Applied Math Degree Program Information by Level

Oct 10, 2019

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Applied Mathematics qualifies its holders for positions such as statistician or actuary. A Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Mathematics may lead to senior-level positions in technical or scientific fields, while a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is typically required to teach math at the postsecondary level. Program specializations include scientific computing, mathematical biology and numerical analysis.

Master's programs require a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a closely related field from an accredited college or university. Candidates generally are required to have completed undergraduate coursework in areas such as real and complex analysis, linear algebra and differential equations.

Ph.D. programs require a master's degree in applied mathematics or a related discipline such as economics, engineering and natural sciences, although some programs will accept students with bachelor's degrees. Doctoral candidates conduct research in an area of their own choosing, such as linear algebra and differential equations. Most institutions require the completion and defense of a doctoral dissertation to fulfill the degree curriculum.

Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics

Students learn about the utilization of mathematics in fields such as industrial engineering, operations research and economics. These programs generally focus on core mathematical principles as well as technical electives in order to provide learners with an overview of how mathematics is leveraged in various disciplines.

This baccalaureate program comprises classes that emphasize fundamental mathematical theories and their application in a variety of business, scientific and technical settings. The following are some possible subjects covered in the curriculum:

  • Beginner, intermediate and advanced calculus
  • Differential equations
  • Experimental design
  • Numerical analysis
  • Probability and statistics

Master of Science in Applied Mathematics

Master's degree candidates study the function of mathematics in the actuarial, physical, engineering and biological sciences. Areas of focus include scientific computing, mathematical biology and numerical analysis. Students gain experience in applying mathematical principles to a variety of disciplines, including business and economics.

These graduate degree programs generally contain classes that combine theoretical and practical knowledge of mathematical principles for use in a variety of business, economic and scientific disciplines. Many programs host concentrations in actuarial science and consequently feature coursework in probability theory. Course topics may include:

  • Numerical simulation
  • Actuarial theory
  • Complex variables
  • Lie groups and lie algebras
  • Scientific computing

Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics

Doctoral degree programs generally provide the highest level of study and research in the field of applied mathematics. Classes consist of advanced studies in specialized research in areas including control and optimization, mathematical epidemiology, differential equation analysis and supply chain analysis. Some institutions may consider bachelor's degree holders for admission if their undergraduate coursework meets department requirements in areas such as real and complex analysis, linear algebra and differential equations. Doctoral degrees generally expect between 33 and 48 credit hours of upper-tier coursework. Course subjects include:

  • Set theory and metric spaces
  • Wavelet analysis
  • Applied probability and stochastic processes
  • Optimization
  • Perturbation methods

Popular Career Options

Graduates are generally equipped to seek advanced and senior-level positions in business and government where mathematical expertise is leveraged in an interdisciplinary team environment. Some career options include:

  • Actuary
  • Statistician
  • Operations research analyst

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of mathematicians was expected to increase by 26% from 2018 to 2028. Those with a master's degree were expected to have opportunities in applied mathematics, due to its use in the increasingly popular field of cloud computing. According to the BLS, mathematicians made a median salary of $101,900 in May 2018. Of the approximately 2,900 mathematicians employed in the U.S. in that year, the majority worked for the federal executive branch of the U.S. government. The second largest group worked in scientific research and development, followed by postsecondary schools.

Job applicants holding a Ph.D. are generally qualified to seek advanced positions in teaching and research. The BLS reports that mathematical science professors earned a median salary of $73,230 in May 2018.

Applied mathematics can be studied at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree levels to prepare for careers as actuaries, statisticians, college professors and more. While an undergraduate degree builds a foundation in mathematical theory and application, graduate degrees give students the opportunity to tailor their studies to specialized research areas like computing or biology.

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