So you're thinking about majoring in
mathematics... Wonderful! Now, it's time to evaluate what you like about mathematics and why you are considering it as a major. Contrary to popular belief, there are MANY things you can do with a major in mathematics, besides being a teacher or an actuary! On this page I want to give you some information about the things you can do with a mathematics degree. |

Mathematics majors develop skills in problem solving, data analysis and critical thinking. These are skills that can take you far in basically any profession. Some of the many exciting things you can do with a mathematics degree included:

- Research Mathematician: Yes, sometimes it is good to state the obvious! But, what you may not realize is that exciting applied and even theoretical mathematics research takes place in both academia (at colleges) and in industry. Companies and organizations that commonly employ mathematicians include Google, Microsoft, IBM, Merck, Novartis, Boeing, General Motors, Exxon Mobile, the Department of Defense, and NASA. This list is not nearly exhaustive, but meant to give you an idea that mathematical research can be conducted in all types of settings!
- Biomathematician:
Biomathematics is an up-and-coming field in which mathematicians
utilize their quantitative skills to better understand biological
phenomenon. Biomathematicians work on problems as diverse as
predicting patient response to a drug, developing better techniques to
analyze medical images, and determining optimal ways to utilize yet
preserve natural resources.

- Atmospheric
Scientist/Climate Modeler: Climate modelers use mathematical
methods to simulate processes occuring on land, in the ocens and in the
atmosphere. These models can be used to predict the weekly
forecast, predict the path of hurricanes, and to study the effects of
increased carbon dioxide on global temperature.

- Mathematical physicist:
Mathematicians have been lending their skills to the field of physics
for hundred of years. Mathematical physicists may find themselves
exploring alternative energy sources, working on problems related to
the origin of the universe, and improving upon GPS technology.

- Educator:
When I was
in high school, I basically thought the only things mathematicians
could do is teach! This is far from the truth, although it is
still a great career path for mathematics majors. Teaching
opportunities exist in grades K-12, and at the collegiate level for
those who have earned a degree beyond the bachelors. Middle
schools and high schools throughout the US are consistently in need of
qualified individuals to teach their mathematics courses.

- Actuary:
Actuaries
use mathematics (particularly probability and statistics) to analyze
and manage risk. An actuary who works for an insurance company
may try to predict the likelihood a new driver will cause a car
accident, and develop a model to determine the annual rate of insurance
for a new driver. Outside of the insurance industry, actuaries
may development investment tools to help their company financially
compete with similar companies.

- Operations
Researcher: An operations researcher use mathematical models and
analysis to find optimal solutions to complex problems. Problems
as diverse as optimizing the nations power grid, the optimal transport
of materials through a network, and developing financial portfolios that
simultaneously work to minimize risk while maximing profit are commonly
tackled by operations researchers.

- Security: An issue of
pressing importance is how both individuals, companies and the
government can protect their valuable information from those who wish
to steal it. From hackers attempting to steal personal identities
to those trying to gain key information about military strategy, it is
incredibly important that we have intelligent ways to protect private
data. Crypotgraphy is a sub-field of mathematics that works on
making and breaking codes. Cryptographers are employed by both
the government for issues of national security, and by private
companies.

The internet is chock-full of good resources for potential math majors. Dr. Wiebke Diestelkamp at the University of Dayton has put together a wonderful collection of resources for potential and current mathematics majors that can be accessed here.