Online Master’s Degree in Math

An online masters degree in math is designed to prepare graduates with advanced theoretical and analytical reasoning skills through the study of logic, measurement, calculation, and conjecture. In addition to potentially serving as preparation for a career in academia, math is a foundational concept in many industries, including engineering, scientific research, manufacturing, economics, and the natural sciences. Jobs in these, or related, fields may be available with schools and universities, private companies, or even nonprofit and government agencies. Note, however, that those interested in teaching at a four-year college or university should be prepared to continue on to a doctoral program after completing their masters degree in math.

Most accredited online masters programs in math are designed to be completed in two to three years. However, this can vary based on the required number of courses, potential transfer credits, the number of hours taken per term, and whether or not the student remains continuously enrolled. For those hoping to accelerate their degree path by transferring previous educational experience, it is important to verify the school’s specific transfer policy since they can vary greatly.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Math

Students enrolled in this type of masters degree program should anticipate a blend of advanced survey and research courses. Foundational courses in algebra, calculus, and statistics are common across programs. In addition, some curriculums that are designed to prepare graduates for teaching careers may also incorporate courses discussing the fundamentals of mathematics education. Potential course requirements may include:

  • Vector Calculus and Complex Variable
  • Methods for Partial Differential Equations
  • Scientific Computing
  • Modern Algebra
  • Theory of Functions of Real Variables

Some online masters programs in mathematics will also include a thesis requirement. This entails original research in an area of pure or applied mathematics. Students will then be required to present their findings to the department faculty, either in writing, in person, or both. For students hoping to continue on to a Ph.D. program, a master’s thesis could strengthen their application.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Math

Graduates who complete an online masters degree in mathematics are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to work in a variety of fields. This includes engineering, manufacturing, scientific research, natural science, or economics, to name a few. In addition, master’s degree recipients are eligible to teach at most community and junior colleges. Those who are interested in pursuing a career teaching at the university level must continue on to a Ph.D. program following the successful completion of their master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for mathematicians is expected to increase by 16% from 2010 to 2020. This is about on par with the 14% growth expected for all occupations over this projection period. These mathematicians will work mostly for the federal government, private research companies, and colleges and universities. In 2010, the median annual wage for mathematicians was $99,380. For those interested in pursuing careers in teaching, the reported mean wage for postsecondary teachers was $74,460 in 2011. The mean salary for those teaching at technical and trade schools was $50,630 that same year.

These type of teaching positions will require a master’s or doctoral degree in mathematics. Government and private research positions for mathematicians will also require an advanced degree. Additionally, working adults in related fields, such as engineering, may benefit from this type of degree when looking to advance their careers.


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