Feature

The Best Mathematics Programs in the World Today

The Best Mathematics Programs in the World Today

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Search Colleges
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Earning a mathematics degree from the best mathematics programs in the world helps graduates stand out on the job market.

A mathematics degree prepares graduates for lucrative, in-demand careers in roles like mathematician or statistician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these careers pay a median salary of over $92,000 per year. BLS data indicates faster-than-average projected job growth for mathematicians and statisticians, as well.

Math majors also work as data scientists, actuaries, risk managers, accountants, and math teachers. Earning a bachelor's degree from a top program qualifies a candidate for entry-level roles in most fields, making mathematics one of the most versatile majors. Math majors can use their analytical and critical thinking skills to solve problems in business, engineering, technology, government, and healthcare.

Our list ranks the top mathematics programs to help prospective students find the right fit to help them achieve their career goals. This article also introduces common mathematics courses and the salary and career outlook for in-demand mathematics careers.

Best Mathematics Programs in the World Today

Best Mathematics Programs in the World Today

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California, United States

Originally known as Throop University, Caltech took its current name in 1920. Dedicated to building knowledge through research and education, Caltech houses six academic divisions and boasts a 3-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio for its over 3,000 annual enrollees.

The undergraduate degree in mathematics at Caltech includes required coursework in mathematical writing, geometry, and topology. The curriculum fosters abstract thought, concrete investigation skills, pattern recognition, problem-solving, and data analysis.

Caltech's doctorate in mathematics spans five years. During the first and second years, students complete core courses in abstract algebra and complex analysis and take qualifying exams. In the laster years, students take advanced math courses in their chosen areas of interest.

Finally, each enrollee identifies a research topic, finds a mentor, and takes a candidacy exam as they work toward writing a dissertation. Available research areas include combinatorics, noncommutative geometry, and algebraic geometry. Caltech also offers postdoctoral opportunities in mathematics.

Undergraduate applicants to Caltech need not submit SAT or ACT scores for the 2021 academic year. Graduate students receive consideration on an individual basis, with an understanding of all possible COVID-19-related challenges and disruptions.

Columbia University

New York, New York, United States

Columbia was founded in 1754 and is the fifth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Columbia houses 16 academic schools, with four additional affiliate schools, and enrolls more than 33,000 students annually.

Through Barnard College, one of Columbia's affiliates, students can earn bachelor's degrees in mathematics or applied mathematics. Both programs suit individuals who plan to continue on to graduate school in the discipline. Learners also have the opportunity to major in mathematical sciences, which blends coursework in mathematics, computer science, and statistics.

Columbia's department of mathematics offers an undergraduate degree in mathematics that fosters theoretical and applied mathematical skills. Students complete classes in calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical analysis in anticipation of advanced and interdisciplinary coursework.

The master's degree in mathematics with an emphasis on the mathematics of finance includes 36 credits of coursework. Learners complete full-year courses in three of the following areas: analysis and probability, modern geometry, lie groups and representations, algebraic topology, complex analysis and Riemann surfaces, and algebraic geometry and number theory.

Columbia also offers a doctorate in mathematics, during which students participate in seminars, research, and teaching activities. After the first year of the doctoral program, students earn master of arts degrees. The fourth year results in a master of philosophy degree, while successful completion of a dissertation and defense leads to a doctorate of mathematics. Enrollees can also earn allied doctoral degrees in statistics, computer science, and applied mathematics.

Undergraduate students do not need to send ACT or SAT scores to apply. Due to COVID-19, Columbia has paused admission to its doctoral program in mathematics for one year.

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Zurich, Switzerland

Founded by the Swiss federal government in 1855, ETH Zurich offers academic programs that support innovation in STEM. ETH Zurich enrolls more than 21,000 students annually and provides additional non-degree and continuing education courses.

Mathematics programs at ETH Zurich include a 180-credit bachelor's degree. Students complete fundamental coursework in mathematics, physics, and computer science during the first two years. The third year of the curriculum emphasizes specialized areas of mathematics as learners complete bachelor's degree thesis projects.

