Mathematics - Applied

Learn about the diverse field of applied mathematics and what jobs are available in the field. Explore educational options, work duties, employment growth and salary information for related professions.

Is Applied Mathematics for Me?

Career Overview

Mathematics is the ancient science of numbers and their relationships to time, distance and quantity. While theoretical math explores abstract concepts, applied math is used to solve practical problems in the everyday world. It's used in the natural sciences, engineering, business, the social sciences and industry, offering you several occupations and job settings to choose from.

Specializations

As an applied mathematician, you'd begin with a problem, translate it into mathematical variables, then use computer models, statistics, algorithms and other math tools to find one or more solutions. You can find several career options related to applied mathematics, depending on your interests. Some examples include ecology, biochemistry and neuroscience, which all make use of mathematical biology. Climatology uses mathematical computer modeling to study atmospheric dynamics and global warming. Investment management and actuarial science also include applied mathematics techniques.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 23% job growth for mathematicians between 2012 and 2022 despite the limited number of positions in the field (www.bls.gov). Technology sectors, such as computer science, physics or engineering, could see the highest increases. To improve your employment opportunities, you could seek complimentary education in one of these fields. The BLS also noted that mathematicians earned a median annual salary of $101,360 in 2012.

How Can I Work in Applied Mathematics?

Education Programs

You can find employment opportunities in applied mathematics that require a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. With a bachelor's or master's degree, you could work in academia, government research, business or social work. Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) might improve your opportunities, qualifying you to conduct independent research or teach at the university level. Supplementary education could also broaden your career options into such areas as engineering, city planning or pharmacology.

Topics of Study

Applied mathematics programs might cover subjects drawn from computer science, math and engineering. Specific topics could include applied probability and statistics, calculus, differential equations and data analysis, as well as science subjects, like chemistry and physics. Ocean dynamics, acoustics, ultrafast optics and solar explosions might be included as graduate-level elective options.

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