Math: Overview of Adult School Programs in Mathematics

There is a wide variety of education options for students needing or wishing to study mathematics. Explore some of the program options, course topics and career opportunities here.

Program Information

Adult schools offer classes for those who need to prepare for the mathematics portion of the GED test or gain business math skills. If you are a real math enthusiast and would perhaps like to pursue a career in the field, you can choose to enroll in an on-campus or online degree program at a college or university. These programs are available at the associate's level, providing a great background for further study in any scientific field as well as for further advanced studies in mathematics. They continue all the way up to a PhD in Mathematics for the true mathematician. Math courses may cover anything from basic algebra to advanced calculus and theory.

Programs At a Glance

GED Preparation

  • Depending on the student's needs, these programs can vary in length from a few minutes to a few weeks, and only require that a student meet GED requirements.
  • These programs are available online and on-site.

Undergraduate Degree

  • Undergraduate programs vary in length from about 2 to 4 years and require a high school diploma.
  • These programs are available on-campus and online.

Graduate Degree

  • Depending on the degree, programs can take 2 to 8 years to complete, but all require an undergraduate degree.
  • These programs can also be found on-campus or online.

GED Preparation Classes

Math classes are offered at adult education centers (often held in high schools or at community centers) and community colleges that are specifically designed to give students grounding in the basic mathematical skills needed to pass the GED. There are also free online math courses to prepare you for the math section of the GED. These classes will give you the basics of algebra, fractions, graphs and charts, and other skills, like solving word problems, needed to pass the math section of the GED.

Business Math Classes

Math classes are also offered at adult education centers and community colleges that are targeted toward the professional. Some programs can also be found online that focus on business and finance. Basic business math classes concentrate on specific math skills in real-world applications such as insurance, percentages and elementary accounting procedures.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Both associate's and bachelor's programs in mathematics are generally designed for those who are ready to study calculus, so you might have to take some prerequisite courses if you're not at that level. While an associate's degree generally prepares you for further study, a bachelor's degree may prepare you for certification as a math teacher or for careers in statistics, business and computer science. Students in these programs will further develop their problem-solving and analysis skills. Some coursework you might find in an undergraduate program in mathematics includes:

  • Calculus I, II and III
  • Real analysis
  • Linear algebra
  • Computer programming
  • Differential equations
  • Numerical analysis
  • Statistics

Graduate Degree Programs

Master's and doctoral programs in mathematics are available for those who want to study a specialization or pursue a career teaching the subject to college students. Master's programs cover several of the types of mathematics that undergraduate programs do, including calculus, linear algebra, probability, differential equations and real analysis. Other topics may include scientific computing, algebra, geometry, multivariable analysis and computer programming. After required courses, students are allowed to follow their interests with advanced courses in applied and pure mathematics. Master's program students also often complete comprehensive examinations and complete either a project or thesis.

A doctoral program in mathematics includes similar advanced courses as a master's program. Students usually take multiple comprehensive exams, participate in teaching and defend a dissertation. Some schools require that doctoral students show competency in a programming language and know a foreign language, such as Russian or German. Graduates may be prepared to work in research and theory or postsecondary education.

Students can study math at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels on-campus or online. GED preparation programs for the math section of the exam are also available, as well as business math courses for professionals.

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