The master's degree in mathematics at ETH Zurich spans 90 credits of coursework, and students can choose mathematics or applied mathematics concentrations. The mathematics curriculum emphasizes pure mathematics, while the applied mathematics concentration incorporates coursework in practical areas such as finance and insurance mathematics.

ETH Zurich's doctorate in mathematics includes didactic coursework, colloquia and seminars, and program retreats. Students can specialize in research areas like geometric analysis and partial differential equations, probability theory, mathematics and teacher education, and symplectic and algebraic geometry.

Faculty members at ETH Zurich deliver coursework in German, so candidates need to demonstrate proficiency in the language for admission. Applicants to master's degrees at ETH Zurich must hold bachelor's degrees, while individuals seeking admission to the doctoral program need sponsorship from a faculty member.

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Founded in 1636, the university enrolls more than 36,000 total learners annually in its undergraduate, graduate, and extension programs.

The mathematics department at Harvard offers a bachelor's and a doctoral degree in the discipline. Undergraduate mathematics students complete required seminars, introductory classes, and upper-level courses. Within the curriculum, learners can choose specializations in general mathematics and mathematics teaching, secondary fields, or joint concentrations with other departments.

The general mathematics concentration includes eight discipline-specific classes with an additional four courses from related fields. The joint concentration allows learners to choose whether to make mathematics their primary or allied field. Students pursuing the secondary field option are encouraged to study mathematical sciences, while aspiring teachers earn a teaching certificate in cooperation with Harvard's undergraduate teachers education program.

Harvard's doctorate in mathematics includes 16 courses, a qualifying exam, a minor thesis, a language exam, and teaching requirements. During the final stages of the program, learners work with advisors on dissertations.

Harvard encourages all interested students to apply regardless of the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or comparable events. The admissions department will review all applications, even if they are deemed incomplete by the online system.

Imperial College London

London, United Kingdom

Formed when the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines, and the City & Guilds College consolidated in 1907, Imperial hosts 17,000 students annually and offers more than 250 undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Undergraduate students studying mathematics at Imperial can earn bachelor's degrees in two years. Areas of specialization include mathematics, pure mathematics, mathematics with applied mathematics/mathematics physics, mathematics with statistics, and mathematics with statistics for finance.

All mathematics learners complete core classes in calculus, algebra, and statistics during the first year of the program. The second and third years of the degree vary depending on area of emphasis.

Imperial offers two master's degrees in mathematics: mathematics and computer science or mathematics with a year abroad. These programs mirror undergraduate degrees for the first three years and culminate with a fourth year of research-based content.

Full-time students can complete Imperial's doctorate in mathematics in 3-4 years, while part-time learners can take up to six years. Milestones during the program include a research plan during the first three months, coursework and an oral exam within nine months, and a thesis and defense by the end of the degree.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Imperial has expanded its online options to offer multi-mode delivery of content.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States

In addition to its main campus, IUP operates three affiliate campuses and provides online learning opportunities to roughly 12,000 students every year. Established in 1875, IUP now offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs.

The university offers four undergraduate degrees in mathematics: mathematics, actuarial mathematics, applied mathematics, and mathematics education.

Required coursework for mathematics majors covers calculus, mathematical proofs, and probability and statistics. Enrollees studying actuarial mathematics take classes in financial mathematics, computational mathematics, and time series analysis, while applied mathematics students take classes in modeling and simulation, numerical methods, and problem-solving and structured programming.

The mathematics education curriculum prepares students to teach at the middle school level. Learners complete classes in teaching methods, technology in mathematics instruction, and the history of mathematics in anticipation of student teaching experiences.

The graduate degree in mathematics education at IUP is designed for current teachers, helping them enhance instructional skills and leadership abilities. Enrollees can take this class on campus or through asynchronous online delivery. Within the curriculum, degree-seekers specialize in elementary and middle school or secondary education.

IUP has implemented optional SAT criteria for all majors. Each graduate-level candidate must submit transcripts, a goal statement, and letters of recommendation for consideration.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Established in 1861, MIT fosters education, research, and innovation through undergraduate and graduate programs, open learning resources, and global collaborations. MIT offers a bachelor of science and two doctoral degrees in mathematics.

