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Best Online Master's Degrees in Mathematics

Some of the best online master's degree programs in mathematics provide students with different concentrations and culminating experiences in the field. Compare some of these top programs and learn about career options.

Best Online Master's in Mathematics Degree Programs

Online master's degree programs in mathematics are diverse and can help prepare students for a wide range of math-based careers. Some of the best online mathematics programs may offer different specializations, certifications, thesis and non-thesis options, and/or other beneficial features, like in-state tuition rates. Explore some of the best online master's programs in mathematics here.

1. Texas A&M University- College Station

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)
College Station, TX$9,812

Texas A&M University offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Mathematics that totals 36 credits. Students in the program can choose from a specialization in computational mathematics or mathematics teaching. The program requires students to complete a final oral examination with a PowerPoint presentation delivered via Zoom. The university also offers a unique postgraduate nondegree-seeking status for students not enrolled as a degree-seeking student.

2. Iowa State University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)
Ames, IA$10,504

Iowa State University has an online MS in Mathematics that totals 30 credits. The program offers a thesis and non-thesis option, where the non-thesis option requires a mathematics project based on information presented in academic journals from the field. Students in the program must complete a final oral examination. For thesis students, this is typically an oral defense of their thesis.

3. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)
Slippery Rock, PA$16,387

The Mathematics Department at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania offers an online MS in Data Analytics. The program totals 33 credits and can be finished in 10 months when taken full-time or 2 years when taken part-time. Students may choose an internship option for more hands-on experience, and all graduates of the program earn a joint certificate in statistical applications and data analytics from the school and the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Institute Inc. The program is also designed to help students prepare for the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) exam.

4. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)
Knoxville, TN$13,120

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville provides an online Master of Mathematics (MM) that totals 30 credits and is designed for mathematics teachers. The program can be completed in 2 years, culminates in a comprehensive portfolio, and utilizes Zoom video meetings during its synchronous online courses. Students can take advantage of rolling admissions to begin the program when it is convenient for them. The school also allows any online student in the program to pay in-state tuition.

5. University of Northern Iowa

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)
Cedar Falls, IA$10,432

The University of Northern Iowa has an online Master of Arts (MA) in Mathematics with an emphasis in secondary teaching or community college teaching. Both programs follow a cohort model and are non-thesis degrees. However, students must complete a final research paper and must meet on campus for 2 weeks during the summer to receive in-person instruction. Applicants to the program are not required to take the GRE.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, OR$14,331
7Montana State UniversityBozeman, MT$6,559
8Nicholls State UniversityThibodaux, LA$8,088
9Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, OK$8,460
10University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, SC14,050
11Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute, IN$7,616
12Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville, TX$7,791
13Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX$8,015
14Emporia State UniversityEmporia, KS$8,464
15Hardin-Simmons UniversityAbilene, TX$11,875
16The University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburg, TX$6,889
17Ball State UniversityMuncie, IN$9,392
18North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh, NC$11,495
19University of Washington-Seattle CampusSeattle, WA$16,590
20University of DelawareNewark, DE$33,678
21University of HoustonHouston, TX$9,216
22Stevens Institute of TechnologyHoboken, NJ$37,250
23University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL$8,872
24Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, MA$27,294
25Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY$45,808
26North Carolina Central UniversityDurham, NC$7,476
27The University of West FloridaPensacola, FL$9,062
28Stanford UniversityStanford, CA$51,354
29Pennsylvania State University-World CampusUniversity Park, PA$21,772
30Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, NY$48,390

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year.

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Master's Degree Programs in Mathematics

Online master's degree programs in mathematics are most commonly offered as MS in Mathematics degrees, but other mathematics-related programs are also available, such as data analytics and math education. MS in Mathematics degree programs usually range from 30 to 36 credits and commonly conclude with a final examination. Some of these programs may also offer a thesis or non-thesis option.

Typically, full-time students in these programs can complete their coursework in 2 years, while part-time students may take 3 to 5 years to complete the program. The format may vary by institution, but many programs follow a synchronous format where students log in at a specific class time to interact with their instructor and peers. Most online master's programs in mathematics can be completed fully online, but some may require brief residential visits. Learn more about these degree programs below.

Concentration Areas

Many online master's degree programs in mathematics offer different tracks or concentration/emphasis areas. These areas are designed to help students focus their studies to a particular area of math and/or apply math skills to a specific industry. Students usually take some specialized courses in their chosen area of interest. Some concentration areas for master's programs in mathematics may include:

  • Computational mathematics
  • Mathematics teaching
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Physics
  • Applied mathematics

Prerequisite Requirements

It is fairly common for online master's degree programs in mathematics to have prerequisite requirements for applicants, but these requirements vary by institution and type of program. Applicants usually need to have a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field and may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement. Depending on the program, students may be required to have prior coursework or at least some experience in areas like:

  • Programming
  • Statistics
  • Differential calculus
  • Integral calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Multivariate calculus

Some programs may require that students meet a minimum GPA in these prerequisite courses. It is also common for online master's programs in mathematics to require the GRE, but some programs may not.

Common Courses for Online Master's in Mathematics

Online master's degree programs in mathematics usually require students to take a set of core mathematics courses and elective courses. Elective courses may be courses from a student's chosen concentration area. Although the curriculum varies from program to program, some common course topics may include:

  • Linear algebra
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Geometry
  • Calculus (multiple levels)
  • Differential equations
  • Numerical analysis
  • Variables
  • Graph theory
  • Finite mathematics
  • Programming

Linear Algebra

Courses in linear algebra are lecture-based and may cover a wide range of areas in the subject and/or topics in applied linear algebra. Specific topics may include matrices, vectors, factorization, and the duality theory.

