# What is a Degree in Math and Why is it Valuable?

Mathematics is the study of quantity, structure, space and change. As abstract as that may seem, math is, at its core, a quest for absolutes, definitive solutions and answers. We may think of long numeric chains, seas of fractions or spreadsheets stacked with figures, but what many don't realize is that math's complex equations are in fact roads to simplicity. Believers in better, faster, smarter solutions are often drawn to math.

So, what is a degree in math, exactly? Those that go to college to pursue a mathematics degree find out along the way that numbers are just a fraction of the allure. Math can teach us how to look longer and harder for solutions - a skill applicable to any career and life in general.

We need math. Galileo Galilei used it to explain the universe. Math resolves truths and uncovers errors. It makes our work more credible. Reports, studies and research are all but discounted without quantifiable facts. Math equals proof. Math validates.

The Mathematical Association of America cites a CareerCast report ranking mathematics the best job for 2014 based on factors such as environment, income, outlook, and stress. The job of statistician was ranked third. Actuary was ranked fourth. In addition, a PayScale study reports that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have mathematics as a common denominator.

But, Psychology Today reports that most of us are in awe of math. It's slightly mysterious. It makes things look smart, including the mathematician behind the math. What is a degree in math? It's a professional pathway, and an attractive one for many reasons. It is also a unique way of seeing the world.

## Math is All Around Us

Whether you like mathematics or are even very good it, math is around us all the time. When you're at the department store, balancing your checkbook or doing your taxes, mathematics is a necessary skill. It can even improve your sports game.

"There's math all over the place in soccer," Southern New Hampshire University's mathematics department chairwoman **Dr. Pamela Cohen** told pro soccer player Calen Carr in this video. From the curve - also known as a "parabola" - of a kicked ball to the rigidness of playing in triangles on the field, math factors into every aspect of the game. What is a math degree to an athlete? A competitive edge on the field.

Many professions, such as engineering, medicine, physics, nurses, computer science and actuarial science, require math proficiency. Virtually all fields benefit from the analytical and problem-solving skills students learn in mathematics. Anyone entering a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career is expected to have harnessed basic and advanced math concepts.

Even professions as diverse as chefs or gardeners use math fundamentals when measuring and purchasing supplies. If you are an event planner, math will help you figure per-head costs and inventory. Seamstresses and decorators use math daily, as does anyone who works with measurements and schedules.

## You Don't Have to be a Mathlete

Many people believe math talent to be something that is inherited or are born with. Not so, say researchers. Natural ability in math only gets you so far. Hard work and good study habits are far more valuable. As such, students entering college math degree programs aren't the math-minded geniuses. Some didn't even like math growing up, says a Quartz article that looks at why some kids excel at math and others don't. The authors - economy and finance professors - make the case that something said by a grade school teacher years ago could be the reason a child is turned off to math or thinks he or she is bad at it. Some educators and parents also have a bad habit of labeling kids as either math kids or reading kids.

## What Chromosomes Have to Do with it

Are boys better at math than girls? A New York Times report reveals that there is no discernible difference in math aptitude before the age of 7. Then, starting in adolescence, some differences appear: boys score approximately 30-35 points higher than girls on the math portion of the SAT. But, within different subcategories girls outperforming boys consistently. The study also shows that even though boys do better than girls on the SAT, those scores do not predict math performance in class. Girls outpace boys in the classroom. The point is, if you think math just isn't your thing, or have math anxiety but love finding solutions, it's time to re-examine a math degree. Research proves that drive and desire, not natural ability, are the most important factors for success.

## You Love Math. Now What?

Getting an online degree in mathematics opens up a world of possibilities to you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 27 percent growth in the demand for research analysts and statisticians, 23 percent job growth for mathematicians through 2022.*

The amount of digitally stored data will increase over the next decade as more people and companies conduct business online and use social media, smartphones, and other mobile devices - some yet to be invented. That means more businesses will seek mathematicians to analyze the large volumes of information collected. All this data will help companies grow, improve and develop new products and processes. Data analytics is also used to help businesses advertise to the right potential customers.

Mathematicians will also be needed to help information security analysts create data-security systems to protect the confidentiality and personal information of everyone with internet access.

Expect competition. Positions for mathematicians are coveted. Candidates with math degrees and a background in the field will undeniably have the upper hand. What is a degree in math at the graduate level? Added insurance. Those with strong quantitative and data analysis skills, and experience in a related discipline - such as business, computer science or statistics - is a definite addition to your resume.