The undergraduate mathematics curriculum at MIT includes four concentration options: general mathematics, applied mathematics, pure mathematics, and mathematics with computer science.

The general mathematics concentration combines mathematics with other fields, such as physics, economics, and management. The applied mathematics specialization integrates general scientific concepts, principles, and phenomena. Enrollees in the pure mathematics concentration explore analysis, algebra, and geometry, while the mathematics with computer science degree covers theoretical computer science.

Graduate students can earn a doctor of philosophy or a doctor of science degree in mathematics. Applicants enter the program declaring an intent to study either pure or applied mathematics. Each learner completes required coursework, participates in an oral qualifying exam, and engages in classroom teaching. The doctorate in mathematics culminates in a thesis and subsequent defense.

In the wake of COVID-19, the mathematics programs at MIT have added online resources for instructors and students. Undergraduate mathematics applicants may receive transfer credit for advanced placement coursework and standing exams. Graduate studies candidates must submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives, and transcripts from previous mathematics coursework for consideration. GRE scores are optional.

National University of Singapore

Singapore

Founded in 1905, NUS is the national research institution of Singapore. Starting with an initial class of only 23 students, NUS now enrolls more than 42,000 undergraduate and graduate learners annually. NUS houses 17 academic schools and 30 research institutes and centers.

The university's mathematics programs include undergraduate primary and secondary majors in applied mathematics, mathematics in finance, and data analysis. Students can also double major in mathematics and computer science or economics.

Learners can earn graduate degrees in three areas of mathematics. The master's in mathematics emphasizes enhancing existing mathematics knowledge and skills, with an additional option to complete classes at partner universities.

The master's degree in quantitative finance blends statistics, applied probability, and economic courses to train learners to understand and analyze financial models and data. The 40-credit program spans six modules, two of which include required coursework. The other four models allow learners to choose elective classes that meet their professional skills and goals. An additional option for this program includes joint study at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China.

The third mathematics master's degree at NUS emphasizes data science and machine learning. Its interdisciplinary curriculum integrates statistics, mathematics, and computer science classes. Learners with bachelor's degrees in quantitative science can find employment in finance, healthcare, and government.

New York University

New York, New York, United States

NYU was founded in 1831. Today, the university offers more than 400 academic programs through 19 schools and colleges. Individuals studying mathematics at NYU can pursue degrees in mathematics, engineering mathematics, business and mathematics, and mathematics in finance. Undergraduate mathematics programs include mathematics; mathematics and computer science; and mathematics and physics.

The master of science in mathematics at NYU includes 36 credits of coursework in pure and applied mathematics fundamentals. The master's degree in scientific computing, on the other hand, integrates coursework in computer science, engineering, and mathematics, preparing enrollees for technical careers.

The master's degree in mathematics in finance also requires 36 credits. Its curriculum builds competencies in financial theory and models, computational techniques, and practical applications of mathematics in financial markets. NYU offers a dual bachelor and master's degree in mathematics and finance, as well.

The doctorate in mathematics at NYU requires each enrollee to complete 72 credits, a written comprehensive exam, an oral examination, a dissertation, and a dissertation defense. During the first two years of the degree, students choose their primary areas of interest. Options include geometry, applied mathematics, probability, and partial differential equations and analysis.

Students can also earn a doctorate in atmospheric and ocean science, which shares many of the same requirements as the mathematics doctorate. Learners complete the program in five years, focusing on applied mathematics, fluid dynamics, and approved atmospheric and ocean science topics.

Paris Sciences et Lettres University

Paris, France

PSL was founded in 2010 through the union of multiple institutions of learning in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Formally identified as a university in 2019, PSL hosts more than 17,000 enrollees and nearly 3,000 researchers each year.

PSL emphasizes multidisciplinary learning in all of its programs. The mathematics and computer science licenses at PSL cover fundamental coursework in both areas, with specializations in mathematics economics, mathematics computer science, applied mathematics, and IT organizations.

PSL's bachelor's degree in economy and society also allows learners to specialize in mathematics. PSL also offers a math and society program.

