Graduate Programs for Math Majors

Mathematics is a diverse field of study that offers many educational and career opportunities. This article gives an overview of a few graduate programs in the field and general admission requirements for applicants to consider. Schools offering Mathematics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Admission's Overview for Applicants in the Field of Mathematical Sciences

  • Degree Requirements: Although each specific master's program differs in its overall program requirements, there are several admission components that are fairly standard across the spectrum of programs, and an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university is one of these standards.
  • Prerequisite Coursework: Although there are colleges and universities that admit students with a baccalaureate degree in unrelated coursework, applicants should be aware that prerequisite coursework in statistics may very likely be required. This is especially likely for pure, applied, and educational mathematics majors, where the prerequisite requirements may be even more demanding and may include advanced linear or abstract algebra as well as computer programming.
  • GPA Requirements: Applicants may need a minimum GPA of 2.75 or above in order to be considered for admission to mathematical sciences graduate programs.
  • Test Scores: GRE (Graduate Records Exam) scores are required by some programs, and students whose first language is not English will be expected to submit English proficiency scores, like the TOEFL.

Master's Programs for Math Majors

Master's Degrees in Statistics

Research, analysis, and data interpretation are the trifecta of topics covered in a master's degree program in statistics. Coursework in various statistical applications, Bayesian methods, linear models, and computational methods are part and parcel of statistics curricula, designed to ensure students are well versed in each area of the trifecta. Typically, a master's in statistics can be earned within two years with full-time study. Upon graduation with a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Statistics, students may continue their studies at the PhD level or find desirable work as statisticians, data analysts, or software developers, among other careers.

Master's Degrees in Pure or Applied Mathematics

Students interested in master's degree programs in pure or applied mathematics have the option of pursuing thesis and non-thesis Master of Science or Master of Arts program options. Both programs can be completed within two years with full-time study. Regardless of whether students are applied or pure math majors, they can expect to cover a comprehensive curriculum, deepening and expanding upon their foundational knowledge of classical theorems and structures while exploring topology, boundary value problems, real analysis, and complex variables. Upon graduation, students may continue to PhD studies. Students desiring to enter into the workforce can consider teaching mathematics at the community college level, work in accounting or economics, or research and data analyst positions.

Master's Degree in Mathematics Education

Whether a current or future educator, earning a master's in mathematics adds advanced preparatory work for teaching mathematics from the elementary to high school level. As graduate students broaden their own mathematical knowledge, they also develop a greater understanding of mathematics teaching strategies in order to best reach learners in a classroom setting. With full-time study, students can earn their master's degrees in mathematics education within two years. Along with the history of number theories, students can expect coursework covering various topics of geometry, statistics, algebraic reasoning from the primary to secondary level, as well as studies in student assessment and technology in the classroom. Along with working as educators at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, graduates may also consider work as instructional coordinators.

Master's Degrees in Actuarial Science

Math lovers with a penchant for economics, analyzing financial and business problems, and finding solutions to such problems might enjoy pursuing a course of study in actuarial science. Risk theory and insurance pricing and management are among the professional topics addressed in coursework in statistics, financial mathematics, mathematical modeling of risk statistics, and survival analysis. Whether pursuing a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Actuarial Science, graduates of the program will likely need to successfully complete a professional examination in actuarial sciences from an organization like the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society before putting their degrees to work in the professional sector. Aside from work as an actuary in the insurance industry, graduates in this field may consider work as economists or financial advisors. Actuary studies at the master's level can be completed within two years with full-time study.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master of Science or Master of Arts in Statistics 1-2 years *Undergraduate degree
*Prerequisite math courses
*Statistician
*Data analyst
Master of Science or Master of Arts in Pure or Applied Mathematics 1-2 years *Undergraduate degree
*Prerequisite math courses
*Accountant
*Community college math educator
Master of Arts in Mathematics Education 1-2 years *Undergraduate degree
*Prerequisite math courses
*May need teaching license
*Mathematics teacher
*Instructional coordinator
Master of Science or Master of Arts in Actuarial Science 1-2 years *Undergraduate degree
*Prerequisite math courses
*Actuary
*Personal financial consultant

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in mathematics are projected to grow 26% between the years of 2018-2028 as the increasing usage of big data means that employers and government agencies will need mathematicians to analyze that data. Given this, a master's degree in the field of mathematics may prove to be a worthy investment of time and resources for those gifted with a mind for mathematics.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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