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 How marketable is a BS in Applied Mathematics degree?

  1. Nov 7, 2011 #1
    Out of curiosity, what jobs could someone with a BS in applied mathematics apply for with a reasonable chance of getting? Additional skillsets would be programming....

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2011 #2
    The conclusion I have come to is that it is something more of an intellectual foundation and/or more certifications or a grad degree is required to have a more professional options/potential?

    Can anyone confirm....or offer any knowledge....or feedback..

    I fear my question was insufficient and/or shallow.
  4. Nov 8, 2011 #3
    The BS isn't marketable. The skills you picked up in the process are marketable. Programming is good, but it depends on whether you can convince an employer you can apply it.

    Degrees aren't marketable. Skills are.
  5. Nov 8, 2011 #4
    It is marketable in the sense that when submitting your application, employers looking for analytical ability (finance, consulting, engineering, etc) will see your degree, say "ok, no issues here", and continue reading the rest of your resume.
  6. Nov 8, 2011 #5
    Sure. In that sense, Applied Mathematics is arguably the most marketable degree you could ever ask for.
  7. Nov 8, 2011 #6
    I more or less agree, though I'm not really one for superlatives. To look at the issue more objectively, you could turn to the job outlook report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. You have to pay for a copy, but the gist of it is summarized by various news outlets reporting on it. (one source: http://www.schools.com/articles/nace-ranks-most-in-demand-majors-and-lucrative-degrees-2011.html )

    The most marketable majors (both in terms of compensation and number of firms hiring) are those in engineering (applied math, basically) and finance/accounting.

    In otherwords, strong quantitative and analytical skills are valued.
  8. Nov 9, 2011 #7
    This is somewhat unrelated but this semester has made me hate the applied math department at my school. My DE/LA class is the biggest plug and chug class ever, I learned much more from the pure math department. The applied math classes have programming projects but the programming is the least of your concerns because you spend so much time trying to figure out what the math is really saying after having poor explanations and problem sets. I'll get some skills from this class but it's not math skills. I could see a cross of CS and Math being pretty useful in terms of understanding and skills but only when they are separated. If they are combined early on then one will cave and unfortunately, in my case, it's the math. Maybe things change at the grad level, and I hope so for your sake.

    I agree with Locrian that skills make the degree and with that said I'm convinced that an engineering degree will give you more than enough skills, including working in teams. I've also considered applied math before but an engineering degree will teach enough "applied math" for my taste. What are your reasons for wanting to go into applied math? What do you want to do with the degree?
  9. Nov 10, 2011 #8
    I would like to apply to to the social sciences, my greatest interest being economics. Thomas Schelling modeled many social phenomenon, such as, segregation through mathematical algorithms. I found some of his work namely this one very inspiring to me, I'm hoping to model similar phenomena.


    Also agent-based modelling and predictive modelling is something that is attractive to me. My original post question, however, is more of a practical question.
  10. Nov 11, 2011 #9
    Yeah, but that doesn't really reflect as much on the department as it does on that subject in general! That class is plug and chug EVERYWHERE. It's really just the nature of a first course in Diff Eq. The theory behind much of it is just a little too advanced for the flocks of aspiring engineers and applied scientists who have to take that course. Not to say it's above their head, just that they have no need to learn it. So the course is really just a cookbook of techniques.

    Having at least some sort of clue how to solve differential equations is important to basically any scientist. Understanding why those techniques work is not. The course is more of a survey than a rigorous introduction. You need prerequisites in Real Analysis and Algebra to understand the theory. For instance, just the basic existence theorem for ODE's relies on the contraction mapping principle. And to really understand contraction mapping, you need to understand compactness, completeness, Cauchy sequences, etc.etc.etc.....
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook