If you are thinking of getting an applied math degree then you are probably wondering whether or not it is a good degree to get.
This post will show you whether or not applied math will be a good major for you and some things that you might want to consider.
So, is applied math a good major? Applied math can be a very marketable major provided that you take classes from the field that you want to enter. However, it is a challenging degree to obtain.
There are actually a number of things to consider if you are thinking of getting an applied math degree and there are a number of alternatives that you might prefer.
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 skills to make sense of. This is good for an applied math major which will normally include some statistics as well as math.
According to Payscale, the average salary for someone that has an applied math degree is $73,000. This is $12,000 more than the average across all majors.
Jobs you can get with an applied math degree
Since applied math is used in many different fields and since it has many different use cases, an applied math degree will open you up to many different job opportunities.
With that being said, something to consider is that many of the more lucrative jobs will require a master’s degree.
However, there are many jobs that an applied math bachelor’s degree will qualify you for.
However, since applied math is a general degree not specific to a certain job field it would help to also take classes from the field that you want to enter. The reason for this is that, while an applied math degree will qualify you for many jobs, having knowledge for that specific domain will be very useful.
For example, if you want to get into data science then taking lots of statistics, computer science and data analytics classes will help you a lot.
In addition to taking classes relevant to the field that you want to enter it would be very helpful to try and get some internships in that field while you are an undergrad.
You’ll likely be taking a number of computer science classes as part of an applied math degree. Many applied math majors go on to become software engineers since it is a highly rated job for people with a bachelor’s degree.
If the applied math degree at your college does not require a data structures or an algorithms class it would broaden your job opportunities a lot if you were to choose them as electives.
Jobs that you could get with a master’s degree in applied math could include:
- Data scientist
- Machine learning engineer
- Quantitative researcher
- Math teacher
Jobs that you could get with a bachelor’s degree in applied math could include:
- Business analyst
- Financial analyst
- Insurance underwriter
- Data analyst
- Software engineer
- Market researcher
- Digital marketer
Classes you will be taking in applied math
An applied math degree will allow you to take a number of classes from a number of different fields.
Most of the classes you will take will be math classes including:
- Linear algebra
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Partial differential equations
- Graph theory
- Numerical analysis
Classes from other fields that you might take could include:
- Computer science
- Big data
Alternatives to an applied math degree
If you are thinking of getting an applied math degree then there are a number of other degrees that you might want to consider which can include:
You can click on their links to see what I have written about them as majors themselves.
Is an applied math degree marketable?
How marketable an applied math degree will be will depend a lot on what you do in your time in the major and the classes you take.
If you take classes relevant to the types of jobs that you want to get upon graduating then it will be a very marketable degree. It will be especially marketable if you also can get some summer internships and do some projects in the field that you want to enter.
If you just take the traditional courses, while in the major, it will still be marketable for many different jobs such as data analytics. But you will have to do some extra work to increase your skills in that particular area.
For example, if you want to get a job in data analytics, but you didn’t take many data analysis classes then you could work through the material on websites such as Datacamp in your spare time.
Should I do applied math or statistics?
Applied math and statistics will both feature a number of the same courses. The difference between then will be that applied math will not require many statistics classes but more classes from mathematics such as differential equations. Whereas, statistics will require fewer upper-division math classes but more stats classes.
The major that would be best for you will depend on what interests you and what you want to do after college. If you enjoy working with data and you want to work as a data scientist then statistics would be marginally better (but applied math would still be good especially if you take stats and cs classes).
One thing to consider is that applied math degrees do tend to give you a lot of flexibility in the types of classes that you take so you could make the degree be very close to a stats degree if you wanted to.
Should I do applied or pure math?
Applied math will allow you to take more classes from different fields such as statistics or computer science. Applied math will also feature fewer proof-based classes. These factors will generally mean that an applied math degree will be more marketable and easier since most students struggle with proof-based classes.
However, if you want to go to graduate school for a mathematical subject then you will often find that a math degree would be more useful.
Is a bachelor’s degree in applied math sufficient?
As mentioned above, many of the more math-heavy jobs will require a master’s degree in mathematics.
However, there will be many jobs that an applied math degree will qualify you for. Before choosing your classes it would help to consider the job that you want and to pick your classes accordingly.
Applied math is a difficult major
Applied math is classed as a STEM major. Data shows that 35% of those who initially choose a STEM major switch out of the major within three years.
The reason for this is likely to be that STEM majors tend to require a much larger time commitment than most people are used to.
While an applied math degree will not feature as many proof-based classes and a pure math degree, the classes will still be challenging and you will have to study a lot in the major.
How difficult the degree will be for you will depend on how much math you have already done. If you have already taken a number of math classes in high school and done well in them then you will be more likely to do well in an applied math major.
With that being said, the degree will be designed assuming that you are starting without much prerequisite knowledge so it will still be possible for you to do well in the major if you haven’t studied much math. However, you will likely have to study a lot more than you are used to.
Another thing to consider is your level of interest in the degree. If you find things such as physics, math, data and computing interesting then an applied math degree will likely be easier and more rewarding for you. This is because it will be easier for you to motivate yourself to study when things are getting challenging.