The master's degree in mathematics and applications at PSL has multiple curricula options. During the first year, enrollees can study applied mathematics, fundamental mathematics, or advanced mathematics. The second year offers concentrated coursework in actuarial services; statistical and financial engineering; mathematics of insurance, economics, and finance; mathematics, apprenticeship, and human sciences; and applied and theoretical mathematics.

PSL's doctoral program similarly offers multidisciplinary flexibility. Enrollees complete coursework in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering science, and each student must identify their research area, prepare a thesis, and participate in a defense.

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania, United States

Penn State serves as Pennsylvania's largest public institution of higher learning with 24 campuses and an online World Campus. With more than 100,000 students, Penn State offers roughly 400 undergraduate degrees and certificates, in addition to graduate and professional programs.

Penn State's undergraduate mathematics programs span its many campuses. At the University Park location, students can earn a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts in mathematics. Both curricula include core mathematics courses that prepare learners for graduate study or to enter the workforce.

The bachelor of science degree includes options to specialize in actuarial mathematics, applied and industrial mathematics, computational mathematics, general mathematics, or systems analysis. Penn State's bachelor of arts in mathematics emphasizes the application of mathematics in arts and humanities disciplines.

Graduate students at Penn State can earn master of arts or master of education degrees in mathematics. Enrollees can also pursue doctor of education or doctor of philosophy degrees in the field. The university also offers a dual doctorate and master of arts program in mathematics and operations research.

For the 2021 academic year, Penn State has made SAT and ACT scores optional for applicants. Graduate and professional students should check with their programs for specific application requirements.

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Initially called the College of New Jersey upon its establishment in 1746, Princeton adopted its current moniker in 1896. The university enrolls more than 8,000 students annually in 36 academic departments.

Princeton's department of mathematics offers a bachelor of arts degree and a doctoral program. To declare an undergraduate mathematics major, students need prior knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical theory.

Math majors build upon their foundational understanding of mathematical arguments, processes, and proofs through eight upper-level courses in real analysis, complex analysis, algebra, and geometry or topology. Elective courses allow students to explore statistics, finance, computer science, or related topics.

Doctoral mathematics students at Princeton begin by completing courses in algebra, analysis, and geometry. Next, they participate in seminars before choosing two advanced research topics.

After successful completion of the general examination, students move into the thesis-writing stage of their doctoral degrees. Additional requirements for graduate students include foreign language proficiency and at least one year in residence.

Undergraduate students do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores for the 2021 academic year, and the graduate mathematics program does not require GRE scores. Required documents include a statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Saint Francis University

Loretto, Pennsylvania, United States

Saint Francis is one of the oldest Catholic Franciscan universities in the United States. With more than 50 academic programs, Saint Francis emphasizes faith, generosity, respect, discovery, and joy throughout its campus community.

Undergraduate students at Saint Francis can earn bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in mathematics. Optional concentrations include applied mathematics, actuarial science, secondary education, secondary/special education, and computer science.

Learners can also minor in applied mathematics or quantitative methods. Each undergraduate program in mathematics includes core coursework in calculus, analytical geometry, and linear algebra. Students who choose bachelor of arts degrees focus on how mathematics relates to arts and humanities, while bachelor of science learners take additional classes in hard skills like probability, abstract algebra, and real analysis.

The university's applied mathematics concentration builds knowledge and skills in statistics, computation, modeling, and engineering. The actuarial science emphasis prepares degree-seekers to assess risk in insurance, finance, and business.

Saint Francis also offers a 30-credit master of education in mathematics coaching endorsement. The curriculum includes core classes in educational statistics, research, and law. Along with additional instructional courses, students take courses in teaching and learning numbers and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability.

Stanford University

Stanford, California, United States

Stanford was founded by California Senator and Governor Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their son, Leland Jr. Today, Stanford offers undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 16,500 enrollees each year.

Among Stanford's 65 undergraduate majors is a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which requires 64 credits of coursework. Students take sequence classes in single-variable calculus and multivariable calculus, plus 15 credits of elective coursework, which allows learners to focus on specific areas of interest. Focus area options include pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and theoretical mathematics.

