1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Math Careers that require upper level mathematics

  1. Feb 11, 2012 #1
    Hey there PhysicsForum...long time reader, first time poster. Ever since I was about 11, I've wanted to pursue a degree in mathematics; now that I am in my first year of college (pursuing a degree in applied mathematics), I am coming to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with, or can do it with for that matter. Currently, I am thinking about switching my degree path to a Math/Econ option or a Math/Applied Science path, following an actuarial science plan. I've always pictured myself using advanced mathematics in whatever job I eventually get, but upon researching, I can't find much; it's mostly finance or something like that, that people with math degrees go into. I've recently considered actuarial study, but I just fear that I won't be using "upper level" math (like double integrals or something of that nature).

    I was wondering if any of you know of a career that uses a lot of math that's not just simple arithmetic? And if there are any actuaries out there, is math a huge part of your daily activity. Thanks for reading the wall of text, and I hope I don't come off as someone who whining...I'm just confused about what to do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2012 #2
    I went for a degree in applied mathematics after researching what types of options there were available. I will likely get my masters in something to complement my math skills such as computer science/electrical engineering/physics. It seems to be pretty important to get another skill that complements the mathematics, unless you intend to get your PhD in mathematics.

    Here are some resources I found helpful:
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  4. Feb 13, 2012 #3
    A few comments on this:

    1) Integrals (double or not) are not upper level math

    2) Nobody does integrals of any kind. Computers do integrals. (Or, more often, solve PDE's by matching appropriate boundary conditions)

    3) It's hard to know what you mean by upper level math, but you probably won't use it day to day as an actuary.

    I've been working as an actuarial analyst for three years in the US and enjoy my job.
  5. Feb 13, 2012 #4
    The friends of mine that got into cryptography, DSP, computational physics, even RF type stuff all "use" high level math. But it's rarely pen and paper stuff, usually it's within MATLAB or C++. One of my friends was very good at number theory type stuff and he landed a very, very nice job with the NSA. According to him, he is always learning incredibly difficult math for his job. He was definitely bound for a technically demanding career from what I remember of him in school. When I worked in computational physics, I would always have to deal with tricky math but unfortunately I was never the one coming up with it. I would just use it and code it. Almost all of the "creating" is done by PhD's in those type of jobs.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook