Mathematics is the study of universal patterns and structures; it is the quantitative language of the world; it underpins information technology, computer science, engineering, and the physical sciences; and it plays an increasingly important role in the biological and medical sciences, economics, finance, environmental science, sociology and psychology.
The Mathematics major is designed to provide a foundation in Calculus, Linear Algebra and basic modeling techniques using differential equations. In parallel, critical thinking will be developed through the analysis of quantitative problems. With this background, students will be ready to pursue their interests in a broad range of mathematical areas, by choosing appropriate later year courses in pure or applied mathematics areas, or a combination of these. These later year courses reinforce and extend the students' quantitative skills as well as providing a greater awareness of the many branches of mathematics and of the interconnections among them.
Applied Mathematics vs. Mathematics
If you want to keep studying maths, you might have to choose between applied mathematics and mathematics. But what’s the difference?
The easiest way to think of it is that mathematics is maths done for its own sake, while applied maths is maths with a practical use. But in fact, it’s not that simple, because even the most abstract maths can have unexpected applications. For example, the branch of mathematics known as “number theory” was once considered one of the most “useless”, but now plays a vital part in computer encryption systems. If you’ve ever bought something online, you can thank number theorists for letting you do it safely.
You could also think about how maths relates to other subjects and to the real world. Applied maths try to model, predict and explain things in the real world: for example, one area of applied mathematics is fluid mechanics, which analyses how fluids are affected by forces. Other examples of applied maths might be statistics or probability theory.
Mathematics, on the other hand, is separate from the physical world. It solves problems, finds facts and answers questions that don’t depend on the world around us, but on the rules of mathematics itself.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect way to decide what mathematics is and what applied maths is. Even mathematicians can’t agree on it! If you’re thinking of studying for a maths degree and there are separate courses or departments for mathematics and applied mathematics at the university you’re applying to, then get in touch and find out exactly what the courses involve.
Mathematics graduates can work in many fields:
local and central government
the pharmaceutical industry
market research and marketing companies
finance, banking and accountancy firms
Elementary number theory
Probability theory and mathematical statistics,
Mathematics teaching theory
Primary school mathematics teaching material teaching method
Mathematical analysis selection
Complex variable function
Mathematics and applied mathematics
Common skills gained from this degree
- a solid mathematical foundation
- Good ability to use computers
- strong class management skills