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2021 Applied Mathematics Degree Guide

Contrary to the popular belief of bored high school students, math is useful in the real world! Applied Mathematics is the study of mathematical formulas and statistics that are used in everyday life.

The broad groundwork of mathematical skills you obtain from this major will be useful for a variety of careers. In addition to math classes, students will take statistics, computer science and physics. Some of the material you learn can be applied to engineering. Classes that you may take will be numerical analysis, optimization theory, calculus, computer science, differential equations, linear algebra, physics, numerical analysis, and systems design.

Concentrations in this major include: Computational Mathematics; Computational and Applied Mathematics; Financial Mathematics; and Mathematical Biology.

A Spike in Applied Mathematics Degrees

#83 Most Popular Major
9.6k Degrees Awarded
11.1% Increase in Graduates

Applied Mathematics was the 83rd most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 9,625 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 11.1% increase in applied math degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 8,560.

The United States has 198 different schools where you can get a degree in applied mathematics. This year's Best Colleges for Applied Mathematics ranking compares 23 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom applied math rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Applied Mathematics

This is a great major for students who are passionate about math and ready to create mathematical models to answer difficult questions. Your courses will include lectures along with labs and computer-based classes. In order to be successful, you will need to think logically and critically. In labs, cooperative learning will take place. Working with your peers, listening to their perspectives and then adding your own input will be critical. You will develop your skills through collaborating with others.

Although math is your primary focus, writing skills will also be helpful. You will need to write clearly as you complete lab report and develop proofs. Students will learn to make connections between their classes as they use mathematical formulas and abstract concepts to form real-world solutions.

Applied Math Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most applied math degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Once you obtain your degree, additional applied math certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Applied Mathematics Degree Types

There are various different levels of applied math degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in applied mathematics to something that takes less time like a associate's. How long it takes to complete some common applied math degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to applied math, with approximately 36.4% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for applied math workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.2%
Master’s Degree 29.0%
Doctoral Degree 20.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 6.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 5.5%

57.2% of applied math workers have at least a master's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in applied mathematics careers have.


This of course varies depending on which applied math career you choose.

Applied Math Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$55.5k Average Starting Salary
12% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

With strong mathematical skills, you will be prepared to work in a multitude of careers. Many graduates go into computer science and software development. Other career options are statistician, auditor, mathematician or actuary. You could also go into physics or engineering. Due to their practical knowledge, many graduates find work in the financial field as bankers, financial analysts or advisors. Some of these career options may require additional education.

Solid Growth Projected for Applied Math Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your applied math degree? Applied Mathematics careers are expected to grow 11.8% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to applied mathematics.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Financial Analysts 328,200 10.8%
Financial Specialists 149,000 9.6%
Mathematical Science Professors 66,600 9.4%
Natural Sciences Managers 62,300 9.9%
Statisticians 49,800 33.9%

How Much Money Do Applied Math Grads Make?

Applied Mathematics graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $55,528 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $29,100 to as high as $91,700. As you might expect, salaries for applied math graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Applied Math Careers

Salaries for applied mathematics graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers applied math grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers $139,680
Actuaries $116,250
Economists $116,020
Mathematicians $104,870
Financial Analysts $100,990

Getting Your Applied Mathematics Degree

With over 681 different applied math degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased applied math school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics is one of 3 different types of Mathematics & Statistics programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mathematics 30,684
Statistics 8,953
Other Statistics 486

View All Applied Math Related Majors >


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