The study of mathematics was founded 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians. Of course, thanks to research and technology, the way we study and understand math is a lot different than the way they did back then. Mathematicians aim to understand data, numbers, and structures in order to make models, which in turn helps to make sense of the world we live in. Although many people may think that the math we learn in school will not be used in our everyday life, the reality is that without basic and complex mathematical discoveries we would not have all the advanced technology that we enjoy today.
An undergraduate degree in mathematics is a great first step to anyone interested in pursuing a math or science-related career. The curriculum typically consists of general education courses, computer science, advanced theories, and even sometimes opportunities to research with peers and faculty. To really get deeper in mathematics, however, one must continue their education on to the graduate or doctoral level. A Bachelor’s provides a solid foundation and understanding of the skills necessary to get a good first job. Read on to discover which program may be right for you.
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What type of bachelor’s in mathematics should you get?
The most common degree an undergraduate can earn for this major is either a Bachelor of Arts (known as a BA) or a Bachelor of Science (known as a BS). While some schools only offer one type of degree, many offer both. Generally, a BS requires a few more credit-hours and is more STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and research-focused. A BA follows a more liberal arts curriculum and may complement other fields. In addition, students interested in teaching should look into if the school offers a degree that includes a pathway for a teaching license. This curriculum will include core math subjects as well as education courses.
Interested to see what other similar degrees are out there? Check out our ranking of the best Math degrees in the nation.
How much money do people make with a bachelor’s in mathematics?
According to PayScale, the average salary for a person who holds a BA in mathematics is $72,000, while the average salary for a BS is $74,000. This does not take into account region, years of experience, or industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2017, the median pay of mathematicians and statisticians is $84,760. Statisticians and operations research analysts earn some of the highest figures in the industry.
What can you do with a bachelor’s in mathematics?
Although most people become a mathematician or statistician (whose jobs often require at least a master’s degree), an undergraduate degree in this major will prepare people for a variety of fields. These include but are not limited to technology, business, or economics. People in these fields who studied math may work in probability, computer science, or numerical analysis. Due to the increase of technology and the practicality of high-level mathematical techniques the job outlook for this field from 2016 to 2026 is expected to increase 33 percent.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s in mathematics?
Unlike other degrees, admission standards for an undergraduate mathematics degree are a little more test-focused. Generally, most schools want to see students take advanced-level math courses; if taking the Advanced Placement (AP) test, only scores of 4 or 5 are accepted for credit. When taking the ACT or SAT, a high math/science score is also highly encouraged. An applicant can also make him or herself stand out by taking additional math-related standardized test scores.
Not the best at test scores? Don’t have the highest GPA? Schools also look for candidates who have a well-rounded application, meaning participation in any clubs, leadership positions, or foreign language abilities can help one stand out. Getting a strong letter of recommendation (preferably from a math or science teacher) will also add credibility to your application.
See our rankings methodology page.
Wabash College was founded in 1832 in Indiana by a group of ambitious young men. As a private liberal arts school for men, its education system is modeled after the New England system. Currently, Wabash has almost 900 students enrolled, with the majority of students from in-state. About 99 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid.
Wabash’s undergraduate Mathematics degree is designed to steer students towards their specific interests and career goals. Graduates are encouraged to pursue teaching or further their education. Some interesting features include:
- REU or research experience for undergraduates, plus internship opportunities
- Join the Problem of the Fortnight, or bi-weekly problem-solving contest
- Sample Courses: Intro to Discrete Structures, Combinatorics, Topics in Differential Equations
The Mathematics department at Wabash has a long history of over 100 years. Teaching for this subject began in 1834.
Voted a “Best Value College” by the Princeton Review, Ohio Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts school located in Delaware. Since its founding, the campus is full of its rich traditions, such as having all entering students participate in a convocation ceremony at the beginning of the year. Currently, OWU ranks among the “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by the U.S. News & World Report, among other impressive recognition.
Graduates of OWU’s BA in Mathematics will be prepared to take on a variety of jobs in industries such as business, technology, or teaching. Courses consist of theory, programming, and advanced topics. Students can also pursue a concentration in Statistics.
- Interdisciplinary (ability to take courses from other departments for credit)
- Complete a double major with ease
- Course progression for those wishing to meet Ohio state licensure requirements
Although the university offers financial aid based on one’s individual need, they also have merit-based scholarships for qualifying and outstanding students. Students can be awarded anywhere from $1,000 to full tuition.
Hope College is a private Christian liberal arts school with over 150 years of history. Just as its name suggests the college’s mission has always been to equip students with the necessary academic training in order to become strong Christian leaders in the world to bring hope to all. In fact, before the present-day structure of the college was built, an orphanage operated until the late 19th-century on that ground. As of today, Hope has been mentioned in numerous publications, such as Forbes and the Princeton Review.
Students can earn either a BA or BS in Mathematics which focus on problem-solving, technical writing, and logical reasoning. Other than academics, students have the opportunity to engage in outside activities with peers and faculty. These include, but are not limited to:
- Joint mathematical and statistical research with faculty
- Departmental lecture series
- Hope College Math Club
While the BA is only 34 credit hours, the BS consists of 39 credit hours. A BS requires students to take more 300 level or above electives.
