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Is bachelor in maths useless?

  1. Jan 11, 2012 #1
    Im currently a first year student in a bachelors in Maths and in Physics and im wondering if this course is worth it. Can i get a good, well-paid job after this course? However, im not interested in teaching or becoming a professor. Would i be able to work in the financial sector? Or would i need to take a separate course for that?

    There is also a Mechanical Engineering course i can take in my University, but im not too sure ill like it, because im not really keen on working in industry or with machines. and building machines. I see it as "dirty" work.

    Then theres architecture. Recently my university has split the course into 6 years. The first year is a diploma in design studies, another 3 years on a bachelor in Built Environment and then a final 2 years specialising in either architecture, or sturctural engineering. For this course, would you need to be creative and love making models? Is there a lot of math involved?

    Im not sure i like any of these things, what im sure of is that i like Maths and physics, i spent most of my scholastic years solving math and physics problems and not building models or appreciating the arts so I dont know if id like any of these things.

    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2012 #2
    If you don't know what you want, who would?
  4. Jan 12, 2012 #3


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    Hey bernvall and welcome to the forums.

    You should realize that one factor of high pay is high expertise in a specialized field. There are other ones like barriers to entry, level of responsibility, unpopular or dangerous jobs (like working on an offshore oil rig) but I won't get into those.

    You can get experience in a specialized field in many ways and in many fields, but this will take a very long time post university-time. It's important that you be aware of this so that you make a more well-informed decision regarding your future.

    From the sounds of your post you may want to consider maths and physics if you are only in it for the money.

    It sounds like your an Australian attended UNSW, so if thats true you should realize that here, many different industries have people that earn a good income. This includes the 24 hour plumbers that earn 300+ dollars for a callout fixing a leaking tap (I'm serious).

    Also be aware that, for the most part, a job is a job. It has crap that won't be interesting and you will need to do lots of stuff that isn't "enlightening".

    If you haven't worked in a job before, maybe you should do a stint. You'll find out what its like to bust your arse for barely nothing at all and you will appreciate the opportunity to work in an office, even if you have to do paperwork.
  5. Jan 13, 2012 #4
    Actually im living and studying in Malta.
    Yes, yes i am aware of the fact that every job has its advantages and disadvantages, that you may find some things boring, whilst others interesting, but thats life I suppose. What worries me is if I can find a job with a BSc maths and physics course in teh first place, since its a very general course and ur not really specialising in anything. I know it may be stupid that a person who has a degree in maths and physics is unemployed but i dont know any people who have graduated in this course, and hence thats why I am worried

    What i'd want is some people who have a degree in maths or physics to tell me what they did.

  6. Jan 13, 2012 #5
    It seems like you should first consider what kind of job you want and how good you are at what you do. There are some companies that have big research facilities and I think they pay pretty well for mathmaticians and physicists. But you would probably need a masters degree at least.

    In mathematics some people go into econometrics which pays very well, although it's probably a but dull.
  7. Jan 13, 2012 #6
    Here's my take from an engineering major prospective. I've met a lot of different majors through my classes and an overwhelming majority of the math and physics kids don't really know what they want to do for a career so they figure I'll get this degree then see what happens. The engineering kids, OTOH, at least have an idea of what they want to do and pick specializations related to their interests. Then from these specialization classes they gain some type of familiarity with a related job in that field, it's obvious this is important for resumes, interviews, contacts, etc.

    I really think that a math or physics degree can be very competitive for jobs but they would have to gain specific skills from either classes or work experience to boost their resumes. I envy those that major in math and physics because I would love to but I've found my interests revolve around EE things. I do plan on taking some upper level math or physics classes on the side to fulfill my curiosity. Good luck on your decision I know it's a hard one.
  8. Jan 13, 2012 #7


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    Ok no worries.

    One thing you should know about many technical degrees (and degrees in general to a large extent) is that there is no simple way to say 'these degrees end up in only these jobs and those degrees end up in those jobs'. Especially when you are talking about degrees like physics and mathematics, you could end up in anything from technical sales to a more traditional role.

    There are a few things I can think off the top of my head that would be handy in getting a job.

    One is programming: programming skills are a great thing to have in some capacity (many technical degrees like mathematics/physics/engineering require that you do some programming).

    The second is any kind of report writing, preferably if you have to write for someone that isn't a technical expert: you find these kinds of things in applied mathematics subjects, statistics subjects and engineering subjects. In fact, any course where you do this kind of communication whether its a presentation, oral report, or written report: I recommend you do it because this is what many technical people do in the real world for businesses: the need advice that they can understand and use.

    The third is any kind of project work of any kind, no matter how small it is. It may be a semester long project, it may be a year long thesis. Projects say amongst other things that you can stick at something and that is a good attribute to have.

    I don't know about the opportunities or the industries in malta, but I intended the advice to be general advice for technical, knowledge based jobs that draw on scientific backgrounds and hopefully you can make use of it.
  9. Jan 13, 2012 #8
    Just make sure you supplement your education with a lot of computer science, programming, and statistical training, it will definitely aid in your job quest. Learn a programming language such as R and C. Maybe minor in something like economics or finance as well. Hardly any company out there is going to hire anyone to do pure mathematics outside of academia.
  10. Jan 13, 2012 #9
    Yes in fact in the first semester we have a small study unit of programming, however its only Pascal, nothing major and we didnt learn much besides the basics: like loops, procedures functions etc. I dont know about other years but im not so sure well do much more programming. Probably you would have to take the programming course to get into that, im not sure. (Maybe after i finish my Bsc ill do a small course on programming)

    Also, in the second semester ill be doing report writing so thats not a problem and im sure its not hard :P

    and about statistics....well in my university you have a choice of BSc's to choose 1 or 2. I chose maths and physics. There was also statistics but since ive been doing phyiscs for so long and got very good grades in my Alevel i decided to choose it. So im not sure if ill do any statistics classes. But im sure the things we do in math and physics would be practically the same as statistics...coz ud be basically using the same ideas but applying it in a different area.
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