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PhD in Mathematics

PhD in Mathematics

A PhD in Mathematics is an advance level degree that involves training in areas such as fluid dynamics, differential geometry and probability theory. The program would involve high level studies in physical sciences and would be completed after a certain number of core courses, electives and a dissertation have been completed.

Students in a PhD program in mathematics are taught how to utilize computational methods and mathematical models to solve real-world problems in areas of government, business, physics and engineering. PhD programs in this field typically aim to advance the mathematical knowledge through the discovery of newer more complex methods of solving problems. During the course of this degree, students will be expected to complete oral and written exams and a detailed written dissertation. They will also be required to complete internships and potential summer employment programs.

Requirements for a PhD in Mathematics

The minimum educational requirements for this degree include a bachelor’s degree, though masters would be an added benefit. The necessary bachelors degree does not need to be in the field of mathematics, however, applicants must have completed a certain number of courses in mathematics at the undergraduate level before they can proceed on to apply for their PhD. These courses include the likes of algebra and calculus, as well as subjects such as physics, engineering and economics.

Applicants for a PhD program also need to submit their GPA and letters of recommendation from past professors or employers to get admission into the PhD program. Some universities might also need you to appear for a few interviews before they admit you to the program.

Coursework for a PhD in Mathematics

Going for an advanced degree such as a PhD in mathematics, you should bear in mind that you will need to take highly complex courses throughout your degree. You will be trained to work with data analysis software that aide in conducting mathematical research. The courses that you will generally be required to take for this degree include the likes of the following:

  • Probabilities: Limit theorems
  • Complex variables
  • Differential geometry
  • Computing in Finance
  • Numerical methods
  • Complex analysis

Students with a strong background in mathematics are encouraged to apply for this degree. You will typically be taking additional foundational courses to help you form a strong base for further studies. The foundational courses would include subjects such as basic calculus and algebra. The coursework may vary from university to university so make sure you are aware of the exact coursework before you start college.

Skills Acquired with a PhD in Mathematics

A PhD degree in Mathematics will instill in you several skills that will help you later on in your professional life. These include complex problem solving which involves identifying complex problems and evaluating options to approach technical problems. You are also likely to develop skills such as critical thinking, reading comprehension and active learning. Deductive reasoning, information ordering, and inductive reasoning will all help you in your future career as a mathematician.

Career Outlook for PhD in Mathematics Students

PhD degree holders in mathematics have a wide variety of choices in terms of careers.  They can find employment in a number of different office settings – as economists, engineers, computer scientists, technicians, mathematicians and so on. Career examples include actuarial scientists, economic statistician, and systems engineer and computer programmer.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, mathematicians earned $111,110 per year as per the 2015 median wage data. The job outlook for these individuals was also pretty good with a rate far above the average at 21%.

What does a mathematician do?

As part of their job, a mathematician would be required to conduct research and understand trivial math principles. They will spend time analyzing data and applying mathematical techniques to resolve issues in the world of business, finance and economics, among other things.

Work Environment

The work environment for these professionals may include dealing with teams of engineers, scientists and representatives of research companies. They will typically work in computer labs. Analyzing data and information, making decisions based on the data presented and solving problems in the best manner possible and thinking creatively to come up with viable solutions.

The demand for mathematicians is expected to rise, thanks to the evolving business landscape in the country. With the growth of large scale businesses, the importance of people who can play with numbers and give new meaning to them is increasing. Organizations are now hiring these professionals to analyze the large amount of digital and electronic data that is being produced on a daily basis.


University of Southern California

  • Master of Arts in Teaching - Secondary Mathematics (Online)

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