Types Of Mathematics Courses (With How-To And Careers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The study of mathematics is concerned with numbers, formulas, shapes, spaces, quantities and their changes. There are many applications of mathematics in various fields, including natural science, computer science, engineering, psychology, medicine and economics. If you are pursuing a mathematics degree, it may be useful to know what types of math courses are available. In this article, we discuss various types of mathematics courses, describe the skills and knowledge you can acquire from them, learn how to get a math degree and explore some job opportunities.

Types of mathematics courses

Learning more about the types of mathematics courses can help you decide whether you want to major in mathematics. It is common for math students to learn procedures for solving numerical problems in algebra, geometry and number systems as part of their formal education. As a graduate in mathematics, you may work on a variety of problems in multiple fields, including statistics, physics, engineering and other disciplines. Mathematics majors take a wide variety of required and elective courses depending on where they study. Here are a few of them:

Applied mathematics

Engineering, science and computer majors commonly pursue an applied mathematics degree, as it gives them the practical knowledge to apply mathematical theories and techniques to real-world problems. Majors in this area can also make valuable contributions to biomedical sciences, engineering, social sciences and the humanities. The coursework in applied mathematics requires students to have a strong understanding of computation methods and algorithms. Topics studied by students of applied mathematics include:

  • Optimisation theory

  • Calculus

  • Numerical analysis

  • Systems design

  • Linear algebra

  • Nonlinear dynamics

  • Information theory

  • Computational mathematics

  • Computer science

Graduates with a degree in applied mathematics can find employment as bankers, auditors, actuaries and statisticians.

Statistics

Studying statistics teaches students how to collect, analyse and interpret data, which is the foundation for quantitative reasoning. Students also learn how to present arguments and conclusions based on data effectively. A graduate in statistics can find employment in many sectors, including government, private companies, universities and research laboratories. Some topics that the students may study include:

  • Calculus

  • Probability

  • Applied statistics

  • Theoretical statistics

  • Linear algebra

  • Statistical computing

With so many practical applications of statistics, there are a variety of career paths available to holders of a degree in statistics. Some of them include professions such as business analyst, economist, statistician, database administrator, data scientist and financial analyst.

Related: How To Become A Data Analyst: A Complete Guide

Graph theory

In mathematics, graph theory plays an important role in structural models. Researchers can use graphs for research in areas like data mining, clustering, image capturing, networking and data structures. By analysing graphs through a framework, researchers can generate solutions for many networking, optimisation, matching and operational problems. Students majoring in graph theory typically take the following courses:

  • Combinatorics

  • Spectral graph theory

  • Factorisation

  • Domination theory

Professionals can work in fields related to computer science, teaching, medical research and computational finance.

Related: What Does A Data Scientist Do? And How To Become One

Pure mathematics

A pure mathematics student becomes familiar with the concepts and structures such as calculus, algebra and geometry that form the basis of all mathematics. Students can develop competencies such as analytical thinking, problem-solving, critical thinking and modelling as part of their study of algebra, numbers and geometry. Some topics that students may encounter are:

  • Linear algebra

  • Advanced calculus

  • Modelling

  • Real and complex analysis

  • Geometry or topology

Students who hold a degree in pure mathematics can excel in a variety of fields because of their analytical and problem-solving skills. These professionals can work in fields such as teaching, finance, medical and scientific research and accounting.

Discrete mathematics

A discrete mathematics study deals with mathematical structures that are discrete as opposed to continuous. This program is very helpful in developing reasoning skills and problem-solving abilities. It finds its applications in areas such as computer graphics, cryptography, image processing and databases. Some topics that students may study are:

  • Number theory

  • Mathematical logic

  • Mathematical induction

  • Set theory

  • Computer graphics

Students who hold a degree in discrete mathematics may find employment as data analysts, cryptographers, stock or commodity traders and economic researchers.

