OverviewMathematics programs teach people how to use math to solve problems. Students learn many forms of algebra. They also learn about proofs, geometry, and logic.
Many people give the entire field of mathematics a bad rap. It's common for people to complain that they will never use any advanced math or geometry courses. However, math is the basis for almost every science, from engineering to computing. Math also is useful in the social and natural sciences and in business. Without math, things like airplanes, online banking, and even e-mail wouldn't exist!
The field of mathematics is surprisingly broad. In most math programs, you take a standard set of courses in calculus, algebra, statistics, and solving different kinds of equations. Then, depending on your interests, you can also take courses in pure, applied, or computational mathematics. Pure mathematics focuses on mathematical theories. Applied and computational mathematics focus on problem-solving and engineering. In addition, many programs encourage you to take courses in economics, physics, and computer science. Overall, your courses teach you skills in critical analysis, problem-solving, and logical thinking.
Most four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in mathematics. Most community colleges offer two-year programs that can be transferred to a four-year school. Many schools offer graduate degree programs in mathematics. These programs take from two to five years after you finish your bachelor's degree. Most people with graduate degrees in mathematics become professors and researchers.
A degree in math can be applied to a variety of careers. You can work in market research, banking, or insurance. You can work as a research analyst for businesses or nonprofit groups. Many people decide to become math teachers. Others who graduate with a degree in math work as computer programmers, because much computer programming relies on mathematical reasoning. In turn, students become skilled in using computers.