Getting a Degree in Mathematics

degree in mathematics

Getting a Degree in Mathematics

You can find mathematics everywhere! From biology to physics, to computers and economics. A degree in Mathematics makes for a great foundation for any of the STEM subjects and beyond. If you have a love of numbers, mathematics can be the perfect field to go into. 

There are different types of subjects within mathematics that you can focus on.

  • Algebra deals with symbols and the rules for manipulating these symbols.
  • Geometry is mathematics with questions of shape, size, positions, and the properties of space.
  • Trigonometry is the study of sides and angles, and properties of space. 
  • Calculus is an advanced branch of mathematics that is concerned with finding the properties of derivatives and integrals of functions. 

Other mathematical subjects include Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Number Theory, Logic, Statistics, Game Theory, and more. 

Applied mathematics is the math used in other sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and more. Pure math is the theoretical study of the subject. 

The study of mathematics started as a discipline in the 6th century BC with the Pythagoreans. They coined the term, “mathematics” from ancient Greek, which meant, “the subject of instruction.”  

Associate’s Degree in Mathematics

Getting your associate’s degree in mathematics is a great first step into a career in mathematics. You would study subjects such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Classes may include ones such as calculus, linear algebra, and pre-calculus. You should be able to get a mathematics associate degree at a local community college. Most programs would take you two years if you attend school full-time. 

Those with an associate’s degree in mathematics may find a job in accounts payable, be an assistant to a certified public accountant, or work as a financial clerk. You can find jobs in many different fields including insurance, health care, and business. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics

In order to give yourself more opportunities and find higher-paying jobs, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. While working towards your bachelor’s degree, you would dive into more complex material than you would with an associate’s degree. You might take classes such as the theory of statistics, applied partial differential equations, and vector calculus. 

A bachelor’s degree should take around four years, and you can find online and in-person programs based on what is available and what works best for your situation. 

For online programs, The University of Illinois at Springfield, Indiana University, and Maryville University all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins University all have highly rated programs. 

Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics

  • Actuaries, who use statistical analysis to figure out the probability of the occurrence of certain events to minimize the risks associated with them, have an average salary of $108,350, according to BLS as of 2019.
  • Survey Researchers, who design surveys that gather information about the public, including factual data, opinions, and beliefs, have an average salary of $59,170, according to BLS, as of 2019. 
  • Middle School or High School Math Teachers, who teach students in mathematics in the 6th-12th grade levels, have an average salary of $61,660, according to BLS as of 2019.

Master’s Degree in Mathematics

Getting a master’s degree in mathematics will allow you to expand your career in mathematics even further. You can usually get your degree within two years, depending on if you go full or part-time. There might also be the option of bundling a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in certain 5-year programs. 

While in a master’s degree program you would focus on a specialization. Some examples would be data science, mathematics in education, or pure and applied mathematics. Some of the classes you might take would be, introduction to probability, calculus survey, or mathematics for elementary education. 

For online programs, Texas A & M University-College, Colorado State University, and Ball State University all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, Princeton University, Harvard University, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology all have highly rated programs. 

Jobs with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics

  • Statisticians, who use mathematical and statistical techniques to analyze and interpret quantitative data, have an average salary of $92,030, according to BLS, as of 2019.
  • Computational Scientists, who are skilled in scientific computing and work to interpret problems arising from the physical sciences and engineering in mathematical form and develop mathematical solutions to these problems, have an average salary of $99,050, according to Glassdoor, as of January 2021.
  • Research Mathematicians, who conduct mathematical research in areas of interest to large corporations as well as areas of government, have an average salary of $92,030, according to BLS, as of 2019.

Doctorate Degrees in Mathematics

Getting a Ph.D. in mathematics is the most in-depth and advanced degree you could get in the field of math. The degree typically takes five years and some of the courses you might take would be differential geometry, complex analyst, and set theory. 

The University of Maryland Baltimore County, The University of Missouri-St. Louis, and South Dakota State University all have highly rated programs.

Jobs with a Ph.D. in Mathematics

  • Mathematicians, who determine what kind of data needs to be collected in order to answer a specific question, have an average salary of $92,030, according to BLS, as of 2019.
  • Professors of Mathematics, who design and teach courses in statistics, mathematical concepts, and more, have an average salary of $79,540, according to BLS, as of 2019.
  • You can also find jobs in data analyst and computer programming.

Related Majors

  • Accounting
  • Computer Science
  • Management Science
  • Statistics 

Scholarships

Getting your degree in mathematics means you can apply for certain scholarships that specialize in mathematics. Here are a couple of them:

PixelPlex Bi-Annual STEM Scholarship

This scholarship was established to help support and inspire students to pursue further education in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as economics and business. There will be one scholarship given out in the amount of $2,000. 

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation

This scholarship was established by congress in 1986 to be a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater. He was a soldier and served 30 years in the US Senate. The scholarship is for college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering fields. The award amount is equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board. The amount of support by other sources will be deducted from the total and the award has a maximum of $7,500.

 

>> For more scholarships for military, veterans, spouses and dependents, please use the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder.

 

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.