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Math Will I be able to get a job with just an applied math BS?

  1. Sep 9, 2011 #1


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    I am quite certain I will not be going for a PhD, and after doing some research most job postings seem to be looking for PhD's in math.

    I am in my second year doing this applied mathematics degree, (It is actually even more focused "Computational Mathematics") but if my job prospects are slim I may need to cut and invest in something that is not a complete waste. I love the mathematics, but I am married and have two young kids I absolutely need to support.

    For example, is doing EE, CS, or even a Statistics degree going to be better than an applied math degree?

    Any thoughts are appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2011 #2
    I can only speak for my school. Here, the applied math department seems pretty good in terms of skill building. Those guys are practically CS majors that can also do higher math. Depending on the setting, I can see that being of value. The only problem is a lot of the applied math majors I've met don't really know what type of job they're planning on going for when they graduate.

    Engineering majors, on the other hand, seem to plan out their careers while in school. I have classmates in their 2nd year that know that they want to be an Embedded systems engineer or a RF engineer. Some of them don't know yet but seem like they should figure it out soon. The ones that know are tailoring their degrees to their interests so they can be strong candidates when they get out.

    Bottom line, it depends on your school and what you want to do. Go to the applied math adviser and ask what are their alumni are doing now. At my school, they have a ton of stats about alumni. Salaries, job titles, companies, etc. Obviously, this data doesn't mean you'll have the exact same results but it can at least give you an idea if your program is turning out software engineers or Starbucks baristas. Good luck.
  4. Sep 10, 2011 #3


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    Have you considered being an actuary? How comfortable are you with the business environment? The exam process is rough, but it's a career in which you'd get to "use" your math degree and earn a very respectable salary.

    Here's a website with more information: http://www.beanactuary.org/

    You should also have Google index this site, looking for "actuary," and pay special attention to posts made by Locrian or chiro. They've made some very informative posts about the actuarial profession.
  5. Sep 10, 2011 #4
    In U.S., defense contractors hire people with B.S. in applied math and physics. One possible area that they work in is simulation support. I know a number of people with B.S. Applied Math working in that area right after finishing their degrees. They work in analysis type of jobs (mainly developing scenario and configuration for simulation using existing software, not a lot of development that involve creativity). This of course is just one of the possible career options in defense.

    Keep in mind that it is highly possible that the future defense budget cut would greatly reduce the labor demand.

    One more thing, you could see some interesting math in engineering, especially in EE or ME in my opinion. So if you like math, you can give it a thought. I am not saying engineering is a better choice than math though.
  6. Sep 11, 2011 #5


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    Thanks for the posts and advice, I will be looking into my math departments data when I get a chance.
  7. Sep 11, 2011 #6
    I think everyone in our actuarial department has either a BS or MS in math - except me. It's probably the most common route to becoming an actuary, though certainly not the only one.
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