## Your Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics Awaits

Southern New Hampshire University has a comprehensive degree for those with an interest in mathematics. The online bachelor's degree in mathematics fosters an appreciation for the role mathematics has played in society, from early times through the technological age. When you earn your BA in Mathematics online at SNHU, you'll develop an advanced ability in mathematical methods, reasoning and problem solving in three main areas: analysis, algebra and statistics. The program's online math courses prepare you for careers that are not only versatile and command high salaries, but also have a very high degree of job satisfaction.

SNHU's online math courses give you a solid grasp of mathematics as it relates to business, natural sciences and social sciences. In addition, the program helps you become proficient in communicating about math, both orally and in writing. Instructors in the program offer their expertise in applying math theories, principles and concepts to actual career-related scenarios - all of which help answer the question: what is a math degree in the real world?

Here, specifically, is what you'll learn on the way to your diploma:

- How to solve real-world problems involving calculus, including integration, variables, trigonometric function and differential equations
- Direct, contrapositive, contradiction and induction methods of proof, as well as the relationship between problem solving and the process of proving
- Applying statistical techniques to a variety of applications in business and the social sciences
- Mathematical topics related to the design, programming and application of computers: propositional logic, number systems, algorithms and pseudocode, encryption and other topics
- Regression analysis and related topics, using Minitab or similar software
- Basic real analysis, addressing the transition from computational to theoretical calculus, with an emphasis on problem solving and proof writing

SNHU's BA in Mathematics coursework involves core requirements, online math courses and math electives based on your particular areas of interest. Courses are taught by seasoned faculty with real-world experience as mathematicians and educators across a wide range of fields, including business, economics, natural sciences and social sciences.

## Add a Competitive Edge

In addition to the general math track discussed above, SNHU offers an enhanced BA in Mathematics with a concentration in Applied Mathematics. This specialized path, teaches how complex real-world problems can be solved by applying mathematical concepts. Discover a side of mathematics that functions more like an interdisciplinary science - one with broad-reaching applications in today's tech-driven world. Learn commonly used statistical methods and techniques. Delve into mathematical modeling. Work with cutting-edge software tools that let you visualize the models you're constructing and analyzing.

Select one of three burgeoning areas of interest, including statistical analysis, operations research and dynamical modeling. Explore the vital role that mathematics plays in scientific research and industry by completing your own research project. Over the course of the project you'll develop skills to apply mathematical reasoning, analysis and problem solving to complex, real-world problems.

With the applied mathematics concentration, you'll be well suited for future work in a number of professional fields, from biology, epidemiology, organic chemistry and other natural sciences to data analytics, business management science, marketing and even urban planning. There is especially high demand in the following sectors in government lab, computer information firms and financial services and investment agencies.

## Who's Choosing Math? And Why?

Students enter the BA in Mathematics online program for many different reasons - professional success is merely one of them.

**Courtney Cramblit** came to SNHU right out of high school. She passed her very first class with an "A" which validated her decision to follow her passion for math. "For the first time I have goals and, thanks to SNHU, I can reach them," she said. Cramblit ultimately wants to use her bachelor's degree to teach lower level math to college students. Down the road, she intends to receive her doctorate in mathematics.

**Matthew Kuss '14** started working toward his college degree immediately after high school graduation, but like many, he was pulled out of school by real-life events. He was in a position at his job where he had to turn away candidates that lacked a college degree. Then, one day, he realized it made sense to wrap-up his own college degree. "Over the last few years, I looked into many (college) options, but ... was met with a whole lot of hassle. SNHU was the first college that made enrolling easy. I couldn't imagine a more painless process," he said..

The online learning system was new to him. After just the first term he felt like he had that conquered it. "I couldn't be more pleased with SNHU and how pleasant the entire experience has been," Kuss said.

**Timothy McMillan '15** was a 30-year-old who was hesitant about going back to school. SNHU, he said, made the transition easy. "I have been nothing but pleased with SNHU since the moment I called to request information. The customer service might be the entire reason I chose to attend SNHU," McMillan said. Like many students in SNHU's BA in Mathematics program, McMillan was interested in more than advancing his career by earning his bachelors degree. Many students also use the program to prepare themselves to continue in any of a number of graduate programs. The bachelor-level program is good preparation for graduate programs such as MS in Data Analytics, Applied Economics, and MBA degrees. Not only has McMillan fulfilled his undergraduate in mathematics degree, he is now looking into attending graduate school.

## Start Your Future Now

What is a degree in math? A lot more than meets the eye. It's a valuable career tool and a life skill that you'll use in all aspects of your life. Let SNHU help take your interest in math to the next level. Contact the SNHU admissions team to learn more about the BA in Mathematics or the BA in Mathematics with a concentration in Applied Mathematics today.

**Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.*

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SNHU will celebrate its 85th Commencement May 13-14, 2017. More than 16,000 family, friends and community members will join in celebrating more than 4,600 graduates at the SNHU Arena.