Career outlook

A degree in mathematics

Mathematics is a powerful tool with many applications. Advanced mathematical training can lead to many career opportunities, including business, finance, medicine, engineering, basic sciences and actuary science.

At the same time, mathematics is a self-contained subject that is worth studying simply for its elegance. The study of mathematics can bring a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Mathematics is an ideal subject for people who enjoy abstract thinking.

Career options in mathematics, education, business, science and many others are available upon completion. Going on to a graduate degree opens up even more options for those who choose to pursue it.

Transferable skills

A mathematics degree offers:

  • Mathematical modeling
  • Analytical skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • Critical thinking skills

Some careers in mathematics

Career Median salary Market growth
Actuary $97,000  18%
Biostatistics $76,000  14% 
Mathematician (M.S. degree) $111,000  21% 
Operations Research Analyst $77,000  30% 
Statistician $80,000  34% 
Postsecondary Teacher $72,000  13%

Students who earn degrees in mathematics pursue diverse careers. The American Mathematical Society sponsors a wealth of information for students who are contemplating how mathematics will fit into their future.

Career possibilities for mathematics majors include:

  • Professional graduate schools, including law schools and medical schools, look favorably on applications from mathematics students
  • Engineers and computer programmers need strong mathematical tools in order to do their jobs
  • Statisticians are employed in both the public and private sectors in positions which require data analysis
  • Actuaries provide statistical analysis for insurance companies and other large organizations
  • Mathematics teachers are in great demand at grade schools, high schools, and community colleges
  • Business managers frequently have a strong mathematical background. Mathematics trains people to make careful analytical decisions

Careers when paired with minors or majors

Career Median salary Market growth
Computer Programmer $80,000  -8%
Financial Analyst $80,000  12% 
Market Research Analyst $62,000  19% 
Survey Research $54,000  12% 

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

Graduate study

There are many opportunities in graduate study in the sciences and engineering for students with strong mathematical skills. Faculty in the sciences and engineering are always looking for mathematically trained students, even if those students don't yet have a strong background in science or engineering.

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

Notable people with a mathematics major

  • Steve Ballmer (Former CEO, Microsoft Corporation, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Mary E. Erdoes (CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase)
  • Eileen Collins (First female pilot and commander of a space shuttle)
  • David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs center guard)
  • Danica McKellar (Actress and author)
  • Reed Hastings (Entrepreneur and philanthropist)
  • Felicia Day (Actress, producer, screenwriter, singer and writer)
  • Marie Curie (First woman to win a Nobel Prize)
  • Art Garfunkel (Singer and songwriter)
  • William Perry (Former Secretary of Defense)