While your main motivation for choosing mathematics as a major should stem from a combination of a keen interest and high ability in mathematics, you should naturally be interested in the opportunities available after graduation. A mathematics major is in a good position for employment in business, industry, governmental agencies and education. Combining a mathematics major with a second major or minor in a complementary area, such as computer science, increases your opportunities. The prospects are also bright for well-qualified students to obtain support for graduate study in a variety of math related areas.
Many of the national and international mathematics organizations have published information on careers in mathematics and related areas. You can find some of this information on the web pages of the Mathematical Association of American (www.maa.org), the American Mathematical Society (www.ams.org), and the Society of Industrial and Applied Math (www.siam.org). The pamphlets listed below contain useful information about careers for mathematics majors. These are available for you to read in the Math Resource Room (102 Cowley Hall) or online.
· Careers in Mathematics
· 101 Careers in Mathematics, 1996, Mathematical Association of America
· Professional Opportunities in the Mathematical Sciences, 1983, Mathematical Association
· Seeking Employment in the Mathematical Sciences, 1985, American Mathematical Society
· Careers That Count, 1991, Association for Women in Mathematics
· Mathematical Scientists at Work, 2nd edition, 1991, Mathematical Association of America
· Math Horizons, four issues per year, Mathematical Association of America
· She Does Math! Real -Life Problems from Women on the Job, 1995, Mathematical
Association of America
· Assistantships and Graduate Fellowships in the Mathematical Sciences, one issue per year,
American Mathematical Society
BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, AND GOVERNMENT
Recent employers of our graduates include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Hewlett Packard, IBM Corporation, M & I Data Systems, Northern Micrographics, State of Iowa Social Work Department, West Publishing, Honeywell Avionics, ITT Hartford Insurance Group, MCI, First Logic, Mayo Clinic and Trane Company. In some cases, employers, having found mathematics majors generally bright and flexible, hire them for positions that may involve considerable training on the job, but not much direct use of their mathematical knowledge. These jobs often make use of the incisive reasoning abilities and broad problem-solving skills that are developed through effective mathematical training. In other positions, mathematics majors may make considerable use of their backgrounds in mathematics, computer science, statistics and science. The possibilities range from positions in management to jobs as programmers, actuaries, or math and computing specialists. To make your college background most valuable, you should take courses in areas in which mathematics is applied: areas such as economics, sociology, psychology, general business, computer science, statistics, and the physical and biological sciences. Every math major at UW-L is required to take a two-semester sequence of advanced courses. There are several sequences available depending on the
student's interests. Some of the tracks are theoretical in nature for students thinking about graduate school - MTH 412, MTH 408, while others are applied tracks -MTH 353 & 480, MTH 353 & 461. There is also a sequence for those interested in Statistics - MTH 441 & 442. If you are interested in a career in industry, you should take the statistics sequence or one of the applied sequences of courses to fulfill this requirement.
Some specific information on job opportunities is available at the Academic Advising Center. The Career Services Office provides students with career and job information, and assists students close to graduation in planning a job search and arranges interviews with visiting employer representatives.
Teaching mathematics is a challenging and rewarding experience for those who enjoy communicating ideas and working with people. There is currently a serious shortage of qualified mathematics teachers at the middle/secondary level. Because of this, mathematics education majors are currently in high demand in the job market.
Students interested in secondary education complete a math major with course requirements slightly different from their non-teaching counterparts. The requirements are outlined in Section III of this guidebook. You should consult with the School of Education as early as possible so that you can plan your program. There are many requirements that must be met before you can be admitted to the Teacher Education Program, and also to stay in the program. Contact the School of Education in 235 Morris Hall, 785-8122, for more information on specific requirements.
Teaching at the post secondary level usually requires an advanced degree, and students with such interests should plan accordingly. (See GRADUATE STUDIES IN MATHEMATICS this section.)
A statistician has special training in the collection and analysis of data. Students interested in statistics should plan on taking MTH 441 & 442 as their two-semester sequence of senior level courses. If you are interested in a special applied field of statistics like biometrics, you should also take course work in the appropriate department. Additional information may be obtained from the American Statistical Association, 1429 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3402 or their web page at www.amstat.org.
An actuary deals with problems of insurance, pensions and annuities. Actuaries are employed by insurance companies, governments, labor unions, private industry and actuarial accounting firms. The actuary's basic training is in mathematics, statistics and accounting. Specialized training is usually acquired while the individual is employed as an actuarial trainee.
Qualification for employment consists of passing the basic examinations in undergraduate mathematics and statistics administered by the two actuarial societies: the Society of Actuaries (www.soa.org) focusing on life and health insurance and pensions, and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CSA) - focusing on property and casualty insurance.
For more information on the actuarial field and examinations, contact David Reineke, 1030 Cowley Hall.