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Master's Degree Opportunities

Similar to the results found for bachelor's degree holders, the National Science Foundation (NSF) reports that 61 percent of master's degree recipients in 1991-1992 have a major area of study in general mathematics, while 19 percent have statistics as their major area and 12 percent have applied mathematics. The main areas of nonacademic employment for those with master's degrees are statistics, mathematics or modeling, computer programming, engineering, management and related positions, actuarial, computer systems analysis, sales and marketing, and accounting and finance. These areas are listed according to popularity with the most popular math occupation being statistics.

The following is a list of specific jobs acquired by people with master's degrees in mathematics. Each position is put into an occupational category. For more information visit the American Mathematical Society (AMS), Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Mathematical Sciences Career Information web site at



  • Project Scientist, Silas Mason Company, Inc., Amarillo, Texas, performs statistical analysis and administrative support for programs providing safeguards for the assembly and dismantling of nuclear weapons.
  • Statistician, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Frederick, Md., works in support of both basic and applied research in biology and medicine and currently working on a project developing models of interactions between macromolecules.
  • Systems Analyst, Ford Motor Company, Ypsilanti, Mich., collect data and performs analysis that will result in the improvement of the production processes of the Electrical and Fuel Handling Division of the plant.


Mathematics or Modeling

  • Vice President, D.E. Shaw & Co., New York, N.Y., develops new trading models that are part of the automated trading strategies used by the company.
  • Mathematician, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Md., collaborates with scientists to develop models of biological phenomena, such as a recently developed model looking at an aspect of kidney function.


Computer Programming

  • Senior Scientific Analyst/Programmer, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Swedeland, Pa., applies mathematics and computation to various problems in pharmaceutical research with much effort in support of the analysis of human genome data.


Management and Related Positions

  • Senior Technical Specialist, Northrop Grumman, Pico Rivera, Calif., leads a group of engineers and scientists on the design and analysis of systems produced by the company.
  • Systems Engineering Manager, Sun Microsystems, Boston, Mass., manages a staff of systems engineers that provide technical support for systems sold to the Federal Government; this often means reworking mathematical algorithms to optimize code run times.
  • Media Specialist, DeMasi Middle School, Marlton, N.J., helps supports the curriculum, provides resources and instruction in information processing skills, and solves problems associated with managing the media center.


Sales and Marketing

  • Associate Director of Clinical Research, Institute for Spine and Biomedical Research, Plano, Texas, collaborates with medical personnel in area hospitals as well as companies to develop new health care products.


According to a 1997 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, starting salaries for those with master's degrees averaged about $38,300. The 1993 National Survey of Recent College Graduates sponsored by the NSF reported that 11 percent of master's degree holders in mathematics with nonacademic occupations average $20,000 to $29,999 per year. The survey also reports that 40 percent earn between $30,000 and $39,999, 34 percent earn between $40,000 and $49,999 and 9 percent earn between $50,000 and $59,999 per year.

by reinecka — last modified Apr 25, 2012 08:06 AM


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