Bachelor of Science (BS): Math and Physics Degree Overview

A bachelor's degree in math and physics prepares students for careers in aerospace, engineering and mathematics, as well as education opportunities at the master's and doctoral level.

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Essential Information

Students who like both math and physics can combine these topics in an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree program. A BS in Math and Physics typically focuses on the fundamental concepts in math via studies in mathematical analysis, along with the basic laws of physics through practical lab experiments. Many programs require the completion of lab practicums. To get into a BS program students will need to have a high school diploma and acceptable placement exam scores. Graduates can seek work in a variety of areas, including several engineering and scientific fields. They might also go on to graduate school, which could broaden their career options considerably, since many math and physics jobs require a master's or PhD degree.

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Bachelor's Degree in Math and Physics

Students interested in a BS in Math and Physics should take high level math and science courses throughout high school. Some degree programs may require students to take placement exams in mathematics and science or qualify for a specific level of classes prior to enrollment as a math and physics major. A student working toward a BS in Math and Physics can expect to complete a math and science-heavy course load. Some courses may include computer programming, chemistry and study of electricity. Required courses may include:

  • Classical mechanics
  • Calculus
  • Thermodynamics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer programming
  • Quantum mechanics and differential equations

Popular Career Options

Earning a BS in Math and Physics can allow students to enter a wide variety of fields. Graduates can enter the fields of engineering, business or even work as scientists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are multiple fields of engineering open to graduates of bachelor's degree programs like these, as well as scientific fields (www.bls.gov). Some popular fields could include:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Industrial engineering
  • Atmospheric science

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projected two percent decline in job opportunities for aerospace engineers during the 2014-2024 decade. Industrial engineers should see an increase of one percent and atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists, could experience growth of 9%. In May 2015, the BLS estimated that the median salary of aerospace engineers was $107,830. Industrial engineers and atmospheric scientists earned median wages of $83,470 and $89,820, respectively.

Continuing Education

At the master's degree level, programs are typically offered in either mathematics of physics. These may be offered as options in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, such as computer engineering or algorithms, or in combination with astronomy. The curriculum of these programs may lead directly into PhD programs, which are more commonly available as combined math and physics options.

Many science and math related careers require completion of higher degrees, such as a master's degree or PhD Interested students may find doctorate degrees in math and physics, which may offer concentration options in applied math or physics, and may require the completion of a dissertation. These degree programs can require 30 credit hours beyond the master's degree level, or up to 90 credit hours total, and can include courses like functional analysis and mathematical methods.

Individuals wanting to apply their understanding of math and physics in a career should seek a BS degree in math and physics. These degrees help students prepare for graduate programs and careers in engineering.

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