If you are deciding between majoring in civil engineering or mathematics, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.

At a glance:

| Civil Engineering | Mathematics |

Payscale reported average pay | $70,508 | $76,684 |

Job prospects | Good | Moderate |

Types of jobs you can qualify for | Civil engineer Project engineer Structural engineer Transportation engineer Geotechnical engineer Water resources engineer Construction engineer | Data analyst Data scientist Software engineer Math teacher Actuarial analyst Financial analyst |

Difficulty of the major | Hard | Hard |

Key things to note | A relatively secure field once you are able to land a job. Employable with just a bachelor’s degree. High-stress work environment in the early years. High job satisfaction and fulfillment. Low predicted job growth over the next decade. The work environment can be more physically active than most jobs since you’ll need to go to the construction locations occasionally. However, there is also a lot of meetings and design work using computer software. | Not a very employable degree by itself if you do not take applied electives. Very employable if you combine it with a more applied minor such as computer science. Also employable if you combine it with programming and data analysis skills. |

Source for civil engineering degree salary and jobs

There are important things to consider when choosing between the two degrees since they can take you down very different paths. Also, there are some things to consider if you do choose either of them such as which classes you should take.

## Details about a degree in civil engineering

Below are some details about the civil engineering major.

#### Pay

According to Payscale, the average pay for a person with a degree in civil engineering is $70,508. This is higher than the average pay for most majors. However, it is a lot lower than alternative engineering majors such as computer engineering ($87,000) and electrical engineering ($92,000). It is also slightly lower than the average reported pay for mathematics ($76,000). This might be because mathematics can qualify you for software engineering and data science roles if combined with computer science which people often do.

#### Jobs

On one hand, civil engineering could be seen as a safe major because there will always be buildings, dams, highways, stadiums, etc that need to be built. As a result, once you are able to get a job in civil engineering, it is typically seen as a relatively secure job to have.

However, it can be tricky to find a job at the entry-level and the price of the job security is that the pay is slightly lower than alternative majors such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. Also, because you will be building structures that many people will be using and that cost millions of dollars, it can be a very stressful job, especially in the early years. Although, it is also typically a very interesting field to work in, and completing a project successfully can be very fulfilling.

Jobs that you can get with a civil engineering degree include:

- Civil engineer
- Project engineer
- Structural engineer
- Transportation engineer
- Geotechnical engineer
- Water resources engineer
- Construction engineer

Civil engineering has a number of sub-fields and you will need to specialize in one of them before getting a job.

The subfields include:

**Construction engineering**. This involves managing the project as it is underway and building the temporary structures that are used while constructing the actual structure.

**Geotechnical engineering**. This involves ensuring that the foundations of the structure are well built.

**Structural engineering.** This involves designing the structure and ensuring that it will be able to support itself.

**Transportation engineering**. This involves building and maintaining streets, highways, airports, docks, and harbors.

**Water resource engineering**. This involves managing water resources by designing new equipment and facilities.

#### Difficulty

Civil engineering is a difficult degree that will involve a lot of mathematics including calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. It will also involve some physics and the engineering classes themselves can be difficult. There will also be a lot of lab classes that will involve a lot of projects. When compared with a math major, you can expect them both to be equivalently difficult.

#### Classes

Classes that you can expect to take in a civil engineering degree can include:

Calculus

Linear algebra

Differential equations

Physics

Mechanics

Introduction to programming

Introduction to civil engineering

Civil engineering materials

Fluid mechanics

Mechanics of structures

Statics

Structural engineering

Water resources engineering

Geotechnical engineering

Transportation engineering

Construction engineering

You can also expect to take more specialized classes related to the specialization that you choose.

#### Things to consider

Before choosing civil engineering and the university that you want to go to, it would help to research the type of civil engineering you are most interested in. This is so that you know what to specialize in and so that you know what university to choose because some universities will only offer certain specializations.

## Details about a math degree

Below are some key details about the math major.

#### Current pay

According to Payscale, the average pay for someone with a bachelor’s in mathematics is $76,684.

