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Other Computational mathematics vs Applied Mathematics

  1. Jun 26, 2016 #1
    Hello PF community, I have a question about a choice that I need to make soon and I would like some opinions from the community. So I am double majoring in physics and applied mathematics at the moment, and I have been thinking about changing my second major to computational mathematics instead. The main reason I am doing this is because I would be exposed to more computer science classes which could help in landing a job after college. Another reason is because I have noticed that computational math gives you greater capabilities for doing things and solving problems (I have been learning Mathematica lately). In light of computational math, I am actually not too sure how applied mathematics is different or any better. What do you all think is a better career choice, which is more marketable? Some quick facts to help understand me better:
    1. Sometime in the not-so-distant future I may be open to pursuing a masters or a PhD in EE, physics, or math after working a bit.
    2. I wouldn't mind working as a quant or something related to finance/financial analysis at some firm after college.
    3. I also wouldn't mind working at the CIA, NSA or some government-intelligence job after college.
    4. Ideally, I would like to work for NASA out of college.
    5. I would like to work for a tech/energy/aero company out of college.
    6. I would like a high paying job and I believe extra CS classes could help with that. Specifically, I think the title of "Computational Mathematics" sounds more appealing as opposed to "Applied Mathematics" when it comes to employers, but I don't know for certain and would definitely like to know.
    Also, can someone give a good, solid distinction between the two? What is applied mathematics intended for and where is it intended to lead to, and what is computational mathematics for and where is it intended to lead to?

    Many thanks.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2016 #2


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    Education Advisor

    You're asking a broad question that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What would help is that you show us what courses are different between the computational route vs the applied.

    Lastly, on a resume if I read applied math or computational math, none of it matters to me.
  4. Jun 26, 2016 #3

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    The definitions of "computational mathematics major " and "applied mathematics major" will depend on the particular school that you attend. To get the best advice, you need to explain what specific courses are counted as credit for one major and not the other.

    Different countries have different university systems. Is this a question about degree programs in the USA ? UK ?
  5. Jul 10, 2016 #4
    It would depend on what you would like to do after graduation. I personally majored in computation mathematics and my course load was mostly scientific computing, numerical analysis, and statistics. There was also a lot of applied courses I took. If you want go straight in industry computational mathematics will give you an advantage. If you want to go to graduate school after graduation then applied math is your best bet. I hope this helps.
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