If you are thinking of getting a master’s degree in mathematics then you might be wondering whether or not it will be worth it.
This post will show you whether or not you should get a master’s degree in math and some other things that you might want to consider.
So, is a master’s degree in math worth it? A master’s degree will help you qualify for a number of more lucrative jobs that you couldn’t get with a bachelor’s. However, it can be a difficult degree to market if you don’t take classes relevant to the field you want to enter and it is a challenging master’s degree.
There are actually a number of things to consider when deciding on whether or not to get a master’s degree in mathematics and there are a number of alternatives that you might want to consider.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for mathematicians 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 statistical and mathematical skills to make sense of.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a master’s degree in mathematics is $79,000. This is only $4000 more than the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics based on Payscales numbers.
However, something to consider is that the bachelor’s degree data is based on 7,633 respondents. Whereas, the master’s data is only based on 626 respondents.
Types of jobs you can get with a math master’s degree
While a math bachelor’s degree can qualify you for a number of well paid and satisfying jobs, a master’s degree will help you to qualify for a number of even more highly sought after positions.
Jobs that a master’s degree in math can help you qualify for can include:
- Data scientist
- Machine learning engineer
- Quantitative researcher
- Math teacher
- Mathematical modeler
However, something to consider is that the types of jobs that you will qualify for will depend a lot on the classes that you take.
Most math master’s degrees will give you the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes. Before deciding on a math master’s degree it would help to consider what job you want after graduation and then to decide on a program and course sequence after that.
For example, if you want to become a data scientist then you should look for math master’s programs that feature a specialization in data science or that are heavy on statistics and data analysis.
Also, you will be able to improve your job prospects a lot if you are able to do an internship in the field that you want to enter and some projects relevant to that field.
Classes that you will be taking
A math master’s degree will offer the opportunity to take a wide number of different types of classes.
The classes that you will have to choose from will depend a lot on the program that you choose. At some colleges, a math master’s degree will be heavy on traditional math subjects such as partial differential equations, differential geometry or number theory.
Whereas, at other colleges, a math master’s degree will be much more applied and feature more courses in statistics and data analysis.
If you are thinking of getting a math master’s degree then there are a number of other degrees that you might want to consider.
Alternative degrees could include:
- Applied math
- Computer science
- Data science
Is a math master’s degree marketable?
How marketable a math master’s degree will be for you will highly depend on the jobs you are looking for, the program you choose and the classes that you take.
If you know that you want a job in machine learning for example, then choosing a program that features a machine learning or statistical learning specialization and taking relevant courses will make it much easier for you to market your degree.
Additionally, how marketable the degree will be for you will depend on what you do while completing the degree. If you are able to get an internship and to do a number of projects related to the job that you want then it will make it a lot easier for you to market your math master’s degree.
Should I do applied math instead?
According to Payscale, the average salary of an applied math master’s degree holder is $83,000 based on 372 respondents. This is $4000 higher than a math master’s degree.
Often, depending on the program you will often find that a math master’s degree can often be very similar to an applied math master’s degree and vice versa.
The best one for you will depend the most on what you want to do with the degree. I would recommend looking at the requirements of the types of jobs that you want to get and look for programs that offer courses that are relevant to that type of job. It would also help to talk to people currently working or hiring in that field as well.
Should I do a master’s degree in statistics instead?
Since businesses are getting more and more data that they need to make sense of the demand for people with statistical skills is increasing quickly. So, you will often find that a statistics degree will be very marketable.
With that being said, similarly as with above, the better option for you will depend on what you want to do with the degree. If the job you want involves dealing with a lot of data then you will likely find that a statistics program with a specialization for that field would be ideal.
Will the jobs be much better than I’d get with a bachelor’s degree?
While there are many jobs that a bachelor’s in math can qualify you for that I have written about here there are also a number of jobs that a master’s in math will qualify you for. You will also often find that the career progression in these jobs will be better for people with a master’s degree.
Before deciding on whether or not you want to get a master’s degree in math it would help to consider what job it is that you want and what the requirements are for it. Doing this will also make it easier for you to choose a master’s program, the classes that you should take and whether or not it will even be necessary.
Math is not an easy master’s degree
Something to consider is that math is not an easy master’s degree to obtain. Some of the classes can be very theoretical and heavy on proofs depending on the program and specialization.
How difficult the degree will be for you will depend a lot on the amount of math that you have done already. If you have already done a number of proof-based math classes and you did well in them then you will likely be able to also do well in a math masters degree as well.
If you have not done many proof-based math classes then you might want to consider going down the applied math or statistics route instead. Alternatively, you can take a number of proof-based classes, while you’re still an undergrad if you can this would also help make your application more competitive.