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

| Applied math | Statistics |

Average pay | $76,007 | $69,767 |

Ease of finding a job | Moderate | Moderate |

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 | Hard | Hard |

Key things to note | Can be very employable depending on the specific program. Many of the more lucrative math jobs require a master’s degree. The degree is a lot more employable if you combine it with computer science and data analysis. | A moderately employable degree on its own. 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 applied math 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 them.

## Details about a degree in statistics

Below are some key details about the statistics 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 statistics is $69,767.

#### 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, statistics is a general degree that is not specific to a certain type of job in the way something such as computer science is to software engineering. **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 stats 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. It would also help to complete some software engineering projects that you can use to showcase your skills.

Another popular path for statistics majors to take is of data science. In that case, it would help to take classes related to machine learning, data analysis and programming. It would also help to make sure to learn how to program in R and Python as they are common languages used in data science.

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 degree in statistics could include:

- Machine learning engineer
- Data scientist
- Quantitative researcher

Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in statistics 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. 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 undergraduate. It would also likely help to take computer science classes in your electives, especially data structures and algorithms and also to learn to program in R and Python.

#### 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

In addition, you will be able to choose more specialized statistics classes as well as classes from related disciplines such as mathematics and computer science.

#### How difficult it is as a major

The statistics major is generally considered as being a difficult major. However, you can expect it to be about the same level of difficulty as most engineering degrees which can also be difficult. Some of the more advanced classes can be proof-based which are usually much harder than the more computational classes but you might not have to take those classes depending on your specific program.

#### Some things to consider about the major

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 so that you are able to show that you can apply the statistics to those fields.

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.

#### 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.

## Details about a degree in applied math

Below are details about the applied math major.

### Job outlook

According to Payscale, the average salary for someone that has an applied math degree is $76,007.

### 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.

With that being said, 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. It would also help to complete data science projects so that you can showcase your skills.

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
- Quantitative researcher
- Math teacher
- Cryptographer
- Machine learning engineer

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
- Actuary

Also, while it is true that many data science and machine learning jobs often require a master’s degree, it is also the case that many people have gotten those jobs with a bachelor’s degree. If you can showcase your ability in data science or machine learning with projects, you should be able to make yourself competitive for these roles with just a bachelor’s degree.

### 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:

- Calculus
- Linear algebra
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Partial differential equations
- Graph theory
- Numerical analysis
- Combinatorics

Classes from other fields that you might take could include:

- Computer science
- Algorithms
- Statistics
- Probability
- Big data
- Machine learning and data science
- Physics

### 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. It will also be important to learn things such as programming in your own time.

### 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 applied math degree because it will involve more statistics and data analysis classes.

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 and to try to participate in research projects.

#### Reasons to choose a math degree

There are some reasons why an applied 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 provided that you also take multiple computer science classes. An applied 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.

An advantage an applied math degree has is that it will usually allow you to take classes from multiple different fields. If you do choose an applied math degree, it would help a lot to consider what sort of job you are looking for and to take classes related to that type of job.

#### 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.