Stanford's doctorate in mathematics program integrates classroom coursework and seminars to prepare learners for qualifying examinations on algebra and real analysis. Each student receives a dissertation advisor and takes an examination in their research field during the third year of the program. The final phase of the doctorate involves dissertation writing and an oral defense.

All graduate students studying mathematics participate in assistantships during the program. Additional requirements include active participation in seminars.

Stanford's admission requirements reflect its commitment to helping students traverse difficulties caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. The university takes each applicant's individual circumstances into consideration independently. Undergraduate applicants are exempt from SAT and ACT requirements.

Each graduate applicant must submit a statement of purpose, transcripts, the names of at least three recommenders, and optional GRE subject scores for consideration.

Susquehanna University

Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States

SU opened in 1858 as the Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. SU gained university status during the 1890s and now offers undergraduate learners more than 100 academic programs.

Mathematics students at SU learn practical applications of the discipline in anticipation of careers in engineering, computer science, and information technology. The mathematics bachelor's degree includes 55-58 credits of required major classes in calculus, algebra, and discrete structures.

To earn a teacher certification, learners must take additional education classes in theory and instruction, methods of curriculum and assessment in mathematics teaching, and principles of learning and teaching. Mathematics majors can also complete an interdisciplinary minor in areas like chemistry, actuarial science, computer science, and business.

Mathematics majors can also earn joint mathematics and engineering degrees with partner schools. In this program, students complete their mathematics coursework in three years at SU before taking an additional two years of engineering classes at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; or at SU.

SU has adjusted its academic calendar to allow for more remote learning due to COVID-19. Applicants do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores for consideration.

University of Warwick

Coventry, United Kingdom

As a premier institution of higher learning in the English Midlands, the University of Warwick features 29 academic departments and more than 50 research centers and institutions. Originally opening its doors in 1965, the university now enrolls nearly 28,000 students annually.

Undergraduate programs in mathematics include bachelor of science degrees in mathematics; mathematics and philosophy; mathematics and physics; and mathematics and statistics. Learners can also earn bachelor of arts degrees in mathematics and philosophy. All bachelor's degree students must complete three years of coursework.

The University of Warwick also offers master's degrees in mathematics, mathematics and physics, and mathematics and statistics. The first part of each postgraduate program mirrors undergraduate offerings, with an additional year to explore a specific area of interest. Each enrollee also undertakes a research or practical project in the field during the fourth year.

Degree-seekers can earn doctorates in mathematics, interdisciplinary mathematics, or mathematical finance. The mathematics doctoral program emphasizes advanced research, while the interdisciplinary program allows students to combine coursework with another discipline, such as chemistry, physics, or biology. Mathematics finance doctoral students focus on the intersection of mathematics and business.

The University of Warwick also offers a dual master and doctoral degree program in real-world systems. The curriculum helps learners develop problem-solving skills to address contemporary issues in health, industry, and finance.

Tsinghua University

Beijing, China

Tsinghua University was established during the early 20th century to facilitate interaction between Chinese and Western cultures. Through 20 academic schools, Tsinghua University provides undergraduate and postgraduate programs to nearly 60,000 students each year.

Undergraduate programs in mathematics include a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics or in pure and applied mathematics. Students can participate in research groups in pure math, applied mathematics and probability statistics, and computer mathematics operations.

Each program comprises 44 credits of general education classes, 96-116 credits of major coursework, and additional self-directed study requirements. Students take part in seminars, blended learning classes, and challenge-based coursework.

Tsinghua University offers a master of science and a doctorate in mathematics, but only the doctorate is available in English. Tsinghua University also houses the Yau Mathematical Science Center and an Institute of Mathematics Education. Admission to Tsinghua University is competitive, and it often recruits students for postgraduate study.

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California, United States

Berkeley is one of the nine campuses within the University of California System, ranking among the top public universities in the United States. Founded in 1868, Berkeley now offers more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.

Learners at Berkeley can pursue bachelor's degrees or doctorates in mathematics. The undergraduate program includes majors in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and mathematics with a teaching certificate.

