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2020 Mathematics Degree Guide

If you speak the language of numbers and theories, General Mathematics may be a great major for you. This major will allow you to work many different formulas, theories, quantities, logic, symbols, abstract concepts, and numbers.

It should not be surprising to you that your classes will involve a lot of math. This broad exposure will help you develop your strengths and discover your interests. You will have the opportunity to specialize in algebra and number theory. Here you will learn about the properties of integers and how to use equations, vectors, and matrices. Another are you will explore Euclidean (straight lines and angles) and non-Euclidean geometry (curved surfaces). Classes in analysis and function will teach you about dynamic systems and equations, functions and solutions.

Courses may vary depending on your college but some of the most common are algebra, geometry, history of mathematics, differential equations, statistics, calculus, number theory, and real analysis.

Concentrations in this major include: Algebra and Number Theory, Analysis and Functional Analysis, Geometry, and Topology and Foundations.

A Spike in Mathematics Degrees

#42 Most Popular Major
29.9k Degrees Awarded
4.2% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, mathematics was the 42nd most popular major nationwide with 29,945 degrees awarded. This represents a 4.2% increase in math degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 28,687.

There are 1,171 schools offering degrees in mathematics in the United States. Our 2020 Best Colleges for Mathematics ranking analyzes 475 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for mathematics students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of math programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Mathematics

Clearly, students should have a strong interest in math. You will spend many hours solving mathematical problems, memorizing formulas and working on proofs. Critical thinking skills are necessary in order to identify, analyze, and apply mathematic principles to the equations you are working on. The basic knowledge you gain in your classes will help you think creatively to devise new solutions to difficult problems.

You should be a self-motivated learner who can work independently. However, don't neglect interpersonal skills as well; they will come into play when completing group projects or working with partners.

Mathematics contains a lot of trial and error. You may get the answer to a problem wrong many times before you finally get the right answer. Persistence and dedication will aid you in your studies.

Although you will be mostly focused on math, writing is also an important skill to develop. Students should work on writing clearly and concisely to make complex issues easy to understand for the average reader. Writing skills will also aid you when applying for jobs.

Getting Accepted Into a Mathematics Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic mathematics program qualifications, to serve in some math careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Mathematics Degrees

Math degree levels vary. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in mathematics to something that takes less time like a first year certificate. How long it takes to complete some common 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 master's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to math, with approximately 37.4% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to math tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 35.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 28.7%
Doctoral Degree 23.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 5.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 4.1%

67.4% of math workers have at least a master's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in mathematics have received.


The education level required is different depending on the math career you are seeking.

Math Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$44.1k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in mathematics will allow you to have several different career paths. Some graduates become certified to teach high school math, or go on to become a math professor. You may also get your Master's degree in mathematics or statistics allowing you to become a professional statistician or mathematician.

Graduates who want to go straight into the career field find often find work in the financial industry or business. You could become an actuary analyzing financial costs of risks, or you could work as an operations research analyst. Graduates also find work as a financial advisor for a business or for individuals.

Solid Growth Projected for Math Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your math degree? Mathematics careers are expected to grow 8.6% between 2016 and 2026.

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

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
High School Teachers 1,095,500 7.5%
Mathematical Science Professors 66,600 9.4%
Natural Sciences Managers 62,300 9.9%
Statisticians 49,800 33.9%
Mathematicians 4,000 29.0%

Math Degree Salary Potential

Mathematics graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $44,066 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $23,700 to as high as $120,300. As you might expect, salaries for math graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Math Majors

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

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers $139,680
Mathematicians $104,870
Statisticians $92,600
Mathematical Science Professors $87,140
High School Teachers $64,340

Getting Your Mathematics Degree

With over 2,689 different 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 math school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Mathematics

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

Related Major Annual Graduates
Applied Mathematics 8,560
Statistics 8,180
Other Statistics 453

View All Math Related Majors >


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