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Math - love it or hate it, we use it every day in our lives; usually without even knowing it. Mathematicians study the relationships among numbers, shapes, and quantities, including arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. They research mathematical theories, and develop and apply mathematical techniques, for solving problems in such fields as science, engineering, business and social science.

Mathematicians manipulate and interpret numbers, search for patterns in numbers, and develop mathematical models to find solutions to problems in business, industry and research. Mathematicians research fundamental mathematics and its application to a wide variety of problems. At an abstract level, they assemble sets of assumptions and explore the consequences of each set.

When confronted with any problem that has some mathematical basis, an organization may consult a mathematician for advice about what is required to assure the existence of a solution to the problem, or the accuracy with which a solution can be found and what it may cost. These mathematicians generally work as consultants assisting with business and research projects that demand advanced knowledge of mathematics.

Mathematicians may also work on mathematical problems in a variety of other fields, such as mechanics, electromagnetic theory, economics, computer science and the petrochemical industry. Many others teach math at all levels of education.

Mathematicians work in one of two areas: applied math or theoretical math. Applied mathematicians use mathematical theories and techniques, such as modeling, to solve practical problems in business, engineering and the sciences. For example, they may investigate the cost of establishing a new business or the mathematical aspects of mining for ore. Applied mathematicians take a practical problem, envision the individual elements of the process under consideration, and then reduce the elements into mathematical variables. They often use computers to analyze relationships among the variables and solve complex problems by developing models with alternate solutions. Specialty forms of applied mathematics are statistics, demographics and cryptology, to name a few.

Theoretical mathematicians seek to advance mathematical science by developing new principles and new relationships between existing mathematical principles. Theoretical math hardly considers practicality, yet it still has added to many instrumental products and many scientific and engineering achievements.
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Concordia University - Portland

Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland

Programs Offered:
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Mathematicians must have an affinity and true interest in specialized mathematics, such as calculus and statistics. They can understand things in mathematical and scientific terms. They are logical problem-solvers with a great deal of patience and mental stamina. They have effective communication skills, and can explain difficult mathematical problems simply to people. They like working both alone and with a wide variety of people. In general, mathematicians enjoy synthesizing information, solving logical mathematical problems and taking a methodical approach to their work.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Study and test ideas and alternative theories
  • Conduct research in basic mathematics and in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields
  • Follow mathematical theorems and formulas
  • Perform computations and apply methods of numerical analysis
  • Apply established methods of numerical analysis and other known techniques to problems
  • Develop new and more efficient methods of dealing with mathematical processes
  • Use computers to make graphs, tables and charts of data
  • Act as consultant to research staff concerning mathematical methods and applications
  • Present findings to clients and other mathematicians
  • May supervise or manage specific projects or research students
  • May help businesses and industry to solve mathematical-related problems
  • Although mathematicians usually work in an office environment with standard office hours, longer hours are not uncommon, especially when deadlines are looming. They may work alone or as part of a team.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Mathematicians are employed by educational institutions, including universities, all levels of government, bank and trust companies, financial institutions, insurance companies, scientific institutions and research agencies, pension benefit consulting firms, or science and engineering consulting firms. Many jobs in computer science require professionals with mathematical training.

  Long Term Career Potential  
In large institutions, mathematicians who have strong communication and people skills may advance to management positions. With the proper education, they would also make great math, statistics or bio-statistics professors. They could change career focus and become statisticians, actuaries or demographers. They could also become financial advisors, especially in the area of personal financial consulting.

  Educational Paths  
The minimum degree for a mathematician is a bachelor's degree. However, most mathematicians have graduate degrees in mathematics. Post-graduate work in pure or applied mathematics at the PhD level is usually required for mathematicians employed in a research environment or those who teach at the university level.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Concordia University - Portland

Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland

Programs Offered:
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics

University of the Pacific

Located in San Francisco, Pacific's MS in Data Science program equips students for the exciting field of data science. 

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