You are here

Undergraduate Program FAQ

A major in mathematics is good preparation for many types of careers, as well as for medical school, dental school, law school, and graduate work in mathematics, statistics, and such varied fields as biostatistics, business administration, computer science, engineering, linguistics, operations research, and philosophy.

There is a demand for qualified mathematics teachers in the nation's secondary schools. Insurance companies hire mathematics majors in entry-level positions and as actuarial trainees. Statisticians can find employment in the insurance, telephone, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in government agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau or the U.S. Department of Labor. Applied mathematics jobs are available supporting scientists, engineers, economists, etc. Businesses, banks, and the computer industry also have openings for mathematics majors.

A follow-up study of our own mathematics major graduates has found them employed as teachers in secondary schools, colleges, and universities; school principals and superintendents; college registrars and deans; accountants; actuarial assistants and associates; computer programmers; systems analysts; engineers; economists; statisticians; editors; physicians; lawyers; account executives; executives in banks and insurance companies; health scientists; and mathematicians, flight controllers, and/or pilots in the U.S. armed forces.

For additional information please consult our careers section.

The Department has set aside LGRT 1554 (formerly LGRT 1521D) as the Mathematics Majors Lounge and Reading Room for the express use of undergraduate mathematics majors for studying or working in groups.  The lounge is open during business hours.

The Department also maintains several clubs, which are a good place to meet majors with similar interests.

Yes!  Students are encouraged to take courses, both in mathematics & statistics and in other areas, at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, or Smith College.  Amherst College is the most popular choice given its proximity to campus, with most students making use of the free PVTA bus systmem.  Information on the Five College Program is available from the Five College Interchange Office. Interchange registration information can be found here.

Any undergraduate may register for a graduate course, subject only to the permission of the instructor of the course and the student's advisor.

The Department employs Undergraduate Teaching Assistants during each semester to conduct discussion sections in support of the large lectures in such courses as Math 127 and Stat 140.  Application forms and further information on this program are available from the Department Office LGRT 1677 (formerly LGRT 1622) or here.

The Department also employs student graders who work on an hourly basis.  Application forms and further information on this program are available from LGRT 1671 (formerly LGRT 1626B).

The Department frequently receives requests for tutors in mathematics and statistics. Qualified undergraduates may have their names placed on a list of tutors by visiting LGRT 1675 (formerly LGRT 1624).

Each summer there are several opportunities for undergraduates to work on their own research projects with a faculty member. See the REU page for more details.

Many majors, usually after the junior year, will obtain an internship.  Students are encouraged to attend the career fairs and other career events on campus, which are the best way to land an internship.   Information about career events and internship postings can be found on Handshake.

UMass students may earn a second major in any college.  Popular second majors for primary math majors are economics, computer science, a foreign language, and many others.  Math is also a popular second major for students in computer science, engineering, physics, and business, among others. 

Second majors in math must meet all of the requirements of the math major, but they do not need to meet the associated university or college requirements; in other words, they do not need to take Junior Year Writing in Math or satisfy the Integrative Experience Requirement in math.   See the secondary majors page for more information.

UMass offers a dual degree, meaning two separate bachelor's degrees.  The main requirement is to complete 150 credits and satisfy the requirements of both majors (and both colleges, if the majors are in separate colleges).   For information on the dual degree, see the Academic Regulations.

Many of our alumni are working in the computer field.   Math majors have several options for preparing for such a career path.

  • They can obtain second major in computer science.  There are several hurdles to clear to join the CS major.
  • They can complete a minor in computer science.
  • Math majors can choose the Math Computing Concentration.    
  • Students can enroll in a graduate program in computer science after graduation.  Most CS graduate programs want to see math up to Linear Algebra and some programming expereince, so besides the required CS 121, we recommend taking CS 187 (data structures) or even CS 311 (algorithms).  The department is currently sending several math majors each year to grad programs in CS.  Besides UMass, students have recently enrolled in CS graduate programs at Northeastern, Michigan, WPI, and UC Boulder, for example.
  • Self-study. The math major requires CS 121 and you are encouraged to take CS 186 or 187.  Most majors will also learn another programming language or environment, such as Python, SAS, R or Matlab, in math courses such as Stat 525, Stat 535, or Math 551.  CS offers a basic course in Python and many departments, especially BioStats and CS, offer courses in R.  With a solid programming foundation and the rigor of the mathematics major, many of our alumni are finding successful employment as software engineers or data scientists.  

To have even a minimal prospect of getting a job teaching mathematics at a four-year college without a graduate program, you should have at least a master's degree in mathematics.

Both the M.S. and the Ph.D. can be earned in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Special options are available for students interested primarily in applied mathematics or in statistics. There is also a two year masters program in Applied Mathematics and a 5th year Masters Program in Statistics.

For more information on our graduate program, see our graduate program page.

Several members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics have had experience in industry and/or engineering applications of mathematics.

The Chief Undergraduate Advisor can assist you in obtaining information and advice regarding careers for mathematics majors in industry or graduate work.

The Career Center in the College of Natural Science offers more general advice on career pathways, as well as help with crafting your resume and preparing for job fairs and interviews.

All student should join Handshake, which lists campus career events and job and internship postings.