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Majoring in mathematics?

  1. Apr 12, 2013 #1
    I really like math and I want to major in it.
    I want to hopefully get a masters in math. But I want to know what is it like?
    Do any of you here have a masters or at least have an idea of the course?
    I heard getting a masters is a lot of independent research.
    How is that different from a phd?
    And do you learn any new Math compared to a bachelors degree in mathematics? Or do you just get deeper into math concepts you already learned in the bachelors program?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2013 #2


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    A master's degree typically takes one or two years and includes more advanced course work and, most commonly, writing a "thesis" (a paper about mathematics). A Ph.D. typically take three to five years and includes yet ore advanced course work and, most importantly, writing a "dissertation", which requires original research.
  4. Apr 12, 2013 #3
    The dream is the career not the education.

    Why do you want to be a mathematician?
  5. Apr 12, 2013 #4
    I want to double major.
    A bachelors in computer science and mathematics. Then go to grad school for mathematics so I have a strong math background so I can be a cryptanalyst.
  6. Apr 12, 2013 #5
    You should just focus on a math degree with and take some computer science courses. Math is very satisfying and I'm sure if you focused on it you could do what you want to do.

    It's good that you're planning ahead, but since you have so far too go, perhaps you should start with math and wait to see where it takes you definitively.
  7. Apr 12, 2013 #6


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    Depends on the university. My PhD had no coursework component, i.e. 100% dissertation.
  8. Apr 12, 2013 #7
    what do you mean by focus just on math? Dont do a double major?
  9. Apr 13, 2013 #8
    I just meant to say that perhaps you should start the curriculums with a focus on mathematics. Then, see whether you want to double major or major in mathematics or major in botany (and become a marijuana cultivator).

    It's good to have these goals, but always keep consideration that you may want to change them after some quality
    college-exposure time.
  10. Apr 15, 2013 #9
    Basically, there are two types of math if you will, applied and theoretical mathematics. Computer science uses more of discrete mathematics and numerical approximations while more traditional mathematics is more about proofs and theorems. It is not that one is better than the other, it is just a matter of what you prefer (proofs or applications).
  11. Apr 15, 2013 #10


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    My advice is to go to the university and ask them on course advice. This is a common thing to do and a lot of majors (especially the technical ones) benefit from this.

    Also you should be searching blogs and websites for advice on specific cryptography/cryptanalysis work like the NSA, RSA labs, etc to get an idea of what is required and what kind of schools/coursework to get into.

    Google is your friend.
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