What is Math?
The study of mathematics offers students access to virtually all disciplines of a liberal arts education. Students with a lively aesthetic sense will find mathematics to be a subject of austere yet compelling beauty whose scope is limited only by one’s imagination and ingenuity. Students interested in the natural and physical world will find mathematics to be an essential tool in the biological and physical sciences. Students drawn to the social and behavioral sciences will find mathematics to be an integral part of research in disciplines such as sociology and psychology. Students who are considering the business, law, or medial professions will find that mathematics teaches them to think clearly, logically, and creatively about ideas ranging from the abstract to the concrete.
The Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics has two possible concentrations, the Liberal Arts and High School Teaching. You may opt for this major, particularly the Liberal Arts track, if you are considering a double major. A degree in math shows employers that you have quantitative skills and that you can think logically to solve problems. The Liberal Arts emphasis provides a liberal education in mathematics. There are very few required courses compared to some of the other majors, which may appeal to you if you want a more personally tailored academic experience. The High School Teaching emphasis prepares students to pursue the California single subject teaching credential. It examines the historical context of mathematics, covers a broad range of concepts, and touches upon applications of familiar theorems.
The Bachelor of Science in Mathematics is suitable if you wish to study the stuff of mathematics. As opposed to a computational approach that many are exposed to in lower division calculus classes, this degree dives well beyond the shallow waters of formulas and calculators into a world of mathematical theory.
How Can I Tell If I Would Like Math?
Unlike a lot of majors, Mathematics and Math Science are not difficult to learn about. If you’re on the UCSB campus as you read this, head over the UCen Bookstore and open up some of the texts down in the math section. What you see is what you’ll learn. Also, math professionals are eager to share information about their careers. We find more career evangelism among math professionals than almost any other career field.
What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?
Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the Undergraduate Department Advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings. Faculty in the Departments of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences are organized into the following areas:
- Applied Math
- Number Theory
To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:
- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.
- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.
What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?
- Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
- Choose a complementary minor.
- Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
- Develop your computer skills.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Study abroad.
- Join professional associations.
- Get involved in student clubs.
- Participate in community organizations.
- Seek out leadership positions.
- Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
- Network with others in fields that interest you.
What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Math majors with a strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in hundreds of fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:
- Top & mid-level manager
- Computer systems analyst
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Engineer
- Actuary – Insurance Industry Careers
- Researcher – Operations
- Business Owner
- Cryptographer – computer security expert
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn.
Mathematical Career Information
General information from the American Mathematical Society.
Mathematical Association of America
Learn about careers, conferences and meetings, graduate study, research opportunities, internships, summer programs, and study abroad opportunities in this field.
Careers That Use Math
An excellent list with salary information and links to additional career information.
What can I do with a major in mathematics?
A great site from the University of North Carolina Wilmington
Possible Careers in Math
Not sure what you can do with a degree in mathematics? Take a look at this site to get some ideas!
Becoming a Math Teacher
Find more information about how to become a math teacher here
Math Teacher Job Description
Look at this site to see what being a math teacher is all about.
A good source for overall Ph.D. information that is often a bit more frank than anything from formal publishers.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.
This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.
Come to the Career Resource Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.
Build your qualifications by exploring various opportunities to get experience in your field of interest.
Locate positions in Banking, Insurance or Finance.
AMS Job Resource
Provides listing of jobs for mathematicians.
MAA Math classifieds
View and apply to jobs in mathematics
Find jobs in Business and Finance sector for PhD students.
SIAM Job Board
Browse online employment opportunities from SIAM News and other sources.
UCSB Career Services “Job Search” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, Industry Specific, and UCSB Careers By Majors.
When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.
The UCSB Math Club!
The purpose of the UCSB Math Club is to foster informal interaction between undergraduate mathematics majors, graduate students in mathematics and mathematics faculty.
American Mathematical Society
Gives information on how to advance within the mathematics profession with information on publication, meetings, membership, programs, etc.
Association for Women in Mathematics
The Association for Women in Mathematics encourages women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and promotes equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences.
Mathematical Association of America
An organization for people who love the mathematical sciences. Check Student Chapters under their Professional Development tab.
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Their mission is to build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology through our publications, research, and community.
- Check out the UCSB Math Club
- Mathematics for High School Teaching
-Astronomy and Planetary Science