If you are deciding between majoring in math or statistics, 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:**

Math | Statistics | |

Average pay | $76,684 | $69,767 |

Ease of finding a job | Moderate | Moderate/Good |

Types of jobs you can qualify for | Data analyst Data scientist Software engineer Math teacher Actuarial analyst Financial analyst | Data analyst Data scientist Software engineer Financial analyst Actuarial analyst |

Difficulty of the major | High | High |

Key things to note | Very employable if you combine it with a more applied minor such as computer science. Also employable if you combine it with programming, statistics and data analysis skills. Can be difficult to find a job with just a math major. Becomes very difficult in the junior and senior years when you start taking proof-heavy classes. | More employable than a math degree by itself. But, still not as employable as alternatives such as a CS degree. 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. Can be difficult to find a job with just a statistics bachelor’s degree. |

Source for statistics salary and jobs

As you can see from the table, there are many similarities between the two degrees. However, there are many things to consider when choosing between the two degrees. There are also alternative degrees that you might want to consider and there are some things you should consider doing when you choose either of the degrees.

## Details about a degree in math

Below are some key details about the math major.

#### Current pay

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.

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.

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 is**. 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 stats classes)

With that being said, there are some people that have gotten data science and machine learning jobs with just a bachelor’s degree in math. 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

#### 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. 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.

## Details about a statistics major

Below are some key details about the statistics major.

#### Current pay

As mentioned above, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for mathematicians and statisticians will rise by 33% by 2026. This means that statistians, in particular, will become more highly demanded in future years due to the large amount of data businesses now have access to.

According to Payscale, the average pay for someone with a bachelor’s in statistics is $69,767.

As with a math major, something to consider is that many of the more statistical and well-paid jobs, such as a data scientist or machine learning engineer, will often require a master’s degree.

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

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

However, many of the jobs that stats majors tend to seek such as a quantitative researcher or machine learning engineer often require a master’s degree (but not always). They can also require more specialized knowledge that you might not get in a statistics degree. This is why it would help to make sure to choose your classes according to the job you are most interested in.

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

However, as with a math major, statistics is a general degree that is not specific to a certain job role. If you take a statistics degree, it would help to make sure to combine it with classes that are directly useful in getting a job such as algorithms and data structures from computer science.

It would also help to 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 stats could include:

- Machine learning engineer
- Data scientist
- Quantitative researcher

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

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

As you can see, many of the job roles that math and stats majors will qualify for are similar. However, a stats degree will usually be more relevant to the jobs since they will usually involve statistics and data analysis.

#### Types of classes you will study

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

Differential calculus

Integral calculus

Multivariate calculus

Linear algebra

Discrete math

Probability

Statistics

Mathematical statistics

Data analysis

As you can see, many of the classes are the same as the ones you will take as a math major. However, in a stats major, you won’t be taking as many of the advanced math classes that are proof heavy and you will swap them with statistics, probability and data analysis classes. This makes the stats degree slightly more applied than a math degree.

However, something to be aware of is that, if you want to go to graduate school in statistics, it would help to take real analysis. This is an advanced math class, that many graduate statistics programs require.

#### How difficult it is as a major

The statistics major is generally considered as being a moderately difficult degree. It is considered as being easier than a math degree since you won’t have to take as many of the proof-heavy math classes. However, some of the more advanced statistics classes can be proof-based but still to a lesser extent than the math alternatives.

#### Some things to consider about the major

As with a math degree, a statistics 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 statistics taught in a stats 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 statistics 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. This would likely be a slightly better combination than a math major and a CS minor since the statistics classes will be more suitable for data science and machine learning.

#### More details about the statistics major

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

## Statistics vs math degree

Below are specific reasons to choose one degree over the other.

#### Reasons to choose a statistics degree

Companies are gaining more and more data each year and they need people with statistical, data analysis and machine learning skills to make use of the data. Statistics is a more directly useful degree, in this regard, than a math degree because it will involve more statistics and data analysis classes.

Also statistics is generally considered as an easier degree than a math degree. As a result, you should have more time in a statistics degree to focus on things such as completing projects to help improve your resume, applying to jobs, applying to internships and doing research projects.

With that being said, if you are looking to go to graduate school for statistics, it will still be necessary for you to take some advanced math classes such as real analysis and differential equations. It would also help to take graduate-level statistics classes in your senior year.

#### Reasons to choose a math degree

There are some reasons why a math major can be a good degree. Generally, doing well in higher-level math classes will help you when applying to grad school for things such as statistics or even computer science (although a CS degree would still be better for that). A math degree is also widely useful and can be applied to many different disciplines.

If you major in math and minor in statistics, it can also be a good path into a graduate program in statistics.

If you do decide to major in mathematics, I would strongly recommend that you at least minor in a more applied degree such as computer science and make sure to take a class in data structures and algorithms. **Doing so will help you immensely when applying to jobs.** Also, it would help to make sure that you learn programming and complete projects related to the field that you would like to enter (so complete data science projects if you want to get a data science job).

#### Differences between the classes

Depending on the specific program, the freshman and sophomore years will usually look very similar between a stats and math major. The difference being that you will have more introductory statistics and probability classes as a stats major and a math major should feature a wider range of math classes early on.

The main difference is that, in your junior and senior years, a stats degree will focus more in higher level statistics classes and a math degree will have more advanced math classes.

#### Differences between their difficulty

As mentioned above, a math degree is generally considered as being more difficult because the advanced math classes can be very abstract and the proofs can be very difficult.

However, a statistics degree is also difficult in its own right, so you should be prepared to have to study a lot as a stats major as well.

#### Consider the type of job you’re looking for

When choosing between the majors and the classes that you will be taking, it is important to make sure to consider the types of jobs that you will be applying for.

For example, if you want to get into machine learning, it would help to take stats classes, machine learning specific classes, computer science classes, linear algebra and calculus.

It is important to try to plan out the course sequence that you would like to take as soon as possible so that you can optimize it for the job that you would like to get.

#### Alternative path to consider

If you are interested in getting a math or stats degree, an alternative you might want to consider is to get a computer science degree and to minor in math or stats. A CS degree has some advantages in that it is a very employable degree right out of undergrad and a master’s degree is not required for the good CS jobs.

I have written more about a math vs CS degree here and a stats vs CS degree here.

## Bottom line

Overall, I would suggest majoring in statistics because it is a more applicable degree today due to the vast amounts of data that companies have available to them.

If you do major in math or stats, it would also be strongly recommended to minor in computer science and to make sure to take a class in algorithms and data structures in order to help qualify for more jobs with just a bachelor’s degree.