The pure mathematics curriculum includes required classes in calculus, linear algebra, and computational analysis. Applied mathematics students take similar courses, with an additional emphasis on numerical analysis and discrete mathematics. Individuals pursuing teaching certificates in mathematics complete coursework in mathematical practices and concepts.

Doctoral students can study mathematics or applied mathematics. Each applicant needs an undergraduate degree or sufficient introductory coursework in mathematics before pursuing graduate study.

The first year of a mathematics doctorate at Berkeley includes coursework preparing students for a written preliminary examination and a qualifying oral examination, for which students must choose an area of concentration. From there, students complete seminars, a dissertation, and a formal defense. All doctoral students must also complete two years of residency during their studies.

Berkeley has waived GRE requirements for graduate applicants. Instead, candidates must submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation.

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, United States

Initially a branch campus of the University of California, UCLA was elevated to university status during the 1950s. As the most applied-to university in the United States, UCLA provides nearly 4,000 courses to undergraduate and graduate students around the world.

The university's undergraduate program in mathematics includes nine specializations, including applied mathematics, data theory, financial actuarial mathematics, mathematics for teaching, and specialization in computing.

The mathematics bachelor's degree emphasizes theory, while the applied mathematics program integrates coursework in natural science, engineering, and technology. The data theory curriculum focuses on mathematical, statistical, and computational principles of data science.

Individuals interested in entering banking, business, or actuarial fields can benefit from the financial actuarial mathematics emphasis. Aspiring computer science, teaching, and government professionals should consider bachelor's degrees in computation, teaching, applied science, and economics.

UCLA also offers a master of arts in mathematics and a master of arts in teaching in mathematics. The 11-course master of arts in mathematics allows learners to choose between taking a coursework-only track or completing thesis projects. Individuals who plan to pursue doctoral studies should follow the thesis track.

The master's in teaching in mathematics includes similar coursework, but adds coursework in teaching competencies. Learners also participate in optional field experience activities.

The doctoral program in mathematics at UCLA offers specializations in pure or applied mathematics. Each student must complete a foreign language requirement, 12 required classes, written and oral examinations, and a doctoral dissertation.

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Cambridge was founded in 1209 and is the fourth-oldest university in the world. Comprising 31 colleges, six schools, and more than 150 faculties and departments, Cambridge now offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs to nearly 20,000 students annually.

Cambridge's undergraduate mathematics course, called the Mathematical Tripos, spans 3-4 years. Individuals who graduate in three years earn bachelor's degrees, while four-year learners receive bachelor's and master's degrees. The university does not offer joint degree options for undergraduate mathematics majors, but students can complete a physics concentration.

During the first year of the undergraduate program, students study pure and applied mathematics or mathematics with physics. The first option suits individuals who intend to continue with mathematics, while the second prepares learners to pursue physics. The second and the third year vary, as learners choose courses that match their interests and educational goals. Throughout the curriculum, individuals take required computational project courses.

Stand-alone graduate program options at Cambridge include pure and applied mathematics, mathematics education, statistics, and computational methods for the sciences. Doctoral degrees in mathematics emphasize subsets of the discipline, such as scientific computing, computational biology, applied mathematics and theoretical physics, and pure mathematics and mathematical statistics. Mathematics graduate programs range from nine months to seven years in length.

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, United States

UChicago was founded in 1890 to offer academic opportunities to a diverse student base. Today, the university provides undergraduate and graduate programs through 14 academic schools and divisions.

Students at UChicago can pursue bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in mathematics degrees. Concentration areas in the former include mathematics with a specialization in economics and applied mathematics. Bachelor of science and bachelor of arts learners both complete general education requirements, along with core mathematics classes in calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical analysis.

Major coursework for applied mathematics students incorporates additional classes in numerical analysis, complex variables, and ordinary and partial differential equations. The mathematics degree with a specialization in economics emphasizes mathematical probability, statistical theory and methods, and elements of economic analysis.

Graduate programs in mathematics at UChicago include a master's degree in financial mathematics. In this program, students explore the relationship between theoretical and applied mathematics as they relate to financial models.

