Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Math major future.

  1. Jul 23, 2005 #1
    i just want to ask any math major ppl in here. What kind of job position are you holding and how much are you making. I am at the stage where i want to major in math but i am looking for stable incoming throughout my whole life. Engineering sounds more stable than mathematic major to me... So i want to hear experience, advise and opinion from elders. Thank you.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2005 #2
    engineering isnt as stable as being a Math Ph.D (which you probably are striving for). correct me if im wrong, but you probably need to go to grad school to do anything significant money wise with mathematics. most likely, being a professor or researcher, which is a pretty safe and steady job. when do you hear of professors being fired? and they make in the 75k+ range.

    engineering has easier job placements sure, but there are also more engineers
  4. Jul 23, 2005 #3
    i cant be teacher due to my horrible english (i am a forigen student).
    what do researcher do? i am always told that i am most likely to be researcher, but i have no idea what they really do.
  5. Jul 23, 2005 #4
    well for engineering i believe there are a good amount of R&D companies (research and development) and you can probably also work at a National Labratory which is great for your resume (you probably need a Visa or citizenship)

    and mathematics, believe me, there are many professors who do not have good english. if you want to research mathematics badly enough, you can pick up the english language. my linear algebra professor could barely speak english, and she only has a masters and she's teaching undergrad mathematics courses

    basically, i believe, if you want it bad enough, you will achieve it.

    good luck with everything!
  6. Jul 23, 2005 #5
    Oh my god, a math prof who only has a masters and can barely speak english and is teaching linear algebra? That depresses me :(.

    You can also do math research in industry, at places like IBM and Microsoft. Industry obvoiusly has less positions, but you make more on average, I believe.
  7. Jul 23, 2005 #6
    the thing that really angered me, literally angered me, she taught straight out of the textbook. i still went to class everyday, but its annoying to see such a lazy unmotivated bum teaching. and her CV is actually pretty impressive.
  8. Jul 23, 2005 #7
    I have not graduated yet but I am a math major. I know what you mean about engineering sounding more stable. Alot of my friends are engineers and they are always talking about how much money they will make when they graduate. With just a bachelors in math I don't think it is that easy to get a job. If you are certain you want to work in industry and you are sure that is what you want then maybe something else like engineering is better. I plan to get at least a masters degree and teach at the community college level because I like math and I like helping others with math. That's me though, you have to find what you enjoy and decide what kind of job you would like to do. Finding out what you really want to do is not easy. Good luck.
  9. Jul 23, 2005 #8
    I hate to break your bubble eratosthenes, but i have heard it is very difficult to get just a master's degree in math. very few schools will want to invest time in a student who does not want to research and eventually write a thesis. you will also find it very difficult to get paid for going to school and getting a master's.

    i know you didn't say you'd "definitely" not get a phd, but even a consideration of a master's should warrant this knowledge.
  10. Jul 23, 2005 #9
    Hey thanks for reply. I agree with everything you say.
  11. Jul 24, 2005 #10
    i MIGHT get a PhD degree. And that actually brings up one more question. How long does a PhD degree take on average? I am planning to get a master since my school offering 5 years master and i have 22+ college hours to start with (i can probably finish the whole plan in 4 years if i work hard enough). I have been considering the work and result for getting a PhD.\

    i have been somewhat "TA" in my high school due to some teachers, plus i like teaching math but only to the kid who is fast enough to stay with me. And i dont want to due with student behavior because i am not good at that, so when i think of teaching other, i think teaching anything above high school will be nice ( of course i have to improve my english).
  12. Jul 24, 2005 #11
    On average, a phd will take you 5 years. BUT every program is different, and some may expect you to finish in 4 or even 3 years: you should make sure, before you choose a program to go into, how long they expect or want their graduate students to be hanging around :).

    Your school is offering a 5 year master program--in what? Usually I only see programs like these for MBA's or maybe like applied math, I'm not completely sure.

    and i'm not sure what you meant by your last paragraph, leon, but if you get a phd you will not be teaching at the high school level.
  13. Jul 24, 2005 #12
    here is my degree plan
    5 years master program is offered in any kind of math i believe, i will get to know more in orientation. And wondering if PhD is a must?
  14. Jul 25, 2005 #13

    matt grime

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    and if she didn't teach from the text book another student wuld complain because they felt she wasn't teaching them what they ought to know. trust me, i've had studetn evaluations from students in the same class saying that i was teachign too closely to the book and simlutaneously not teaching from the book at all. you may find that the tacher as new to the course adn wanted to be safe because the penalty for complaints that she didn't teach the required material are far more damaging than you being upset she taught from the book. perhaps she was teaching a multiclass course (ie one with a shared final for several classes) that proscribed her from teaching what she wanted to and how she wanted. imagine if you spoke to another student in the same course with a diffferent teacher and found out you were doing different things. what would you think then?

    i agree teaching from a text directly is not good, but with all things considered that is the choice that the very structure of the system often forces teachers into, especially if they're new and trying to find out how the system works. it takes a while to figure that out, not least when you consider that this person is not a formally trained teacher as you were used to in highschool.

