What can I do with a Math or a Stat Degree
An undergraduate major in mathematics is good preparation for a variety of careers, many of which make no special use of mathematics itself, but do require the ability to reason carefully and express oneself clearly. Listed below are careers that make explicit use of undergraduate training in mathematics.
An actuary works in the insurance industry on problems associated with insurance rates. The profession is closely regulated, and advancement through the actuarial ranks is achieved by passing a series of tests administered by the Society of Actuaries. The first five tests measure knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, statistics, numerical analysis, and operations research. Resources: Society of Actuaries and Careers in actuarial and insurance.
In industry mathematicians work with specialists from different disciplines to solve complex problems that are too broad in scope for engineers to tackle alone. To prepare for a possible career in applied mathematics outside of academia, build your program around the skills that employers need: breadth and depth in mathematics, computational skills, knowledge of a relevant area outside of mathematics, and problem-solving ability. Resource: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
Pure mathematicians work on abstract problems independent of any practical applications – they create new mathematics, build new mathematical structures, and unravel new mathematical patterns. Because it grows out of internal motivations to create, this aspect of mathematics is often likened to art. However, mathematical research developed without reference to real-world problems often ends up being extremely useful in practical situations. Pure mathematicians find employment at universities, government agencies such as the National Security Agency, or companies such as Bell Labs. Resource: American Mathematical Society.
Secondary School Mathematics Teacher
Today there is an increasing need for secondary school teachers with excellent training in mathematics. As national leaders call for sweeping reforms in the way mathematics is taught, this is an exciting and challenging time to enter the mathematical education profession.
Statistics deals with the problem of making inductive inferences in the face of uncertainty. It provides the reasoning and the methods for producing and understanding data. It is learning from data and includes collecting, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting results. Statisticians identify patterns in data to understand it and make decisions in business and industry and in biological, physical, psychological, and social sciences. Statisticians provide the methodology for making important advances in medical and other scientific research arenas, and work at various tasks such as market research, opinion polling, survey management, data analysis, designing statistical experiments, and teaching statistical techniques and theories. Resource: American Statistical Society.
Other Career Options
Other possibilities for careers in mathematics are Mathematical Biology, Management Science (Operations Research), Mathematics of Medicine, Mathematics of Finance, Etc. For more details about these and other careers in Mathematics students should visit the American Mathematical Society or contact our Math Department advisors. Also
See Careers in insurance.
See this article on genome sequencing.
See our page on Job Opportunities, including summer internships, etc.