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BA in math or MS in math?

  1. Feb 26, 2016 #1
    Hello every one,

    I am 37+ year old guy who graduated years ago in a degree non related to math (BS in kinesiology) ...now I am getting pretty excited about getting involved in math. I genuinely enjoy doing math and want to learn more and more...admittingly I do experience frustration but my passion for math overpowers that frustration... At least so far...

    I have been self teaching in precalculus (with youtube videos and dummies books).

    I plan to go to junior college to take all the math classes I need to learn then transfer to the same university where I did my BS in kinesiology. However that university only allows students to do one bachelor's degree of a kind. Since I already did a BS and since most if not all science is BS, then I shot myself in the foot by doing the BS in kinesiology.

    I can still get a BA in math...or i could also apply for the MS math program at that same university. so here is my question...

    Should I do the BA in math and maybe apply for the MS after finishing the BA.

    Or take only the necessary undergraduate math classes (without the BA) then apply directly for the MS?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2016 #2
    You need to determine the admission requirements of the MS program in math.

    You should also consider the job prospects and your eventual career plans and hopes. An MS will open some teaching jobs, but most industry jobs will have a good look under the hood (transcripts, projects) to determine what you can really do and how good you are at it.
  4. Feb 26, 2016 #3
    I already figured out what the requirements for the MS are. There is a minimum of 7 classes they require to demonstrate proficiency in math. No explicit mention of an undergraduate degree in math.

    As for jobs, I have brainstormed a list that include but not limited to actuary, operation research analyst, math teacher, computer programming.

    I would like to work in a silicon valley company. I hear people with math degrees/quantitative skills are desirable at Google, amazon, Tesla, etc....but I am not entirely sure if that is accurate or true.

    I plan to complement my math skills with software skills like SQL, R, Python, C/C++...etc

    Being a math teacher in a junior college would be a desirable job though I hear that the shortage of math teachers is a myth and that finding a job in that field is relatively difficult.

    Do potential employers really ask to see a student's transcripts?
  5. Feb 26, 2016 #4
    In most places, there is a real shortage of high school math teachers but not college teachers.

    All the teaching jobs I've applied for have required it if not on the initial application certainly before hiring me.

    About 1/2 the industry jobs have wanted to see my transcripts.

    Lots of folks lying on their resumes these days.

    There are also a lot of people in the job markets with MS degrees in different fields from their BS degrees, since MS programs are of varying quality, hiring managers and committees want to be sure of the total skill set. Hiring the wrong person is a very expensive mistake.
  6. Feb 26, 2016 #5


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    In my experience, there has not been a single industry job (i.e. non-academic jobs) I've applied to that have wanted to see my transcripts, certainly during the job application process. In general, most employers are more concerned about the specific skills said applicant may possess.
  7. Feb 26, 2016 #6
    Yes. I've only interviewed for two positions ever that did not require transcripts.
  8. Feb 27, 2016 #7
    Thanks for contributing everyone...

    I am still undecided whether to get directly my MS Or do the BA then apply to the MS.

    I think the deciding factor rests on whether my future potential employers will ask for my transcripts.

    If they do, having the BA will prove profound education in math and the MS along with that BA will be phenomenonal for my resume.

    An MS alone will somewhat say my math knowledge is relatively more specialized due to only having the MS.

    What do you all think? ☺
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