Mathematics Degrees by Degree Program Level

Associate's, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. programs in mathematics are available at 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. Students can learn a variety of math skills of different levels of complexity depending on their education goals.

Essential Information

Students in associate's degree programs take basic and intermediate math courses and may be prepared to work as bookkeepers, surveyors or research assistants. Bachelor's degree programs in mathematics sometimes prepare students to become math teachers, and such programs include student teaching requirements. Other programs prepare students for graduate-level study in mathematics or careers as actuaries, financial analysts or researchers.

Both master's and Ph.D. programs in mathematics are designed for those who want to teach the subject or conduct high-level research. Students in master's programs take advanced math courses and may become high school or community college math teachers, among other positions in industry and research. Ph.D. programs in mathematics are focused on independent research in advanced mathematical theory, and students may pursue a specialization like computer science.

Associate's Degrees in Mathematics

Associate's degree in mathematics are typically offered at 2-year colleges. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission. Depending on which school they attend, students can earn either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree. Each mathematics degree program combines general education and math courses. Graduates may seek employment or pursue further studies in math or related fields.

Students who wish to earn 2-year mathematics degrees take a variety of mathematics courses at the basic and intermediate levels. Associate's degree programs in math typically include the following courses:

  • Calculus
  • Intermediate algebra
  • Basic statistics
  • Introductory linear algebra
  • Analytic geometry
  • Problem solving

Bachelor's Degrees in Mathematics

Students interested in pursuing mathematics bachelor's degree can earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. Like other undergraduate degrees, students must have a high school diploma or GED to attend. The Bachelor of Science trains students for careers in math and prepares them to pursue graduate degrees in the field. The Bachelor of Arts degree is designed for students wishing to teach math in grades K-12. Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics also take classes in education, along with completing a student teaching experience. All bachelor's degree programs include general education courses.

Bachelor's degree programs in math require students to take courses in several math disciplines.

  • Probability and statistics
  • Abstract algebra
  • Advanced calculus
  • Applied regression analysis
  • Complex variables
  • Applied probability

Master's Degrees in Mathematics

People interested in teaching mathematics at a 2-year or 4-year college or university can pursue Master of Arts degrees in Mathematics. In order to enroll, students must have earned a bachelor's degree. This math degree program is also appropriate for high school mathematics teachers wishing to improve their teaching credentials and expertise. Those who desire advanced and broad training in math or want to earn a Ph.D. in the field may pursue Master of Science degrees in Mathematics. Master's degree programs in mathematics typically take two years to complete. Theses may be required, depending on the school.

Curriculums in master's degree programs in mathematics include several advanced courses.

  • Symbolic algebra
  • Algorithms
  • Real and complex analysis
  • Categorical data analysis
  • Coding theories
  • Graph theory

Ph.D. in Mathematics

Doctoral mathematics degree programs train students to be math researchers and scholars. A master's degree is required to enroll in these programs. Students can specialize in specific areas of math or closely related fields such as computational science or engineering. Ph.D. programs in mathematics usually take 4 to 6 years to complete and require theses and final written or oral exams. Courses and seminars emphasize independent research and projects. Proficiency in a foreign language may be required.

Courses in doctoral math programs are designed to help students conduct independent research. Classes may include the following:

  • Differentiable manifolds
  • Combinatorics
  • Partial differential equations
  • Logic
  • Analytic number theory
  • Algebraic number theory

Popular Career Options

Those who earn associate's degrees in mathematics work can work in several industries. Possible options include the following:

  • Appraiser
  • Assessor
  • Surveyor
  • Research assistant
  • Bookkeeper

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in mathematics may have several job options: They include the following:

  • Actuary
  • Math teacher
  • Financial analyst
  • Budget analyst
  • Researcher
  • Controller

Those who earn mathematics degrees at the master's level can pursue jobs in industry, academia and research. Career possibilities may include:

  • High school math teacher
  • College math teacher
  • Research mathematician
  • Statistician
  • Engineering analyst
  • Systems analyst

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Although about 3,200 mathematicians were employed in the U.S. as of 2015, employment is projected to grow by 21% (much faster than average) between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Job prospects are best for mathematicians who hold doctorates in the field and have expertise in related areas, including computer technology and engineering. Mathematicians earned a median annual salary of $111,110 as of May 2015.

All traditional levels of degree are available for mathematicians. These programs offer high-level mathematics skills and give students to education needed for a variety of fields, including education.

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