A number of schools offer distance learning mathematics programs. Both fully online and hybrid programs are available in mathematics. Online bachelor's degree programs, which are less common than online graduate programs, offer straightforward training in mathematics, in areas such as algebra and calculus. Master's degree programs may be designed for practicing mathematics teachers or students looking to advance in fields such as engineering and research.
Some schools require access to specific software for students completing their education online. In addition, some programs require limited campus attendance or proctored exams.
Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics
Online bachelor's degree programs that cover mathematics in some form prepare students to use mathematics and statistics in a wide range of fields, including management, insurance, research and education. Organizational management degree programs may also offer a focus on mathematics, equipping students with the skills to apply mathematical skills, such as algebra, to organizational development in the areas of human resource management and communications.
In addition to general education requirements in areas such as liberal arts and the social sciences, online mathematics programs at the bachelor's degree level include a number of basic and advanced math courses. Common courses include:
- Linear algebra
- Math modeling
- Contemporary math
- Abstract algebra
- Numerical methods
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Master's Degree in Mathematics
Distance learning master's degree programs covering mathematics are most commonly designed for practicing high school and middle school math teachers. The programs most typically result in a Master of Science in Mathematics Education. There are also a limited number of mathematics master's degree programs designed for students who hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field of study. Students are equipped with the skills to work as mathematicians or statisticians in fields such as education, engineering, computer programming and data processing.
Courses offered as part of a distance learning master's degree program in mathematics vary depending on the career the student is interested in pursuing. Rather then content development, distance learning programs for teachers focus on research and teaching methods. However, programs for those interested in becoming mathematicians or statisticians feature courses that are more math-oriented. Mathematics distance learning master's degree programs may include coursework in the following areas:
- Numerical analysis
- Matrix theory
- Statistical methods
- Mathematical communication
- School mathematics curriculum
- Mathematics classroom assessment
- Mathematics learning and teaching
- Statistics for teachers
- Mathematical problem solving
- Teaching algebra
Students enrolled in distance learning math bachelor's degree or master's degree programs use multiple tools within an online classroom environment to study and complete assignments. These include lecture videos, interactive learning tools, discussion boards, group work tools, and video or phone conferencing technologies. In this latter case, students may have to log onto their online course at a specific time in order to learn and interact with classmates and their instructors. Outside of online conferencing sessions, students can usually complete assignments and review lessons on their own time any time of day. Some schools may require online math students to have access to certain software, such as Excel or Sketchpad.
Although there are undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics or mathematics education that are available totally through distance learning, some programs--particularly at the master's level--may require students to go on-campus for an intense, concentrated term. Additionally, some schools require students to complete tests or final exams in a proctored environment.
Online mathematics degree programs at the bachelor's level focus on both basic and advanced math courses that can be useful in many fields. Master's degree programs in mathematics are geared towards individuals wanting to become a math teacher.