University of Nevada-Reno
Students enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno are encouraged to be problem-solvers through engaging academics and research opportunities. UNR was founded over 145 years ago in 1874. It was Nevada’s first institution of higher education. As such, community outreach is a prominent characteristic of UNR. Currently, the university has a giving campaign for a “New Nevada,” with the goal of raising $500 million by the end of 2020.
Earn a BA or BS in Mathematics at UNR. While the BA degree is a more traditionally liberal arts degree, the BS focuses more on computing and science. Both programs require the same core courses. Other features include:
- Specializations: General Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Discrete Mathematics/Operations Research
- Dual degree for future teachers through the Nevada Teach Program
- Departmental scholarships available
Within the Nevada Teach Program, students will earn both a BS in Mathematics and a BS in Education/Secondary Education.
Northwest Missouri State University
Learn from nationally recognized mathematicians and earn either a BA or BS degree. Students will learn a variety of mathematical theories as well as develop their own creativity in thinking. Below are a few opportunities beyond the classroom students can experience:
- Opportunity to join the Northwest Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of American (MAA)
- Study abroad programs
- Pi Mu Epsilon honorary mathematics society
NW Missouri undergraduate mathematics graduates have a 100 percent job placement rate within six months upon finishing the program.
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is a four-year, public institution that was founded in 1839. It began as the Bloomsburg Literary Institute, which later turned into a normal school for teachers. By the early 1980s, the university became a part of the Pennsylvania State System. Today Bloomsburg is a source of academic excellence and local engagement. The campus is made up of a “lower” and “upper” campus, including the prominent Bloomsburg Hospital near the residence halls.
Through Bloomsburg’s undergraduate Mathematics degree, students will learn real-world approaches to applying knowledge in the field. A BA (45-47 credit hours) or BS (54-56 credit hours) can be awarded.
- Undergraduate research opportunities
- Designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the Cyber Defense Education
- Potential careers: industrial engineering, actuarial science, numerical analysis
One undergraduate had their research paper published in Mathematics Magazine. For those who qualify, a stipend may be given in order to support summer research.
Rosemont College is a private, Catholic, institution that was founded by the Society of the Holy Child. It is located only 11 miles west of Philadelphia. Although it is a small school with only about 600 undergraduate students, Rosemont is an example of how a small school can have a big impact. In 2017, 92 percent of graduates were employed or continuing higher education. Rosemont has repeatedly been ranked as a top school for its value and quality programs.
Upon graduation of Rosemont’s BA in Mathematics, students will be prepared to take on a variety of business, technological, and science-based issues. In fact, several students have completed internships at reputable organizations. A unique feature about this program is that students have the option of choosing from a variety of concentrations, ensuring they will get a well-rounded education. Below are a sample of concentrations:
- Secondary education
Example of past internship host companies include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the NJ Division of Taxation.
Lakeland University is a private liberal arts university that is located in Plymouth, Wisconsin. It is associated with the United Church of Christ. One unique feature about Lakeland is that it is a “Cooperative Education” institution, meaning that students can get their degree while pursuing professional work. Graduates will be fully prepared to enter into their respective careers without forgoing the traditional college experience.
Lakeland offers a personalized approach to teaching Mathematics. Students have one-on-one access to professors and faculty. There are two degrees available: a standard BA in Mathematics or a BA in Mathematics for Early Adolescence through Adolescence Education Certification (grades 6-12). Lakeland’s curriculum offers students the skills they need for whatever career they choose.
- 42 credit hours
- Successful alumni employed as teachers
- Math competitions
Computer programming electives can be taken for credit.
Muskingum University has its roots beginning in the year 1837 when the state of Ohio had just been chartered. Although it began as an all-men, primarily Presbyterian school, students of all backgrounds are welcome. Today about 2,500 students are enrolled throughout its 60 academic majors and nine pre-professional studies. As a small school, students have direct access to their professors with a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2017, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Muskingum the #5 Best Value school in the Midwest.
Muskingum’s undergraduate program attempts to capture the beauty and power of Mathematics. Students will be exposed to different theories, methods, and technological applications. As a math major, students must complete 36 credit hours of core classes. Interested applicants can also gain a teaching licensure for integrated math, grades 7-12.
- Ability to join Kappu Mu Epsilon honorary society
- Student tutoring opportunities
- Joint faculty research
Current graduates are employed in businesses such as IBM, MIT Laboratories, and NASA.
Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University aims to give students a Christ-centered learning experience in order to produce the next generation of Christian leaders. Located in Texas, ACU offers both online and on-campus programs. As it is associated with the Churches of Christ, both religious and core academic courses make up its well-rounded curriculum. ACU is one of the largest private universities within the Southwest region.
While continuing to learn more about their faith, ACU’s BA or BS in Mathematics prepares students to become lifelong scholars of their field. Some extracurricular activities within this department include study abroad, mathematics conferences, and undergraduate research. Below are the degree options and concentrations available:
- BA in Mathematics with an Applied Mathematics or Pure Mathematics Track
- BS in Mathematics with an optional concentration in Actuarial Science
- BS in Mathematics for teacher certification
For those who wish to teach grades 7-12, the teaching certification is a great option. Some additional required courses include Clinical Teaching, Educational Psychology, and Teaching Students with Special Needs.