What Is a Degree in Math and Why Is It Important?

Undergraduate math degrees offer a comprehensive curriculum featuring advanced topics in mathematics and statistics. While it includes courses in foundational and theoretical mathematics, it also explores applied mathematics. What is a degree in math able to help hard-working graduates accomplish? Quite a lot. For any student interested in pursuing a career in math or statistics, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics can provide important qualifications that open the door to many opportunities.

Courses Offered and Skills Gained in a Math Program

Undergraduate mathematics curricula may vary by university, but generally will cover the following topics, among others:

  • Foundations of mathematics. Introductory undergraduate mathematics courses ensure students understand all foundational knowledge required to study more advanced topics. Subjects touched upon in introductory coursework often include functions, theories and proofs, logic, calculus, and properties of real numbers.
  • Applied mathematics. To be successful in the workforce, math majors must understand how to apply theoretical math to real-world contexts. Coursework in applied mathematics may focus on applied number theory, differential equations, and linear algebra.
  • Mathematical models. Math majors learn how to select and create mathematical models like charts and graphs to represent data or information in a visual, easy-to-understand format.

Students also may delve into topics such as machine learning and probability, allowing them to apply mathematics to modern data analytics practices. These courses and others help students develop highly marketable skills that apply to a wide variety of industries and professions. Among those skills are:

  • Analytical thinking. Mathematics majors learn how to identify trends in raw information to determine probabilities and patterns. As they develop analytical skills through their coursework, they may apply the same way of thinking to problem-solving in other areas of their career and life.
  • Quantitative prowess. Math students develop strong quantitative skills as they become comfortable with manipulating numbers and data sets. They understand the relationships between numbers and how to leverage their skills to glean useful information from them.

What Is a Math Degree Worth to Employers?

Employers are seeking graduates with a strong background in mathematics because of the many analytical and quantitative skills they bring to the table. Opportunities for some mathematics-based professions — including data scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, financial analysts, and actuaries — are expanding rapidly, with as much as 33% job growth from 2016 to 2026. Employees holding a mathematics degree are highly valued by businesses for the following reasons:

  • Helping businesses make informed decisions. To be highly competitive in saturated markets, and to become as efficient as possible, businesses cannot rely on past decisions or intuition. Instead, they must look to data and statistics. By employing experts in mathematics, businesses can make highly informed decisions that boost profits, streamline processes, and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Developing data storage technology. Mathematicians are on the front lines of helping businesses adapt to new data storage technologies, including cloud storage. With the rise in big data, organizations must track and store raw information that is then used to make decisions, predict trends, and boost efficiency. Machine learning, which is the practice of equipping technologies with smart algorithms that adapt and learn, is also poised to become a major strategy in developing new data storage processes.
  • Data analysis in healthcare. While many industries are leveraging the power of data analytics, among the most heavily impacted by the technology is healthcare. A major application of big data in healthcare is patient records, which are streamlined to provide a more holistic view of a patient’s health. Additionally, as medical and Internet of Things (IoT) devices proliferate and gather health data on patients — and as patients come to better understand their health, habits, and genetics — the way is increasingly paved for personalized medicine to take off. The industry requires talented data scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians to manage the flood of information and leverage it to improve lives.
  • Smartphones, smart homes, and IoT. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, and Metova reports 90% have purchased at least one smart home product. The IoT market — which describes any machine, sensor, or device that connects to the internet, receives and sends web-based information, or responds to that data transfer in some way — will be worth more than $580 billion by 2020, according to predictions by McKinsey. From these numbers, it is clear that smart consumer and industry technology is on the rise, and mathematics experts will continue stewarding this mass adaptation.

Industries Hiring Math Majors

Mathematics is an incredibly broad and rewarding field. It broaches big questions with studied, practical skills. Areas that seek to add the knowledge, expertise, and skills of math program graduates to their workforce include:

  • Finance and banking
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Software engineering
  • Academia and research
  • Accounting
  • Travel
  • Sports
  • Meteorology
  • Education
  • Cosmology and aeronautics
  • Data science
  • Healthcare

What Is a Degree in Math? An Avenue to the Future

With the rise of big data and an increase in businesses’ drive to make informed decisions to remain competitive in today’s global market, employers are increasingly seeking those who can manage and interpret information and statistics. By enrolling in Maryville University’s online bachelor’s degree program in mathematics, you can begin your journey toward a rewarding, impactful career.

Sources

Forbes, “10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of IoT’s Growth”

Forbes, “The Future Of Health Care Is In Data Analytics”

HIMSS, Introduction to Health Care Data Analytics

IoT for All, “What is IoT? — A Simple Explanation of the Internet of Things”

IoT News, “Research: 90% of US consumers own a smart home device”

Maryville University, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

PayScale, Bachelor of Science (BS / BSc), Mathematics Degree

Pew Research Center, “Mobile Fact Sheet”

TechTarget, “Future of data storage technology: Transformational trends for 2018”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mathematicians and Statisticians: Job Outlook