Mathematics Degree Programs & Courses
Math skills serve as the basis for a huge range of scientific and technical degrees. Straight-up degrees in Math, however, may serve to lead graduates into just as varied a pool of careers, including academics where the need for highly qualified math teachers is intense.
If you’ve read the first part of this guide, you no doubt understand the cost factor inherent in a college degree. My articles on scholarships, however, underscore the free money available to students who major in math or the sciences. Math students must pursue the degrees for more than the wealth of scholarship money; their skills must be top-notch.
Associates of Arts or Associates of Science in Math degrees typically prepare two-year students for a four-year program. Students that pursue an AS degree incorporate more science courses into the degree. Core curriculum in a two-year Math degree includes: Calculus I and II, Discrete Mathematics and even a computer language. Students may use the degrees to transfer to a physical science, computer, or Bachelors in math program.
The Associates in Applied Math is suited to students more focused on computer mathematics, including programming and machine language.
Math majors in a four-year degree are required to complete undergraduate credits in a cross-section of disciplines, such as English, science, social science and physical fitness. Basic math requirements include: calculus, algebra, and probability. Further courses that define the math major include: logic, software design, geometry, discrete math, and analytical principles. Select programs might provide for further specialization:
- Bachelors in Discrete Math prepare students for careers in software and hardware engineering and jobs in computer research. Courses are slanted toward hardware language, machine language, and machine logic.
- Math students sure they wish to work in finance or as an actuary may seek out a Bachelors in Actuarial Math. Emphasis is on statistics, probability, accounting, macroeconomics, and business.
Masters degrees in Math often take one of three directions: straight or pure math, applied math, or math for teaching. The difference is physical versus theoretical.
- Masters in Pure Math expects students to have high academic scores and a Bachelors in Math or closely related major with a Math minor. Curriculum sticks closely to advanced algebraic principles and complex variables.
- Masters in Applied Math compresses an amalgam of coursework into a program designed to turn out the next generation of high-level engineers or algorithmic genii, discrete mathematical whizzes, and chaos theorists. Specialized coursework includes plasticity and elasticity, linear and non-linear equations, stochastic theory, and Hilbert spaces.
- Masters in the Teaching of Math provides all the coursework required to prepare a student for teaching the subject. Students study in-depth all types of mathematics including: abstract algebra, real variables, and geometry.
The Ph.D. is the consummate academic achievement. Candidates’ primary goals are the final dissertation that supports ideally startling new research. During the initial two years, though, candidates must absorb even more advanced math curricula, including regular exams to assess progress with the material. Other degree duties may include teaching assistantships. In most cases Ph.D.s enter the field of academics or go to work in high-level research positions.
Math is an expansive discipline that corrals many theories and ultimately trains students to think in a uniquely analytical manner. This skill, in and of itself, is reason enough to support the fact that math majors are suited to so many career tracks. Jobs in math may focus on research, teaching, high-level academics, statistics, computer engineering, and business applications.