, geometry, and calculus.

You will also learn about the history of mathematics and its uses throughout history. This knowledge can help you better understand the world around you and how math affects our everyday lives.

Above all, a math major is a great way to develop a deep understanding of the subject. As a result, it gives you a well-rounded education that prepares you for success in any career.

Essential Career Skills Gained from Math Majors

  1. Critical Thinking – A math degree develops critical thinking skills. The ability to solve problems, think abstractly, and see the world in a new light are valuable traits in any career field.
  2. Teamwork – Working on group projects in math classes develops teamwork skills essential in any career. Communicating and collaborating are key skills that employers seek.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning – Math majors develop quantitative reasoning skills. They can understand and analyze data, an essential skill in most career fields.
  4. Communication Skills – When studying any major in math, you’ll develop strong communication skills. They learn how to explain their ideas clearly and concisely. This skill is essential because it comes in handy in any field.
  5. Manipulation of Precise and Intricate Ideas – You’ll learn how to manipulate precise and intricate ideas with a math major. They know how to think abstractly and see the world in a new light.
  6. Time Management Skills – Math majors develop strong time management skills. They learn how to prioritize their time and work on multiple tasks simultaneously. A particularly important skill if you plan on working in a fast-paced environment.
  7. Problem-Solving Skills – A math major will help you develop strong problem-solving skills. They learn how to think abstractly and see the world in a new light. It’s a valuable skill in any career field.

Is a Degree in Mathematics Worth It?

The simple answer is yes. In short, a degree in mathematics can open up a world of opportunities for you. Math majors lead to jobs in various fields, such as finance, engineering, and teaching.

There are plenty of reasons why a degree in mathematics is a good idea. For instance, it is a very versatile degree. You can use it to get a job in finance or become an engineer.

Secondly, mathematics is a beneficial subject. It can help you solve problems and think critically. Finally, getting a degree in mathematics can help you earn more money. In fact, according to the BLS, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics earns you an average of $96,400 per year.

There are many reasons to get a degree in mathematics, but ultimately the decision is up to you. If you are interested in the subject and enjoy learning more about it, then getting a degree in mathematics is a good idea.

Choosing the Right Major

The math major you choose will significantly impact your future career. But with many different options available, it can be challenging to decide which one is right for you. In this case, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a math major:

  1. Your interests: What kind of math do you enjoy most? There are many different branches of mathematics, each with its unique focus. If you’re interested in applied mathematics, you might want to consider a major like engineering or physics.
  2. Your skills: What kind of mathematical skills do you have? Some majors require more abstract thinking than others. Say you’re not confident in your abilities, then choosing a major that focuses on concrete concepts might be better.
  3. Your goals: What do you see yourself achieving with your math degree? Some majors focus on theoretical mathematics, while others emphasize practical applications. Think about what you want to do with your degree before deciding.

Once you’ve considered your interests, skills, and goals, you should better know which math major is right for you. Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s something that piques your interest. A love for mathematics is the key to success in any field.

FAQs

Is Majoring in Math Hard?

It depends on how you define “hard.” A math major requires dedication and a willingness to learn new things, but it can be enriching. The skills you’ll develop as a math major will prepare you for various careers, and the knowledge you gain will give you a deep understanding of the world around you.

Therefore, if you’re up for the challenge, then yes, majoring in math can be hard. But it’s also gratifying. And who knows, maybe you’ll find it’s not as hard as you thought it would be. After all, math is all about problem-solving.

What Are the Top 3 Math Careers?

The top 3 math careers are actuarial science, mathematics, and statistics. These are the top three math careers based on job outlook, salary potential, and job satisfaction. If you’re considering a career in math, these are three great options.

What Is the Hardest Math Class for a Math Major?

A math major’s most challenging math class is not necessarily the most complex mathematics course. It is often one of the lower-level classes. The reason for this is that the difficulty of a course is relative. It all depends on what you know coming into the course. Math 55 is one of the most difficult math courses in the country.

Why Is Math 55 Hard?

Math 55 is hard, but that is on purpose. But that’s because the class pushes students to grow as mathematicians. It’s not correct to claim that Math 55 is comparable to a graduate course in terms of difficulty.

Can I Learn Math at 40?

Yes, anyone at any age can learn math. However, it will take some extra effort if you start later. The key is to find a method of learning that works for you and to be patient with yourself. Consider an online class or hiring a tutor if you need some structure to your education. With dedication, you can succeed in mathematics at any age!

Do Math Majors Make Good Money?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It depends on your chosen field after graduation and how good you are at math. Some math majors go into finance or become actuaries, which tend to be high-paying careers. Other math majors become teachers, which is a noble but not always high-paying profession. Math majors generally do well financially, but it is not guaranteed.

Take the Next Step to Pursue Your Math Major Today

If you’re interested in a mathematics major, then know that it can be a challenging but rewarding path. You can succeed in this field regardless of age or background with hard work and dedication. To this end, browse our math majors in the GetEducated.com database. We have a wide range of these courses, which we review from different universities. Therefore, you have the option of checking them out and choosing the one that is best suitable for you.

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