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Tutor helping students in the Math Assistance Center (MAC)

Unique resources like the Math Assistance Center (MAC) help students learn and explore opportunities in teaching

Why Mathematical Sciences

Mathematics is one of the oldest and most fundamental sciences. Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms and the latest computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering, physics and business problems.

From day one as a math major, you'll receive the personal attention and support you need to be successful. Our students have the opportunity to work with award-winning faculty and often conduct research to expand knowledge in the mathematics as well as apply mathematical solutions to problems in other fields such as engineering, computer science and the life health sciences.

See math degrees

What is mathematics?

Mathematics is the science of quantitative relationships using numbers and symbols.  Mathematics is usually referred to as pure (theoretical and abstract) or applied (practical problem solving).  Mathematics includes the following specialty areas: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, probability, and statistics.

Why study mathematics?

As the term "mathematical sciences" correctly suggests, pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, and mathematics education coexist harmoniously within the department. The college graduate with a bachelor's degree in mathematics can qualify for a broad range of highly paid positions in business, government and secondary education. 

Banks, insurance companies, oil companies and companies in the computer and communication industries employ many mathematicians, as do almost every bureau and branch of the federal government.  A bachelor's degree in mathematics can also lead to graduate study in mathematics or in a variety of other fields such as economics, computer science, medicine, engineering, business and law. 

Qualities and skills of a mathematician

  • Analytic, Logical
  • Communication and Quantitative Skills (PUL*)
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (PUL*)
  • Inquisitive
  • Observational and Investigative Skills
  • Professional Values and Ethics (PUL*)
  • Understanding of Relationships and Interactions

*PUL = Principles of Undergraduate Learning define a set of abilities and skills that undergraduate students are expected to master. They reflect the expertise that graduate and professional schools and the workforce are seeking.

What can you do with a degree in Math?

  • Ballistics
  • Blood spatter analysis
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • DNA analysis
  • Explosive analysis
  • Fire debris analysis
  • Forensic pathology (medical school required)
  • Forensic serology
  • Forensic toxicology
  • Illicit drug analysis
  • Trace evidence analysis

Are forensic scientists also crime scene investigators?

Crime scene investigation differs based on the jurisdiction. There are three basic ways this is handled:

  1. Crime scene evidence collection is handled by trained police officers and no forensic scientists are at the actual scene of the crime. This evidence is given to the lab where it is analyzed by forensic scientists.
  2. Crime scene technicians are at the scene to collect the evidence but do not do the analysis. This is done in the lab. The technicians do not have to be scientists.
  3. Forensic scientists are on-call to collect evidence at the crime scene. These same scientists work in the lab doing analysis.

Education - Where will your degree take you?

Bachelor Degree (BA/BS)
Entry level positions in law enforcement at local, state, federal government level. Preparation for admission to professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, and law

Masters Degree (MS)
Managerial positions in government, research and teachers at high school and community colleges

Doctoral Degree (PhD)
Positions in independent research at universities, university faculty, advanced positions in forensics (i.e. anthropology, psychology, or geology)

Here's what our 2014 graduates are doing with their degrees:

  • Lab Technician for Roche Diagnostics (BS)
  • Lab Assistant for Mid America Clinical Lab (BS)
  • Toxicology Analyst for PremierTox Laboratories (BS)

Students who went on to graduate or professional school are currently enrolled in the following programs:

Here's what our 2014 graduates are doing with their degrees:

  • Analyst for Cummins, Inc (MS)
  • Application Support Analyst for Single Point, Inc. (BS)
  • Associate Actuary Analyst for United Healthcare (BS)
  • Compliance Analyst for Distribution Management Associates (BS)
  • Engineering Assistant for CMD Corporation (BS)
  • Lead Biostatistician for Biogen Idec (PhD)
  • Mathematics Teacher for Pike Township (BS)
  • Processing Specialist for Nyhart (BS)
  • Professor for Lewis University (PhD)
  • Project Statistician for Eli Lilly (Phd)
  • Software Developer for Axia Technology Partners (BS)
  • Teacher for Cardinal Ritter High School (Math Teaching BS)
  • Teacher for Clark-Pleasant Schools (MS)
  • Tech Services Representative for Helmer Scientific (BS)

26% of our 2014 graduates went on to graduate school and are currently enrolled in the following programs:

  • Biostatistics at Indiana University (PhD)
  • Biostatistics at IUPUI (PhD)
  • Ecology at Indiana University (PhD)
  • Mathematics at Texas State University (PhD)
  • Math Education at IUPUI (MS)
  • Mathematics at IUPUI (MS)
  • Computer Science at IUPUI (PhD)
  • ASL/EIP Certification at IUPUI (Certificate)
  • Accounting at IUPUI (MS)

Where do Math majors find jobs?

  • Banks and Financial Firms
  • Colleges and universities
  • Consulting Firms
  • Government agencies (Defense, Labor, Agriculture, Justice, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Commerce, Treasury, NASA, Library of Congress)
  • High Schools
  • Industry (manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, communications, machinery, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, other private industries)
  • Insurance Agencies
  • Law and Health Professions
  • Military
  • Private Research Institutions
  • Publishing companies including scientific journals, magazines, textbooks
  • Security Agencies

Actuarial Science: Actuaries find employment with insurance companies, government, hospitals, banks and accounting firms.  This concentration aims to prepare students for the first three actuarial examinations administered by the professional actuarial organizations.

Applied Mathematics:  Students with training in applied mathematics are employed in business, industry and government.  This option is also good preparation for graduate study in fields closely related to mathematics such as computer science, statistics and engineering.

Pure Mathematics: Students will be well prepared for a variety of careers in the mathematical sciences as well as for graduate work in mathematics.  Pure math students succeed in computer science, economics, law, engineering, medicine and business.

Mathematics Education: Students will be prepared to become secondary education (middle school and high school) and other careers related as well as prepared for M.S. Mathematics with concentration in Mathematics Education.

Employers of IUPUI Math Graduates

  • Anthem
  • Conseco
  • National Security Agency
  • Roche Diagnostics
  • Rolls Royce

Occupational outlook and average salary

Employment for mathematicians is expected to grow much faster than the average compared to all other occupations for the 2008-2018 decade, however, keen competition for jobs is expected. Employment of mathematicians is projected to increase by 22% partly due to advancement in technology.

Salaries earned by mathematicians are dependent on degree level and whether they are employed by industry, government, or academia.  According to the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages for mathematicians was $95,150.

Employment of actuaries is expected to grow by 27 percent between 2010 and 2020. Students with internship experience who have passed at least one actuarial exam while in school should have the best prospects for entry-level positions. The 2010 median pay for actuaries was $87,650 per year.

(2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Mentoring peers leads student to meaningful experiences in mathematics

Stacey Abshire Mathematics, Undergraduate