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Applied Mathematics Major

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Applied Mathematics

4,932 Master's Degrees Annually
298 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#40 in Popularity (Master's)
$100,990 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Applied Mathematics Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many applied mathematics graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 4,932
Doctor’s Degree 298
Graduate Certificate 43

What Applied Mathematics Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, applied math majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Applied Math Majors

Applied Math majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Applied Math Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to applied math:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Applied Math Majors

A major in applied math will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

What Can You Do With a Applied Mathematics Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with applied math:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Actuaries 22.5% $102,880
Bioinformatics Scientists 8.0% $79,590
Biostatisticians 33.9% $87,780
Clinical Data Managers 33.9% $87,780
Economists 6.1% $104,340
Environmental Economists 6.1% $104,340
Financial Analysts 10.8% $85,660
Financial Quantitative Analysts 9.6% $70,280
Fraud Examiners, Investigators and Analysts 9.6% $70,280
Investment Underwriters 9.6% $70,280
Mathematical Science Occupations 9.1% NA
Mathematical Science Professors 9.4% $73,230
Mathematicians 29.0% $101,900
Molecular and Cellular Biologists 8.0% $79,590
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Risk Management Specialists 9.6% $70,280
Statisticians 33.9% $87,780
Water Resource Specialists 9.9% $123,860

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics?

4,932 Master's Degrees Annually
42% Percent Women
10% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Applied Mathematics runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #40 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 4,932 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major attracts more men than women. About 58% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of applied math majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Applied Math Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 251
Black or African American 72
Hispanic or Latino 114
White 839
International Students 3,488
Other Races/Ethnicities 168

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Applied Math, too. About 70.7% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Canada

How Much Do Applied Mathematics Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of applied mathematics students with a master’s degree is $76,600 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $60,700 (25th percentile) and $81,600 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to applied math so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Applied Math majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $87,140 to $116,020 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Applied Mathematics Major  ( 87140 to 116020 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with applied math may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to applied math have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.2%
Some College Courses 0.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 35.2%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 5.5%
Master’s Degree 29.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.8%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.9%
Doctoral Degree 20.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 6.3%

Online Applied Mathematics Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 369 schools offered some type of applied mathematics program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 4 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 2 0
Bachelor’s Degree 24 2
Post-Baccalaureate 4 1
Master’s Degree 199 10
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 80 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Applied Mathematics Worth It?

The median salary for a applied math grad is $100,990 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 153% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,221,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to applied math.

Major Number of Grads
Statistics 4,499
Mathematics 3,985
Other Statistics 63

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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