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Published: 23 May 2017

What can you do with a degree in mathematics?

University students who study mathematics are provided with a wealth of highly sought-after skills, allowing them to follow a diverse range of careers. Read on to learn which jobs mathematics graduates are best-suited to; from the obvious to the potentially unexpected.

From finance and banking to engineering and weather forecasting, mathematics is essential for understanding almost every aspect of modern life. Because of this, those who study numbers may find that their career opportunities after graduation are numerous.

Here at Surrey, our mathematics programmes offer vital insight into mathematical applications crucial to social, technological and industrial development. A degree in this challenging, rewarding and stimulating field of study will provide you with a range of valuable transferable skills and can open the door to a variety of careers.

What skills will a mathematics degree teach me?

As a student studying for a mathematics degree you will develop advanced numeracy skills and the ability to effectively investigate, analyse and interpret data. The degree will also greatly enhance your logical thinking.

"I have always loved the challenges that maths has brought and that it is used in a variety of ways. I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering more about the subject and having the flexibility to study areas that I like most.”

Ffion Phillips, BSc Mathematics

You will also develop a handful of crucial employability skills. These include transferable skills such as analytical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, organisation and the ability to work independently, methodically and accurately. Mathematics graduates are also provided with a good grounding in information technology and develop strong computing skills.

These skills are all highly valued by employers in almost any industry, and can open the door to a world of employment opportunities.

What job can I get with a degree in mathematics?

Graduates of mathematics, with their strong numeracy skills, are perhaps most obviously qualified for roles in areas such as:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Market research
  • Banking
  • Actuarial
  • Statistics
  • Insurance
  • Investment and trading
  • Research and academia

However, one of the best things about a degree in mathematics is its flexibility and its value in the job market.

The importance of technology and big data is growing across the world. Pair this with maths graduates’ wide range of transferable skills and you may find that a degree in mathematics could prepare you for a successful career in other, potentially unexpected, areas of work.

Unexpected career paths for mathematics graduates

Meteorology

If you’re a mathematician with your head in the clouds, you could be well-suited to a career as a meteorologist!

Meteorologists use mathematical and computerised approaches to forecast the weather and climate patterns. Their work is useful to many industries, including the media, farming, aviation, shipping, health services, industrial, retail, the government and more.

Dealing with and deciphering a large amount of data is a necessity as a meteorologist, and something that you’ll be well-equipped to handle following your studies. As a maths graduate, your strong analytical and research skills will also put you in good stead to pursue a successful career in this exciting and stimulating field.

Computing and IT

As a maths graduate you will have developed strong computing skills throughout your studies. Computer science is highly mathematical, meaning that as a maths graduates you could be well-suited to a career in IT.

IT is a vast industry and the career options are wide and varied. Your strong communication skills and the ability to work well independently and in a team will also make you a strong candidate for roles in this fast evolving industry. Maths graduates, with their logical minds and strong analytical and numerical skills, could find themselves well-suited to computer programming or software testing roles in particular.

Transport planning

The role of a transport planner is one that is often overlooked, but it is crucial in keeping our country’s transport services moving.

Transport planners undertake the challenging task of monitoring, planning and developing transport systems. They conduct research, deal with large amounts of data, and analyse the information they collect with the help of mathematical and statistical modelling. So it’s not hard to see why maths graduates, with their outstanding research, analytical and problem-solving skills, would be likely to thrive in a career as a transport planner.

Biomathematics

Mathematicians with a curiosity for science may want to consider a career as a biomathematician.

Biomathematicians use maths to solve problems in biology. They do this by utilising mathematical techniques and tools, such as modeling and algorithms, to create models of biological systems. Biomathematicians are employed across various sectors, including healthcare, pharmaceutical, higher education, research and biotechnology, and they are most commonly employed by the government. 

Mathematical modeling is becoming increasingly important in all branches of biology. As a maths graduate, you will have the key research, analytical and organisational skills to be a strong candidate for a job as a biomathematician.

Teaching

Becoming a maths teacher may not necessarily be an ‘unexpected’ career option for maths graduates, but it is definitely one worth exploring.

There is currently a shortage of maths teachers in the UK and the government is looking to attract highly skilled and knowledgeable mathematicians into teaching. This means that as a graduate of a degree in maths you will be in the perfect position to pass on your knowledge, share your passion for numbers and teach the next generation of mathematicians.

Once you’ve graduated it is likely that you’ll need to spend a further year studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or some other form of qualification. Once this is complete, you’ll be fully prepared to pursue a rewarding and exciting career in maths education.

Here at Surrey, our mathematics degrees ranked fourth in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and ranked in the top three of the 2016 National Student Survey, with an overall student satisfaction rating of 99 per cent.

Discover more about where a degree in mathematics from the University of Surrey could take you by watching our ‘Graduate Careers: What can you do with a degree in maths?’ video. Learn more about careers and employability at Surrey, including our world-renowned Professional Training placement programme.

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