Master’s in Mathematics

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Congratulations! You’ve finally finished your undergraduate studies and now have a bachelor’s degree to show for it. From this point forward, you can check off that box on every job application that asks for your college degree. Many people may have you believe that by simply being able to do that, you place yourself and your resume at the front of the line for each position you apply for. However, you may quickly discover that many of those with whom you’re competing for jobs also have the same qualifications. Thus, while your undergraduate degree will certainly open new doors for you, it may also only serve to level the playing field with the rest of your competition.

So how can you stand out from the rest? Consider the benefits that furthering your education may offer you. If your future career path involves analytics, engineering, economics, or any of the physical sciences, a master’s degree in mathematics may be just the tool that you need to place yourself at the front of the job line. Mathematics is one of the few academic disciplines that can be applied across most fields; showing prospective employers that you have a mastery of it will go far in earning you their respect, consideration, and hopefully, job approval.

What is a Master’s Program in Mathematics?

A graduate degree in mathematics helps you to learn the principles needed to use advanced numeric formulas to help solve real-world problems. Remember all of those practical applications they spoke about in your undergraduate math programs? Here is where you develop the fundamental knowledge needed to apply them in different scenarios.

The prospect of seeking an advanced degree in a field as complex as math may seem daunting, yet it shouldn’t be. If you’re at least considering the idea, then it shows that you’re adept enough at math to tackle the coursework that you would encounter in a graduate mathematics program. Did your undergraduate studies not highlight mathematics? Not to worry; your standard college coursework was likely enough to provide you with the foundation you need in algebra and geometry. While your graduate course curriculum will go deeper into other areas such as calculus, differential equations, and abstract and linear algebra, you can easily introduce yourself to these concepts by taking leveling coursework prior to applying for your graduate program. Talk to the academic advisors with the programs that you are considering to see what they recommend you to do to prepare yourself.

Once you get into your mathematics graduate program, you’ll quickly see topics and philosophies begin to be grouped into two general categories:

  • Theoretical Mathematics: Also known as pure mathematics, theoretical math is primarily concerned with abstract concepts. All of the numerical formulas used in real-world applications started with theoretical mathematicians developing theories based on the intrinsic nature of various philosophies. Here, your focus is much more on the why as opposed to the how.  
  • Applied Mathematics: As the name implies, applied mathematics is where mathematical models are analysed and manipulated for practical uses in the science, medical, engineering, and financial industries (just to name a few). Your studies in this field will often branch off into other disciplines to help you develop the specialised knowledge needed to see how math applies to industry-specific scenarios.

What Are the Benefits of Taking a Master's degree in Mathematics?

You’ve just completed four to five grueling years of undergraduate work; why would you want to sign yourself up for at least two more? To answer this, you need to go back to the introductory scenario; what if you find the field in which you wish to work saturated with candidates who also possess similar skills and qualifications? It’s only by advancing your own skill set that you’re able to give yourself a leg up in the job search. The more letters you’re able to place after your name, the better your chances are at landing the job that you covet.

Yet a more impressive resume is not the only reason to consider a master’s in mathematics. Think of the statement you’re making to employers by showing them such an achievement. It speaks to your ambition, your drive, determination to excel, and your overall work ethic. Those who’ve demonstrated such skills in the past typically will command a higher salary in order to secure their services.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect with a Master’s degree in Mathematics?

With a master’s degree in mathematics in hand, you’ll find yourself capable of pursuing any number of career opportunities, including:

  • Statistical Analysis: Private sector employers such as financial institutions, healthcare organisations, and professional corporations along with government agencies place great value in predictive modeling. Statisticians are able to take data and use it to determine probabilities, allowing their employers to make decisions regarding the future based on what their analysis provides.
  • Actuarial Science: Using financial statistics to determine probable outcomes is a skill greatly coveted by the insurance industry. An actuary takes all available data and uses it to assess what the financial cost to a provider would be based upon and the risk that a potential policy holder presents. Due to their abilities to save insurance companies millions in claims, actuaries are often in high demand, and are well-compensated.
  • Teaching: If you want to help prepare the next generation of executives, doctors, scientists, and engineers, then you may find a career in teaching mathematics at the primary, secondary, or post-secondary levels very rewarding.

As you can see, a Master’s in Mathematics can be the key to opening countless doors in your future.