    "lazy and unmotivated bum"? please, don't resort to such ad hominem attacks. any chance you had of convincing me you were a good maltreated student just vanished. she was far more worried about other things than whether you think she should be Robin Williams in Dead Poets. taeching mathematics is difficult since it all seems very easy when you master it, and remember that a good mathemtician wuold have found the material you're talking abuot very easy and can't see what the fuss is all about.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
  15. Jul 25, 2005 #14
    she was teaching 1 class at the time

    she didnt cover everything she had to, eg the course description. she got to maybe 85% of it

    towards the end of the semester, maybe 6-10 kids showed up everyday, half of them left in the middle of class. and in order to make sure she didnt get all failings for the final, she made her final almost exactly like the practice finals.

    she routinely lost homeworks, i had to resubmit homeworks, literally do them all over again. i mean, its not a big deal, i understood the material and i covered the rest of the course description after the semester was over, but its just BS that i had to redo 5 homeworks because she lost them. and it wasn't she lost all 5 at the same time, she lost 5 different homework assignment, on the week.

    i did speak to another student in another section of applied linear algebra, yes applied. guess what, i never did 1 problem where i had to apply any linear algebra. i honestly didnt really have a clue how it is used exactly. i knew with differential equations determinanents are used, but what else. i dunno.

    so if you want to defend her, that is your perogative. i know what i saw.

    anyway, this is totally off topic. but if you still think that this professor is a good professor, or even an average one.

    where do you get off saying this:
    any chance you had of convincing me you were a good maltreated student just vanished. she was far more worried about other things than whether you think she should be Robin Williams in Dead Poets.

    how snobby is that? when did i ever say i was a good student?

    if you are a professor and you have more pressing issues than teaching, DONT TEACH.

    and when did i say she had to make the material come to life?

    the course was APPLIED linear algebra. sure I learned a good amount of theory. but NOT ONE application. NOT ONE. not one circuit network application, not one how determinanents apply to geometry. none. i had to learn a lot of it on my own this last month.

    say whatever you want to say, because in the end, you have more sway here, you have more experience and maybe it's foolish of me to expect "great" teaching. but, losing homeworks, not being in her office hours half the time, just issues upon issue.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
  16. Jul 25, 2005 #15
    again this is off topic, but the gall of you.

    when did i ever say i had a problem with the course?! i never did. i got an A in the course, i had a 115 cumulative average.

    yeah a good mathematician would have found the material very easy and not have fussed, but guess what? she is responsible for 60 students learning the material, not just the one good mathematician.

    i appreciate you trying to throw me some insults, thats shows a lot of character
  17. Jul 25, 2005 #16

    matt grime

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    i will have to fill in the blanks here. are you at a university and is she a PhD student teaching you, or is this a community college?

    oh dear. i didn't say she was a great teacher. i said teaching well is hard. nor did i insult you (i did not imply you were or were not a good student in the academic sense, good has more than one meaning of obtaining high marks) . i said that leaping from the assertion "she essentially read from the book" to "she is a lazy unmotivated bum" is uinwarranted.

    for what it's worth, if she is indeed a PhD student at a University teaching undergraduates, students have no option abuot teaching (or what they teach or to whom) if they are PhD students (this isn't clear) and cannot opt out of it unless they have a fellowship or other money to sponsor them. Universities treat their (untrained as teachers) students as general dogsbodies. until you've been there and done that i think you shuold cut her some slack. beleive me there is little we would like more than to not have to teach elementary mathematics to engineers (again not something aimed at you directly since you seem very sensitive).

    moreover she isn't a professor (of research) if she only has a masters. a professor is a fully tenured member of the research staff. apparently she doesn't have a PhD.

    if this is a community college then i would need to know more information.

    you have also missed the point about there being other sections. i meant that if there were more classes taught by other people doing the same exam then she is severly limited in the freedom she has to teach as she wishes.

    i also agreed that teaching directly from a text book is bad, but sometimes unavoidable.

    i think that perhaps you think when i refer to a "good student" finding it easy that you think i am insulting your abilities. i apologise if you misread it like that. i meant that she would have been a good student and found it easy and as such it is hard to teach. the best teachers are not often those who found the material facile.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
  18. Jul 25, 2005 #17
    i appreciate the candid response

    she recieved her Ph.D at the end of 2004 according to her CV. i go to a 4 year university
  19. Jul 25, 2005 #18

    matt grime

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    right, then she is post doc or nontenure track associate professor. she will be required to teach and has no option in it, and almost surely no desire to teach you as much as you have no desire to be taught by her. the "plum" tasks of teaching "300 level" ie math major and higher as well as honors students will be taken by the tenured faculty.

    why did you say "she has only a masters" or was this a different teacher?
  20. Jul 27, 2005 #19
    Can anybody be a Math major?
  21. Jul 29, 2005 #20
    Really good question.... I want to know the answer too...
    i am not good at math in my deep. i was forced to be good at math.

    +the thread is out of topic now....
    so what does researcher really do? create a simulation function for specific situation?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook