Mathematics : Careers

Career Information and Further Study

Mathematics is the most fundamental of all sciences, having applications in almost every area of human endeavor including biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, finance, geography, geology, operations research, and physics. Those whose job title is mathematician fall mainly into two categories. One is the theoretical mathematicians, who advance mathematical knowledge by developing new principles and recognizing previously unknown relationships between existing principles of mathematics. Most have Ph.D.s and work as professors at universities. The other major category is the applied mathematicians, who use theories and techniques such as mathematical modeling and computational methods to formulate and solve practical problems in business, government, and engineering, and in the physical, life and social sciences. It is common for applied mathematicians to have masters or Ph.D. degrees, and many work for federal or state governments as well as for manufacturing and consulting businesses. In addition to the above, mathematics graduates work in jobs with titles other than mathematician, such as actuary, statistician, systems engineer, and secondary school teacher.

Skills gained in this program include:

Critical Thinking: Reasoning, analyzing, ability to think conceptually, and understanding components of complex problems.

Research and development: Research methods, research theory, statistics, evaluating evidence, examining electronic data sources, and developing systems for processing data.

Communication: Writing, teaching, speaking to groups, presenting research findings, reading critically, expressing ideas and relationships in numbers and words, and translating mathematical formulations and electronic data into generally understood language.

Additional Transferable Skills: Managing, interpreting, editing, advising, organizing, developing original solutions to problems, recognizing essential details in problems, and advising on program design.

Career Choices
  • Actuary
  • Budget officer
  • Bursar/educator
  • Computer analyst
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems engineer
  • Econometrician
  • Efficiency expert
  • Engineering analyst
  • Environmental planner
  • Financial analyst
  • Fundraiser
  • Information scientist
  • Internal Revenue Service worker
  • Mathematician
  • Numerical analyst
  • Purchasing agent
  • Quality control supervisor
  • Statistician
  • Teacher

Alumni in Mathematics have found employment in the following additional fields:
  • Accountancy
  • Appraising
  • Banking
  • College teaching
  • Data processing
  • Estimation
  • Hydrography
  • Market research analysis
  • Meteorology
  • Scientific programming
  • Urban planning

What percentage of graduates goes on to find related employment?


Of those recent graduates who accepted employment, some entered the teaching profession, but most took jobs in business and industry.

Work settings include:
  • Accounting firms
  • Banks
  • Colleges/universities
  • Computer firms
  • Corporations/businesses
  • Engineering firms
  • Health agencies
  • Insurance companies
  • Investment houses
  • K-12 Schools
  • Libraries
  • Manufacturers such as aerospace companies
  • U.S. and state governments

Salary Information

Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the NACE (National Assoc of Colleges and Employers)salary survey, Summer 2009, the average starting salary for a holder of a bachelors degree working as a mathematician or statistician was $48,408

Post-undergraduate Opportunities

Many graduates further their careers by continuing on to graduate school. This is the case both for those wishing to become teachers and for those who want employment as mathematicians or in a wide variety of other careers: for example, a major in mathematics is an excellent background for graduate study in business administration, or for research in any of the sciences when combined with an appropriate minor.

What percentage of graduates goes on to graduate school?


Additional Resources

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:01:39 EST