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Math Pursuing a career in Mathematics

  1. Apr 28, 2008 #1
    Hey there,

    I've searched through the topics to look for something that would help me, and while there were a few mentions here and there about the subject, there wasn't an actual concise post on it.

    I know I'm quite young and severely inexperienced to think about this, but that's why I'd like some advice from the veterans on here, since you all seem to be the mathematicians I one day hope to be.

    I'm currently just finishing my first year in undergraduate mathematics in a University in the UK. I truly love math and find it immensely interesting. I cannot count the times I've literally been in awe at some of the concepts and proofs I've met so far.

    I'm tending toward pure mathematics in general, but I know I have to keep my mind open especially at this stage. Regardless, I would like to stay in the academic/research ambit. I've tried figuring out some options of what would happen once I end this degree. I cannot bring myself to ask some of the staff in fear of sounding too ambitious or way over my head. But while the general message is: "oh with a math degree you can find a job anywhere", like I've said, I would like to stay close to purely maths concepts and ideas, rather than work in a bank or as a financial advisor of some sort.

    I'm worried about the job prospects, because I'm currently not working and don't intend to during my studies because I wish to give it my all during the next 3 years. But progressing as a mathematician (like any other job) requires a CV, and what will I have to show, just my degree? Surely that doesn't look very promising to prospective organisations that would support you for your PhD.

    I'd like to ask if any of you could perhaps give me a general idea of how to go about it. I've read some articles where some students are able to progress to a PhD in the absence of a Masters, right after their Bachelor. If so, what then? The lack of positions in this line of work and consequently its competition is quite daunting, and I'm afraid I won't be able to 'make the cut'.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2008 #2
    Dear Bleys,

    I was personally in almost the same situation as yours... But I love maths so no matter what the outcomes are I want to understand maths!!!

    I think if you want to succeed in your career you MUST choose what you really like.

    When it comes to money making problems... I think you have a loooonnngg time to think about it... I am now student of applied mathematics & I don't really have an idea about what the jobs will look like.

    I am sure if you really like mathematics you will be able to create the best possible career for yourself :)

    Wish you all the best
  4. Apr 29, 2008 #3
    This sounds like it could be an entry in the very informative thread found here:

    Read through some of it and you may find more information.

    I wish to let you know that ambition is not something to be fearful of. I highly doubt your professors will criticize you for planning ahead, remember you are at at university in part to figure out what you will do with your life. Why would they think it strange that you be curious about your path.

    Furthermore by talking of such things, you will find you have a lot in common with your professors. They love math, you love math. Talk with them, network, find out who would make a good advisor for a thesis.

    It sounds to me like you should pursue professorship at university. Go for your masters and PhD, and during your time you will write your dissertation. This unique contribution to mathematics will speak louder to employers (universities) than a CV or job experience will.

    Just remember the effort you put into it will pay out in the end.
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