What Is a Mathematics Degree?

Mathematics underlies so many vocations. Accountants and actuaries, engineers, financial analysts, medical and research scientists… all of these people, and many other, use mathematics in one form or another in their daily jobs. Economies, and the businesses and people a part of them, rely upon mathematics to drive the underlying financial support system required to keep the society afloat. Governments rely upon mathematics to account for the citizens of whom they serve, generating statistics to guide them in public support and policy-making. Mathematics is used far more than people realize every single day.

A mathematics degree opens graduating students to innumerable career opportunities. Because math is so important to many different career choices, a mathematics degree is one of the few degrees that affords graduating students the ability to enter into several different career types. This science deals with the theories of change, quantity, space and structure. As such, it holds several different elements useful to a wide variety of job choices. Whether the student wishes to become an architect or a scientist, mathematics provides the foundation necessary for the job duties required within the vocation.

Students who have demonstrated strength in mathematics, statistics and quantitative analysis in their studies thus far are well suited for a mathematics degree. Students strong in design might also consider a mathematics degree, as the design and mathematics oftentimes coincide in structural or visual applications.

Job Opportunities

Graduating mathematics degree students have several career choices, some of which are becoming an actuary, a meteorologist, a research scientist or a statistician.

Actuaries take mathematical results from previous occurrences and interpret the future risks of said occurrences. This work is critical for government agencies and insurance companies. Starting actuary salaries range from £25,000 to £35,000, with insurance industry actuaries starting a bit higher at £40,000 plus. Experienced actuaries earn between £60,000 and £100,000, depending upon who they work for and where they work.

Mathematics graduates fascinated with the weather should consider becoming meteorologists. Meteorologists predict weather and climate patterns by using analytical mathematics skills such as computer modelling, differential equations and fluid dynamics. A meteorologist might begin his or her career earning £21,000 to £27,000. As the meteorologist gains experience, the salaries increase up to £35,000. Managing meteorologist earn £38,000 to £60,000 plus.

A research scientist with the emphasis on mathematics is critical in the development of mathematical principles used by persons tasked with identifying trends in various types of data sets. The research scientist is the one who gives the analyst his or her analytical tools, by proving which number systems, mathematical principles and theorems best analyse the data. Mathematical research scientists earn starting salaries beginning at £25,000. As the scientist works within his or her specialty and gains experience, senior level research scientists can earn upwards of £70,000.

A statistician uses quantitative analysis to interpret data critical to private and public industries such as educational institutions, environmental agencies, government agencies, healthcare and industrial applications. The statistician is responsible for collecting the necessary data and then analysing and interpreting the results. Recent mathematical graduates beginning their statistician careers can expect to earn anywhere from £22,500 to £39,000, depending upon where they work. After 10 to 15 years experience, statisticians earn on average £30,000 to £69,500.

Mathematics Curriculum

All forms of mathematical applications are studied in the mathematics curriculum. Students will learn and apply mathematics to analysis, applied statistics, economics, psychology and banking and finance among many other applications. As the student moves through the mathematics curriculum, he or she has the opportunity to determine the specific mathematical application in which they wish to focus their continued studies.

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