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Math Worth of doing pure math if not going into academia?

  1. Feb 13, 2017 #1
    Is it worth doing pure math if you're not going into academia? Would it be a bad idea to get your bachelors in pure math and stop there? Is pure math just something for people who want to go on to grad school?

    I'm just not sure if there are good job prospects for someone with a bachelors in pure math, I feel like applied math or statistics heavy stuff is usually the way to go, but if I choose this route I may miss out on some interesting topics like analysis, algebra, and topology. Anyone have any insight into this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2017 #2


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    My two cents:
    If you major in pure math and do not go to graduate school, it is likely to become just an interesting hobby for you. It's nice to use your degree subject in a job. If you think you may be interested in applied math and statistics, I would recommend that you pursue that.

    PS. Pay attention to the computer tools that help you apply your math and statistics.
  4. Feb 13, 2017 #3
    What are your thoughts on actuarial science? I feel like that'd be a really good math-based career.
  5. Feb 13, 2017 #4


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    Then why not major in that from the very beginning?

  6. Feb 13, 2017 #5
    My school actually offers that, but I've been told by many people that choosing to major in it pigeonholes you and pretty much screws you over if you end up not being an actuary. I was thinking about doing pure/ financial math instead of the actual actuary program (I also need help with choosing), but ultimately I do think I'd like to become an actuary. Here are the curriculums:

    -ActSci: https://math.osu.edu/sites/math.osu.edu/files/undergrad_current-majors_requirements_actuarial.pdf
    -Financial Mathematics: https://math.osu.edu/sites/math.osu.edu/files/undergrad_current-majors_requirements_financial.pdf
    -Theoretical Mathematics: https://math.osu.edu/sites/math.osu.edu/files/undergrad_current-majors_requirements_theoretical.pdf
  7. Feb 14, 2017 #6


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    I am a mathematician. I have been in research for my whole working life, but never as a mathematician. Being a mathematician though, has helped me enormously in my work, such as
    • Deciphering patent claims
    • Creating algorithms for transforming robot arm paths to robot motor positions
    • Finding faults in software
    Remember that one of the most important things you learn in advanced mathematics is to be skeptical to any "proof" you do not follow or do not agree with.
  8. Feb 14, 2017 #7


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    There is a long series of exams that you will need to pass to become a certified actuary (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuarial_credentialing_and_exams). The last ones are very tough. I know graduate students in math who did not pass the exams.

    There is a wide range of fields that are available to applied mathematicians and statisticians, including engineering, financial, operations research.
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