How Can You Specialize a Mathematics Degree?

Mathematics DegreeStudents who are looking to maximize their potential as mathematics majors need to make sure that they specialize a mathematics degree prior to graduation. Though this field is often considered somewhat different from traditional liberal arts, the truth is that a “pure” math degree without any specialization doesn’t prepare students very well for a wide variety of job opportunities. Specialization overcomes this hurdle and helps advanced math skills find professional applications in a variety of sectors. Those considering ways to specialize their curriculum and gain practical, marketable skills have several exciting options available to them based on their school’s majors, minors, and other academic offerings.

Mathematics Education

A major in mathematics is most often paired with a minor education or secondary education. This pairing allows students to qualify for teacher licensure in almost every state, pending the receipt of satisfactory scores on PRAXIS-I and content-specific PRAXIS-II certification tests. Most states will certify graduates in secondary math education, permitting them to teach students in grades 7 through 12. Further graduate-level studies in this field can see students teach adjunct coursework to college students, participate in math curriculum design for high schools, or advance into administration roles that oversee entire schools and districts.

Financial Advising, Actuarial Services, and Accounting

The business field has plenty of opportunities waiting for those with a solid background in advanced mathematics. The most common pursuit chosen by math majors is financial advising, which requires the right combination of finance and math skills so that investment portfolios can achieve maximum value. The actuarial field is also a strong contender for those with a broad math background, since it requires the calculation of financial risk for insurance companies, investment firms, big banks, mortgage lenders, and a wide variety of other firms. Accounting is also a great specialization for those with a math background, since the very nature of the profession is “number-crunching” in the pursuit of strong financial projects, earnings reports, and estimated expenditures.

The Sciences

Math majors tend to have a good relationship with the sciences, whether it’s biology, chemistry, or particularly physics. All three of these pursuits require a working knowledge of basic and advanced math concepts, and they also fit well into the orderly, logical, proof-driven nature of math. Those who have an affinity for on of these fields can end up working as researchers, program directors, and assistants, within each.

Engineering

Finally, the nature of a mathematics major fits right into various engineering fields, most prominently civil engineering. In fact, most engineering students themselves cite the math component of their major as the single most challenging part of the curriculum. This positions math majors well for a double major, or for an extended minor in an engineering field that accommodates their talents or unique interests. Perhaps best of all, engineering occupations currently enjoy some of the highest job placement rates, starting salaries, and long-term average salaries, of any major occupation in the modern economy.

Related Resources: Graduate Fellowship

Excellent Opportunities Exist for Specialized Math Graduates

Mathematics alone is perhaps not the most marketable set of skills, but when combined with some of today’s most popular majors it can be a real asset for graduates. According to the Mathematical Association of America, those who are looking for ways to specialize a mathematics degree should consider their interests, and determine whether or not their math skills would be best applied in education, business, science, or even an engineering occupation.