Mathematics is a powerful tool with many applications. Advanced mathematical training can lead to many career opportunities, including business, finance, medicine, engineering, and basic sciences.

At the same time, mathematics is a self-contained subject that is worth studying simply for its elegance. While challenging at times, the study of mathematics can bring a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Mathematics is an ideal subject for people who enjoy abstract thinking.

The following story illustrates the particular perspective that mathematics offers.

Two anthropologists and a mathematician were arguing about why humans had domesticated fire. One anthropologist argued that humans needed fire primarily to stay warm at night. The other anthropologist insisted that humans needed fire primarily to cook food. The mathematician proposed that some ancient human had been intrigued by fire and decided to figure out how it worked. Only later, suggested the mathematician, did others come along and find uses for fire. 


Career Opportunities for Mathematics Majors

Students who earn degrees in mathematics pursue diverse careers.

The American Mathematical Society sponsors a Career Information website with a wealth of information for students who are contemplating how mathematics will fit into their future.

Career possibilities for mathematics majors include:

  • Professional graduate schools, including law schools and medical schools, look favorably on applications from mathematics students.
  • Engineers and computer programmers need strong mathematical tools in order to do their jobs.
  • Statisticians are employed in both the public and private sectors in positions which require data analysis.
  • Actuaries provide statistical analysis for insurance companies and other large organizations.  
  • Mathematics teachers are in great demand at grade schools, high schools, and community colleges.
  • Business managers frequently have a strong mathematical background. Mathematics trains people to make careful analytical decisions.


Why Study Mathematics at Wayne State?

The Department of Mathematics takes pride in the quality and variety of opportunities available to our students.

  • Internationally Recognized Faculty: The department has a large faculty of over 30 professors who, in addition to teaching, are engaged in research in many areas of pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics.
  • Teaching Excellence: Five members of our faculty have received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. The quality of our instructional programs is a top priority. Our students interact with and take even basic mathematics courses from outstanding faculty.
  • Small Class Size and Individual Attention: Courses for non-majors contain at most 35 students. Courses for majors are even smaller.  Professors have the opportunity to know each of their students and to engage in personal contact during office hours.
  • Course Selection: Undergraduate courses are offered at a variety of times to accommodate both day and night students. Courses are scheduled so that part-time as well as full-time students have full access to all required courses.
  • Learning Support Services: The Department of Mathematics offers special programs and support services to provide the greatest opportunity for all students to succeed in mathematics courses. These programs include a free mathematics tutoring service available to all students.
  • Research Opportunities: Mathematics majors at the undergraduate level have the opportunity to participate in innovative and highly successful research groups.
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