There is no easy answer to the question: “What can I do with a math degree?” A student who studies math can cultivate a wide array of marketable and transferrable skills. Math students must be able to articulate not only what skills they have learned in their study, but also how it directly applies to a job.
We have many alumni working as teachers, analysts in many fields (finance, government, science) software engineers, and actuaries. However this does not remotely encompass all the jobs that students who love math can and will do after graduation. There are many paths, and you must explore for yourself to learn what you might like to do (if you don’t know already!).
Here are some resources to help with career exploration:
The Career Center is a valuable resource available to current UW students and UW Alumni. All students unsure of their career path should visit the Career Center. The Career Center provides resources specific to different career interest areas. Of particular interests to Math majors may be the following:
International Students in F-1 Status who meet certain eligibility requirements can participate in internships using a temporary work authorization called Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
This LinkedIn tool allows students to search for and connect with UW Alumni. You can search by degree and see what Math students are actually doing! Even better, you can try to make a connection.
The AMS (American Mathematical Society) has fantastic resources about careers. It takes an in-depth look at “What can I do with a math degree?”
The Mathematical Association of America presents industrial math case studies solving real world problems.
Any student interested in Actuarial study should explore the Society of Actuaries website. This gives students a window into what people are doing with this popular profession in the field of Mathematics.
Students interested in pursuing careers in data science fields should be well versed in programming, statistics, and visualization. Consider the UW Data Science Minor.
Which courses should I take if I want a career in…?
Math coursework is predominantly not related to any industry jobs. The less proof-based coursework can prove useful beyond just “transferrable skills” (i.e. reasoning). This coursework includes all of our most popular courses- Math 394/5/6, Math 407/8/9, Math 461/2, Math 464/5, Math 491/2. A typical pure math student can expect to take some of these courses, but very likely not all.
Teach for America is a national corps of outstanding and diverse recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools. Since 1990, we have focused the leadership and passion of some of our nation's most talented graduating seniors on expanding educational opportunity for our nation's most disadvantaged students. During their two-year commitments, corps members have a powerful impact on their students' lives and on the schools in which they teach. After their two years, Teach For America alumni bring their unique perspective and experience to every sector of professional life, where they remain lifelong advocates for making an excellent education available to all children.
You may also be interested in graduate level mathematics. Visit our Graduate Programs section for more information on the graduate degree programs we offer.