Many high school students are itching to get out of the house and start working as soon as they start college. You’re not the only one who wonders how long it will take to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. If you’re serious about pursuing a particular career, you should think about the educational requirements for that position. Most math majors expect to be in school for at least four years, and possibly much longer.
Mathematical Science as a Major
To earn a traditional bachelor’s degree, students must complete 120 college credits or four years of full-time study. While many students complete their bachelor’s degrees in four years, this is not always the case, especially if they are part-time students who change their majors or take longer to complete an internship or co-op program.
Math majors typically have to take calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and differential equations as part of their college math curriculum. Federal government jobs such as mathematician or statistician, as well as actuary and operations research analyst, are all possible with a bachelor’s degree in math, according to the BLS. A bachelor’s degree and a teaching license are also typically required for math teachers.
Professional certification exams and practical experience may be required for even non-graduate-level math jobs.
Mathematical Master’s Degree
The BLS found that the majority of job opportunities for mathematicians and statisticians require a master’s degree. Private sector mathematicians and statisticians work in fields like scientific research and development, financial services and insurance, healthcare and social assistance, and management consulting, amongst other fields.
Math master’s degrees are typically completed in two years. Mathematicians who plan on pursuing a career in the field must decide between theoretical and applied mathematics. An advanced professional degree, such as a master’s in a particular field, may be considered a terminal degree. A traditional research-based master’s degree may serve as preparation for an advanced degree in theoretical mathematics, but professional graduate degrees in mathematics are more common.
Statistics, actuarial science, operations research, and mathematics education are some of the other graduate-level math courses available.
Ph.D. level mathematics
Mathematicians with a Ph.D. degree can only play certain roles. A doctoral degree may be your only option if you want to teach or conduct research in mathematics at a college or university. Additionally, a doctoral degree holder could work in government or private industry, such as business.
A PhD in mathematics is a significant undertaking. Doctoral degrees, on average, take longer to complete than bachelor’s degrees to complete. Before earning a degree, students can expect to put in two to three years of class time and even more time in research. It takes an average of eight years for a student to complete a Ph.D. program, according to CBS News, which notes that many students who enroll in doctoral programs never complete their studies.
According to CBS, only 57 percent of Ph.D. students who are accepted into a program complete their degree within ten years of starting their studies. Those who don’t finish their doctoral degrees do so after spending years and thousands of dollars on tuition.
Tips for Speeding Up Your Math Degree
Students who plan to study mathematics should anticipate spending at least a few years in college – and in some cases, a decade or more – doing so. However, there are steps you can take early on that will help you graduate faster and get a job sooner… Nontraditional students can look for degree programs with generous transfer credit policies or competency-based curricula if they have prior college credits or significant work or life experience. Students can get their credits faster with a competency-based program because they can test out of modules they already know the material for. As a high school student, you can begin taking AP classes in math and other subjects. In the event that you pass your AP exam, you may be eligible for college credit.
While two-year associate’s degree programs in math are available at community colleges, these programs are more likely to prepare students for further study at the bachelor’s degree level than for employment in the field of mathematics.