Mathematical Modeling

Students in mathematical modeling courses learn about different techniques in the field and get to apply them to real-world problems. Students may learn about data interpretation, mathematical formulations, and mathematical analysis. These courses may include topics in discrete models, optimization, and stochastic models.

Geometry

Some programs may offer traditional courses in college geometry, while others may offer seminar courses that explore problems and/or recent developments in the field. Students in these courses generally learn about different geometrical methods and may discuss topics in convexity, Euclidean geometry, and congruence.

How to Decide Which Online Master's in Mathematics is Right for You

When choosing an online master's degree program in mathematics, students should first decide what kind of degree in the field they would like to pursue. This may entail thinking about career goals and finding a mathematics program that may offer a specific track or concentration that will help students advance towards that career, such as a mathematics program with a teaching emphasis for aspiring math teachers. Students may even decide to pursue another kind of degree program under the mathematics umbrella, such as a master's in data analytics or statistics.

Students should also be sure to enroll in an accredited program. Accreditation helps students know that the program they are interested in has met specific academic standards and is a high-quality program. Most online master's degree programs in mathematics are accredited by the institution's accreditation body, which is usually a regional organization, such as the Higher Learning Commission.

Another important factor to consider is the length and format of a program. Students should look for a program that will fit in nicely with their personal schedule and/or time frames for completion. Many online master's programs in mathematics are available in full- or part-time formats. Most full-time programs can be completed in 2 years, although some may be finished in as little as 10 months, while part-time programs may take up to 5 years to complete. Some programs also accept some transfer credit towards the master's degree, which could help decrease the time to completion.

A final factor to consider when choosing an online master's program in mathematics is the cost of the program. Tuition rates vary by school, but it may help students to find programs that offer in-state tuition rates and/or other discounts on tuition. Many schools also offer financial aid and/or scholarships to students to help cut costs. Some scholarships may be available from institutions for maintaining a certain GPA.

Career Options for Graduates with a Master's in Mathematics

Some graduates of master's degree programs in mathematics may go on to pursue a doctoral degree in the field or a related subject, or they may pursue other professional school opportunities, like medical school. Those who wish to work with their master's degree can choose from a variety of math-related careers in different industries, including business, information technology, data science, education, and consulting. Some job titles for graduates with their master's in mathematics include:

  • Mathematician
  • Research analyst
  • Auditor
  • Economist
  • Actuary
  • Operations research analyst
  • Statistician
  • Data scientist
  • Computer programmer
  • High school teacher

Mathematician

Mathematicians usually work full-time in an office setting as they utilize various mathematical techniques to try and solve problems in different industries, such as healthcare and business. They may need to apply current mathematical theories to a problem and/or develop new theories or models to analyze data. Mathematicians need to be able to understand what data is needed, how to collect it, and how to then interpret their results and present it in a way that others will understand.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mathematicians need at least a master's degree. These professionals earned an annual median salary of $101,900 in 2018, as per the BLS, and the job outlook for mathematicians was 26% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the national average.

Economist

Economists generally work full-time in an office setting, but some of these professionals may also work part-time as a consultant. Economists are responsible for analyzing economic problems by studying and understanding the creation of goods, as well as the distribution of these commodities. In order to study various economic issues, economists typically need to collect data and analyze it with mathematical software before compiling their findings in reports with advice concerning possible solutions for economic issues.

The BLS reported that economists made a median salary of $104,340 in 2018 and had a job outlook of 8% from 2018 to 2028. This job outlook is faster than the national average. These professionals usually need at least a master's degree, although some entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelor's degree.

High School Teacher

High school teachers work full-time, but do usually take breaks in teaching during the summer and on other academic breaks. They work in a classroom setting with young adults, usually in grades 9 through 12 to help prepare them for college and/or a future career. High school teachers typically specialize in a particular subject area, such as math, and are responsible for developing their curriculum, assignments, and assessments. These teachers usually have a range of additional responsibilities, such as monitoring students during free times, contacting parents, and/or helping individual students.

High school teachers made a median salary of $60,320 in 2018 and had an average job outlook of 4% from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. Although most high school teachers only need a bachelor's degree, some states may require teachers to get a master's degree once they have been hired. Those teaching in public schools must have a state-certified teaching license or certification.

Professional Organizations in Mathematics

Professionals in the field of mathematics have many different professional organizations that they can consider joining/participating in to further develop their career and/or knowledge in the field. These organizations provide an array of resources for mathematicians and other math-related careers. Explore a few of these organizations here.

American Mathematical Society (AMS)

The AMS offers membership, online access to publications in the field, and a variety of AMS conferences on the sectional to international scales. The organization works to advance the field of mathematics through its government relations and helps individuals through employment services and programs.

Mathematical Association of America (MAA)

The MAA also offers membership and provides members with access to several different mathematics publications. The organization hosts a variety of events and competitions, including the MAA MathFest and American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) International. Members may also participate in professional development opportunities, member communities, and outreach initiatives.

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)

SIAM is a specialized group for mathematicians in various research areas like the life sciences, applied geometry, financial mathematics and engineering, and data science. The group provides access to a number of publications, conferences, and prizes in the field. The organization does have student chapters and helps individuals with a job board that includes research opportunities, internships, and fellowships.