Internships & Careers
Why is a degree in mathematics so valuable and versatile?
| | ► | Mathematics has the power to reveal and quantify patterns in every human discipline. | ► | The world of the 21st century is a world suffused with numerical information. | ► | The deep study of mathematics endows one with the ability to reason carefully, to communicate with precision, and to focus on details. | |
For these reasons, the array of careers that one can enter with a degree in mathematics is enormous and varied. Here are a few of the paths open to those with a degree in mathematics.
► | Actuarial science |
► | Applied mathematics (engineering, modeling, simulation, mathematical physics) |
► | Art (sculpting, painting, music, fashion design) |
► | Business administration |
► | College teaching |
► | Computer science |
► | Cryptography |
► | Editing (mathematical books and articles) |
► | Finance (financial analysis, financial planning, economics) |
► | Law |
► | Mathematical exposition (popular-press books and articles, educational television) |
► | Medical research |
► | Medicine (pre-med) |
► | Operations research |
► | Quality control |
► | Secondary teaching |
► | Statistics |
Most of these careers involve the frequent use of mathematics. Some, like law, have little mathematical content, but require the skills that one acquires by obtaining a degree in mathematics. These skills–logical thinking, precision of language, attention to detail, perseverance–are invaluable in any career. As one of the mottos of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics says, If you can do math, you can do anything.
For two of the careers listed above, St. Bonaventure offers additional educational preparation. Students interested in business administration may obtain an MBA at SBU by remaining for a fifth year. See the Master of Business Administration page in the SBU website for detailed information. Students desiring certification in secondary teaching may obtain a master's degree in secondary education at SBU. See the MSEd Adolescence Education page in the SBU website for detailed information.
A Few Words of Advice
If you know you love mathematics but are uncertain about what you would do once you have your degree in mathematics, you are not alone. With so many career paths available to you, it can be difficult to choose one. Keep in mind that most people---whatever their degree is in---do not remain in a single career during their working lives. Most people begin in one career and then, for any number of reasons, switch to another. Thus, you are not locked into the career that you enter after you complete your formal education. To help you make an informed decision, feel free to use any or all of the following resources about mathematical careers.
Resources
First, your adviser and other members of the St. Bonaventure mathematics faculty will be happy to discuss potential careers that allow to you to express your interest in mathematics and quite possibly some of your other interests as well.
Second, three excellent books on mathematical careers describe the careers listed above and others. The Department of Mathematics has copies of these gems, which you may borrow.
- 101 Careers in Mathematics, 2nd ed, by Andrew Sterrett (editor). The Mathematical Association of America, 2002. 101 people describe how their degrees in mathematics help them at their jobs. Many of these people use mathematics daily, while others simply use the general skills provided by their mathematical training, but each person's degree in mathematics plays a significant role in his or her professional success. (The Department of Mathematics has three copies and the library has one copy.)
- She Does Math! Real-Life Problems from Women on the Job, by Marla Parker (editor). The Mathematical Association of America, 1995. This book provides the career histories of 38 professional women who use mathematics in their jobs. Each woman gives specific mathematics problems that she encountered in her work. (The Department of Mathematics has two copies.)
- Great Jobs for Math Majors, by Stephen Lambert and Ruth J. DeCotis. McGraw-Hill, 1999. Part one of this book describes in detail the process of searching for a job. Part two is dedicated to the types of jobs in which mathematics is used. (The Department of Mathematics has two copies and the library has two copies.)
Copies of these books are kept on the "Job Search" shelf of the "Resources" bookcase in the Mathematics Suite (DLR 301). You may read these books in the Mathematics Suite or you may "check out" a book from the Mathematics Department for up to one semester. See any mathematics professor to check out a book.
Third, the SBU Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) exists to help you land that perfect job. Here are two links into its website.
Fourth, the internet offers a wealth of resources to help mathematics students find jobs. Each of the following sites is provided by one or more of the major American mathematics organizations.
"'Where is the money?' I ask my students. It is in physics, computers, biology,
chemistry, and electronics. 'What is the language for all these subjects?'
The language is mathematics–and if you know the language you can do anything."
– Jaime Escalante (b. 1930), high school mathematics teacher from
1974 to 1991 and the subject of the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver." |