Study in USA : Top 10 colleges for a major in mathematics
A degree in mathematics allows students to learn about the theories and principles of the discipline that Eric Temple Bell referred to as “the queen and servant of science.” The skills acquired from such a degree translate to numerous careers ranging from a position as a mathematician to jobs in business, medicine, law and science.
Graduates of the top mathematics programs have strong critical thinking and analytical skills. Classes in algebra, geometry, the history of mathematics, differential equations, statistics, calculus, number theory and real analysis require students to solve problems through identification, analysis and application of mathematic principles.
While specific classes within the major may vary among programs, they all teach students to think creatively and develop solutions.
College Factual’s ranking focuses on colleges that provide high outcomes for students. View the following list for a roundup of some of the best colleges in the U.S. to study math, and use the widget to narrow down your choices.
1. HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE: CLAREMONT, CALIF.
The Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Department offers a premier mathematics program rooted in a liberal arts education. The department was honored for the strength of its program with the first ever Award for Exemplary Program by the American Mathematical Society.
The mathematics major prepares students for careers in not only math, but also business, management, computer science and more. Advanced classes in areas such as discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability and algorithms teach students to think analytically to solve numerical problems. These skills translate to the professional world, allowing students to become successful in their chosen fields. A Harvey Mudd graduate earns an average starting salary of $59,000 and an average mid-career salary of $104,000.
2. COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES: GOLDEN, COLO.
The Colorado School of Mines offers an undergraduate program in Computational and Applied Mathematics. This program is designed to teach students how to approach complex problems in a way that is applicable for a job in mathematics, business, finance and other careers. Classes in analysis, scientific computing, linear algebra and partial differential equations require students to perfect problem-solving skills. These classes progressively build on each other, culminating in the senior capstone. The capstone pushes students to work for a client by writing reports and presenting information in a research environment. Graduates of this program earn average starting and mid-career salaries of $54,000 and $100,000, respectively.
3. MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a well-known school with an incredible reputation for strong engineering, science and math programs. The mathematics department was established in 1933 and has since been dedicated to providing students with a rigorous education. MIT students have the option of majoring in General Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Theoretical Mathematics or Mathematics with Computer Science. While each of these majors have a few unique requirements, they all follow the same core curriculum. Students take classes in linear algebra, complex variables, probability and computation to develop a strong understanding of mathematic theories and apply them to complex problems. A degree from MIToften leads to a successful career, earning an average mid-career salary of $99,000.
4. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – LOS ANGELES
The Department of Mathematics at the University of California offers different mathematics specializations to cater to students’ interests. Mathematicians who are strictly interested in theory may choose the mathematics major, while engineering and industrial enthusiasts follow applied mathematics. The financial actuarial mathematics major is geared toward statisticians and those interested in business, and the mathematics of computation major teaches students how to apply computing to real world scenarios.
While these majors may lead to different careers, they are similar in that they foster critical thinking skills and push students to find a connection between their course work and desired career. Depending on the major focus, some UCLA students pursue an advanced degree after graduation, while others immediately join the work force earning an average starting salary of $59,000 and mid-career salary of $108,000.
5. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY: PITTSBURGH, PA.
Carnegie Mellon University is a research school founded in 1900. It has developed into one of the most respected institutions in the country. The school attracts not only top students, but also professors who are innovators and masters within their fields.
The professors teach classes in a variety of advanced topics, including calculus, algebra, analysis, probability, topology and graph theory. These classes introduce students to the theories in each area while also developing problem solving skills. A degree in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon helps lead to careers in business, engineering and teaching, earning an average starting salary of $60,000 and the highest mid-career salary of $125,000.
6. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: CHICAGO
The University of Chicago Department of Mathematics welcomed its first class in 1892. Since then, it has produced innovative and creative mathematicians who have perfected their analytical and problem solving skills.
Math majors at UChicago take classes in various areas of math, ranging from calculus and theoretical sequences to algebra and theories. These classes instill an advanced knowledge of mathematics while providing insight into how theories and solutions can be applied in a practical manner. UChicago graduates are often successful after college, earning an average mid-career salary of $103,000.
7. CORNELL UNIVERSITY: ITHACA, N.Y.
Cornell University is an Ivy League school that has a strong tradition of offering rigorous and comprehensive academic programs. The Department of Mathematics employs a large percentage of full-time faculty members to teach students multivariable calculus, linear algebra and other advanced course offerings. These classes are designed to provide a thorough understanding of the core mathematic theories, so students can find a connection between solutions and real world applications. Supplementing another major with a dual degree in mathematics at Cornell will give students an advantage because they will have a dynamic grasp of math, leading to an average starting salary of $68,000 and average mid-career salary of $109,000.
8. WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS: SAINT LOUIS, MO.
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university that is dedicated to providing students with access to the best curriculum. The Department of Mathematics works to give students a well-rounded education that pushes them to strengthen their understanding of mathematics through research and course work.
The department is roughly divided into groups of similar areas of research, such as algebra, analysis, geometry and statistics. Faculty members under these categories teach a variety of diverse and advanced courses to study the functionality and practicality of mathematics in different fields. A graduate of this program will have the ability to apply mathematics in a real-world setting, earning an average starting salary of $56,000 and mid-career salary of $95,000.
9. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: PHILADELPHIA
The University of Pennsylvania is another Ivy League school that offers one of the top mathematics programs in the country. The school dates back to 1740 and has a reputation of offering stimulating and challenging classes.
Since math classes develop strong critical and analytical thinking skills, UPenn math majors have gone into careers in economics, law, medicine and computer science. Classes in algebra, analysis and calculus encourage students to expand their understanding of mathematical theories and find how they can be applied to different types of jobs. Math majors at UPenn have gone on to earn top positions in many fields, earning an average mid-career salary of $113,000.
10. CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: PASADENA, CALIF.
The Department of Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology offers an undergraduate program that introduces students to theories and principles of math, while strengthening problem solving and analytical skills. Classes in algebra, statistics, linear equations, discrete mathematics and topography build over the course of the program. They are supplemented by courses in computer science, engineering, finance, economics, physics and computation and neural systems to help connect mathematics principles with real-world applications. Graduates of Caltech are equipped with the knowledge and skills to find jobs in numerous fields, earning an average starting salary of $57,000 and mid-career salary of $99,000.