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Why Major in Mathematics?



  • You like it and/or you're good at it. Do you really need another reason? If not, see Professor Williams to sign up. If you need a little more convincing, read on.

  • Professional graduate schools (business, law, medicine) think it's a great major because they realize that studying mathematics develops analytical skills and the ability to work in a problem solving environment; these are skills and experience which rank high on their list of assets.

  • Jobs in the private sector abound: Whether you're interested in developing models and interpreting their results, or are interested in developing efficient algorithms to expedite known processes, mathematics and computer science are the tools of choice.

    • Models are needed to investigate air flow across the surface of aircraft wings, chemical and biological processes, astronomical trajectories and urban development. These models need to be designed, created, the data from them collected and analyzed, conclusions drawn and predictions made from them.
    • Possibly your interest is in the construction of the model; maybe it's in what the model tells you about the situation being modelled; maybe it's in how to collect and organize the data for analysis, or maybe it's in the analysis of the data itself. Maybe your interest is in developing a system to keep the data secure, or in developing your talents to circumvent the existing security of a data system.
    • Maybe .... Well, you get the idea.

  • An academic career, whether in grades 1-12 or at the college level, can be an exciting and interactive environment. The opportunity to pursue your own research projects is often not available in the private sector, and is a very important consideration in your choice of career.

  • Finally, in the 1995 National Business Employment Weekly Jobs Rated Almanac, a publication which rates jobs on the basis of job satisfaction, income, security, etc., Mathematics rated sixth out of 250 jobs rated. Many of the other jobs rated higher than Mathematics also involved significant mathematical reasoning and knowledge.

  • Need I say more?

For more information about nonacademic careers in mathematics please visit the Mathematical Sciences Career Website. For more information about the Mathematics Department at Dartmouth, please visit our Web site).