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Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a Master’s Degree Program in Math

Higher Education Articles September 16, 2015

Various schools offer areas of concentrations along with a master’s degree program in math to suit the career goals of enrolled students. Master’s degree programs in one or more concentrations are offered, including mathematics education, mathematics, financial mathematics and applied mathematics.

Selecting a Master’s Degree Program in Math

Students may choose from math master’s degree programs in a wide range of specializations, such as financial mathematics and math education to financial mathematics, through the math departments of 4-year colleges and universities.

Types of Degrees Offered

Though one or more master’s degree programs are available through many schools in the mathematics disciplines, all students may be awarded a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Arts (M.A.). The variation in degree titles notwithstanding, similar curriculum in each concentration is offered at universities.

Concentrations Offered

Students should research schools that offer the concentration they are interested in studying. A general math background aimed at training students for doctoral-level studies in the field is available through master’s degree programs in mathematics. Schools that offer an applied mathematics program would benefit individuals who seek careers in manufacturing, engineering, operations research or computer science. Students who seek careers in quantitative finance, such as portfolio management or trading would benefit from enrolling in a master’s degree program in financial mathematics. Those who seek careers in teaching would benefit from earning master’s degrees in mathematics education.

Accelerated Study Choices

Accelerated programs are offered to suit the needs of individuals seeking a master’s degree program that lasts less than two years. Some programs are devised to accommodate working professionals’ schedules, and the amount of on-campus participation required can help decide whether or not a working professional can benefit from enrolling in such a program.

Other Resources

Schools also offer programs that culminate in a comprehensive exam, as well as thesis-optional programs. Prospective students must also consider the availability of research grants, internship opportunities and graduate assistantships at their school of choice. Those who seek teaching careers could look for mathematics education programs that offer state teaching certification.

Master’s Programs in Mathematics

Schools aim this degree program at students who wish to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Enrollees are required to complete a master’s thesis or project. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Complex variables
•Calculus
•Real and complex analysis
•Symbolic and abstract algebra
•Differential equations

Master’s Programs in Applied Mathematics

These programs teach students mathematical concepts with practical applications in other fields, such as telecommunications, aerospace equipment manufacturing, engineering research and computer services. A project, thesis, or exam may be a requirement. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Applied statistics
•Complex variables
•Computational theory
•Linear and nonlinear programming
•Numerical analysis

Master’s Programs in Financial Mathematics

Students seeking positions such as financial consultant or risk analyst would benefit from enrolling in this program. An internship may be a requirement. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Quantitative finance
•Numerical analysis
•Statistics
•Stochastic equations
•Financial modeling

Master’s Programs in Mathematics Education

Those seeking teaching careers at a 2-year college, secondary school or middle school could benefit from enrolling into the Mathematics Education and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Mathematics programs. Those who seek teaching credentials may benefit from some programs while teachers seeking expansion of their knowledge would benefit from others. Students looking for credentials and expansion of their knowledge may benefit from other programs. Enrollees may be required to complete a student teaching component. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Fundamental structures of algebra
•Trends in mathematics education
•Teaching methods in secondary mathematics

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