Related: How To Become A Teacher: Steps And Additional Tips

Computational mathematics

By using algorithms, numerical methods and symbolic computation, students conduct research in mathematics and other science fields where computation is a fundamental component. Research in computational mathematics has applications in various fields, including data analysis, signal processing, fluid mechanics and biological networks. Topics studied by students of computational mathematics include:

  • Numerical analysis

  • Mathematics for machine learning and data science

  • Numerical and non-linear algebra

  • Machine arithmetic

Graduates with a degree in computational mathematics can find employment as a data analyst, computer programmer, demographer and computational engineer.

How to become a math major

The following steps can help you pursue a career in mathematics:

1. Complete your education

Obtaining a higher secondary education from a board recognised by the Government of India is the first step towards becoming a professional in mathematics. Students may benefit from choosing a science stream since it includes subjects such as linear algebra, calculus, statistics and mathematical logic that cover the basics of mathematics. You can use this knowledge to better understand mathematics when you pursue a graduate degree in it.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

After completing higher secondary education, you may join a college that offers Bachelor of Science (BSc) courses in mathematics. The degree course helps students build a solid foundation for further studies. Some colleges offer these degrees based on scores in 10+2, while others conduct their entrance tests. Some entrance tests that you can appear for are Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET), Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) and Chennai Mathematical Institute Entrance Test.

3. Pursue a master's degree

To gain an advanced level of understanding of the subject, you can pursue a Master of Science (MSc) course in mathematics. Before applying for a master's, it is essential that candidates possess a bachelor's degree in the related field from a recognised institution. For admission, students may require taking an additional university-level entrance exam. Some entrance tests that you can appear for are the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST), IIT Joint Admission Test for MSc (IIT JAM) and Delhi University Entrance Test for MSc (DUET).

4. Build a resume and apply for jobs

Internships are a good way to develop your skills in this field. In addition, you can build a network of professionals who work in the same domain to be aware of the latest developments and job openings. In an interview, you can increase your chances of being selected by having a good resume, which showcases your skills and experiences.

6 Jobs for mathematics majors

There are many career paths you can pursue with a math degree, including:

1. Statistician

National average salary: ₹5,08,682 per year

Primary duties: Statisticians help identify trends and resolve issues by using statistical modelling. These professionals also identify industry trends and prepare forecasts that help with strategic planning. Their responsibilities include recording processes and staying current with technological advances in statistical analysis.

2. Economist

National average salary: ₹7,00,073 per year

Primary duties: Economists examine the relationship between the economy and society and how society uses its resources. Economists study institutions, local communities and even nations. They devise policies, plans or recommendations to resolve economic problems or interpret market trends. Businesses, government agencies and other employers can also seek their advice and consultation on economic relations.

Related: Types Of Economists: Work Environment, Job Role And Salary

3. Computer scientist

National average salary: ₹18,32,263 per year

Primary duties: These professionals design, implement and measure the efficiency of computer systems, processes and components. Computer scientists also use mathematical foundations and algorithms to model and design computer-based systems. By collaborating with software developers and engineers, they develop new technology.

4. Actuary

National average salary: ₹9,92,596 per year

Primary duties: Actuaries conduct risk analyses based on numerical data. The work of an actuary involves complex calculations to determine the likelihood of event outcomes, such as illnesses, accidents, investments and consumer demand. Actuaries communicate their findings and recommendations to shareholders, government officials, corporate executives and shareholders.

5. Research analyst

National average salary: ₹3,92,497 per year

Primary duties: Research analysts curate data and report on stocks, assets and securities. In addition to being familiar with economic principles and theories, research analysts are well-versed in consumer markets. They use this knowledge to examine and interpret public documents related to companies, securities and stocks.

6. Accountant

National average salary: ₹2,49,919 per year

Primary duties: Accounting professionals handle financial records and analyse data, budgets, tax returns, financial reports, financial statements and accounting records to ensure their companies and organisations operate efficiently. They also provide guidance on reducing costs, increasing revenues and maximising profits. It is also their responsibility to make sure that the records of their clients comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

Explore more articles