Something to consider is that many of the more mathematical and well-paid jobs, such as a data scientist or machine learning engineer, will often require a master’s degree and that you take classes related to data science and machine learning.

#### Types of jobs the degree will qualify you for

Since mathematics is used in many different fields, a math degree will open you up to many different job opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for mathematicians (and statisticians) will rise by 33% by 2026. This is mainly due to the surge in data that companies have been receiving in recent years that they need people with mathematical and statistical skills to make sense of.

However, many of the jobs that mathematicians tend to seek such as a quantitative researcher or machine learning engineer require a master’s degree.

With that being said, even with just a bachelor’s degree there will be many different jobs that you will qualify for.

However, math is a general degree that is **not specific to a certain type of job in the way something such as computer science or the different engineering degrees are**. This means that you should take courses from the field that you want to enter and do internships and projects in that field as well in order to be competitive when seeking a job.

For example, many math majors go into software engineering after graduation. If you want to qualify for software engineering jobs then **make sure to take a data structures class and an algorithms class** and try to get some internships as a software engineer while in college.

Before choosing your electives I would strongly recommend that you consider what you want to do after college and make sure to take classes related to that.

Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a master’s in math could include:

- Machine learning engineer
- Data scientist
- Quantitative researcher
- Math teacher

Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s in math could include:

- Financial analyst
- Insurance underwriter
- Data analyst
- Software engineer
- Market researcher
- Actuary (requires lots of statistics classes)

With that being said, there are some people that have gotten data science and machine learning jobs with just a bachelor’s. It would greatly improve your chances if you were to make sure to complete machine learning and data science projects and to do internships in those fields as an undergrad.

#### Types of classes you will study

As a math major you can expect to take the following classes:

Differential calculus

Integral calculus

Multivariate calculus

Differential equations

Linear algebra

Discrete math

Abstract algebra

Real analysis

Number theory

You can also expect to have the option to select from a range of other advanced math classes or related classes from other disciplines such as statistics, computer science, physics and engineering.

#### How difficult it is as a major

The math major is generally considered as being one of the hardest undergraduate degrees available. It becomes especially hard when you enter your junior year since most of your classes will be proof-based which tend to be much harder than the more computational classes.

#### Some things to consider about the major

A math degree can open up many different possible avenues for yourself and can be a very good degree when combined with a more applied minor. This is because the mathematics taught in a math major is useful in a wide variety of fields but you will need to supplement it with some field-specific coursework.

A very good combination would be to major in mathematics and to minor in computer science. Doing this would open you up to job roles such as data science, machine learning engineer, data analysis and software engineering. Alternatively, majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics is also a very good combination.

If you want to go down the data science or machine learning route, it would also help to make sure to take some statistics and data analysis classes. However, in this case, it would likely be better to major in statistics and to minor in CS or minor in stats and major in CS.

#### More details about the math major

I have written more about how to do well in a math major here and I have written more about whether or not a math degree is worth it here.

## Reasons to choose a math degree

While a math degree is not as applied to types of jobs like civil engineering is,** it can still be very employable if you combine it with something such as computer science and statistics.**

Also, math can be very useful when applying to graduate school as it is a lack of math classes that often makes students less competitive. Although, again, it will still be important to take classes related to the discipline that you are interested in.

If you do choose to get a math degree, it would help a lot to consider what you would like to do after graduating and to make sure to take classes related to that. It would also help to try to complete projects and to do summer internships related to a job you are interested in to make your job search much easier after graduation.

Also, I would recommend choosing applied mathematics over pure mathematics because applied mathematics tends to be the more employable of the two.

## Reasons to choose civil engineering

When compared with a math degree by itself, you can expect a civil engineering degree to qualify you for more jobs at the entry-level.

Also, the math used in a civil engineering degree will usually be much more computational than the math in advanced math classes. Most students tend to prefer these computational classes over the proof-based math classes.

Furthermore, the jobs that a civil engineering degree can qualify you for tend to be very interesting jobs that have high levels of satisfaction. But, they can also be stressful especially in the earlier years.