UChicago also offers a doctorate in mathematics and a joint doctorate in mathematics and computer science. In the latter, students can choose to emphasize either mathematics or computer science. Both degrees include didactic coursework and dissertation requirements.

Undergraduate applicants are not required to send SAT or ACT scores. Each doctoral applicant must submit a resume, a statement of purpose, recommendations, and a proposed degree schedule. UChicago has waived GRE requirements for admissions due to COVID 19.

University of London

London, United Kingdom

Established by the Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London now houses 17 member institutions. With nearly 200,000 students worldwide, the University of London provides undergraduate and postgraduate programs in mathematics, along with open learning resources in the field.

Its bachelor of science in data science and business analytics trains students to conduct data analysis, use mathematical and statistical models, and understand the intersection of business and data. Learners can complete the program in just three years, with options to take all required coursework online.

The University of London also offers graduate diplomas in mathematics. Through the London School of Economics (LSE), an enrollee can earn a graduate diploma in as little as 12 months. The curriculum includes required coursework in abstract mathematics, linear algebra, and calculus. Students can take elective courses in optimization theory, advanced statistics, and discrete mathematics.

LSE also offers a one-year graduate diploma in data science, which emphasizes tools and techniques related to theoretical statistics and machine learning. Learners develop data analysis, decision-making, and technical skills.

Each applicant to the postgraduate mathematics program needs a bachelor's degree with successful completion of two mathematics subject classes.

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

As the flagship institution of Michigan, U-M moved from its initial campus in Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1841. U-M offers more than 280 undergraduate and graduate degrees through 19 academic schools and colleges.

The bachelor's degree in mathematics at U-M builds a fundamental understanding of mathematical methods, thinking, and practices. Within the curriculum, students can specialize in teaching mathematics, actuarial mathematics, financial mathematics, mathematics of insurance, and mathematical sciences.

Students can earn master's and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics and interdisciplinary mathematics (AIM) or in general mathematics. The AIM master's degree is a coursework-only program. Learners complete 31 credits of coursework.

The mathematics master's degree emphasizes research. There is no thesis requirement, but enrollees interested in doctoral study can pursue a thesis option. Degree specializations include general mathematics, mathematics for secondary school teachers, and actuarial programs.

Both doctoral programs include qualifying review examinations, coursework, and preliminary examinations. Each degree-seeker chooses an advisor and an area of research in anticipation of writing a dissertation and successfully defending their work.

Undergraduate applicants do not need to send SAT or ACT scores for the 2021 academic year. Each graduate-level candidate submits optional GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and statements of academic and personal goals.

University of Oxford

Oxford, United Kingdom

Oxford's educational origins date to the 11th century. Today, it houses nearly 100 departments organized into 39 independent, self-governing colleges, serving more than 24,000 students every year.

Mathematics programs at Oxford include undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics, mathematics and statistics, mathematics and philosophy, and mathematics and computer science. All learners complete foundational coursework during the first year before branching off to complete major-specific classes.

This 3-4 year program offers degrees in mathematics and statistics, mathematics and philosophy, and mathematics and computer science. Learners can add master's degrees by taking an additional year of courses.

The undergraduate mathematics curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of algebra, statistics, probability, and calculus through three years of coursework. The mathematics and statistics curriculum focuses on probability and statistical programming, while the mathematics and philosophy degree emphasizes logic and abstract thinking. Mathematics and computer science students study practical and abstract topics such as computer animation and computational complexity.

Oxford offers four-year degrees in mathematical and theoretical physics, along with three-year doctorates that focus on research with no didactic coursework.

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale was established in 1701 and was one of only nine American institutions of higher learning established prior to the Revolutionary War. Today, the university serves more than 13,500 undergraduate and graduate students in 14 schools each year.

Yale's mathematics bachelor's degree options include a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts in mathematics. Learners can also earn a master of arts in mathematics and philosophy or a master of science in mathematics and physics.

Both bachelor's degrees in mathematics include required coursework in real analysis, algebra, and complex analysis. The mathematics and philosophy major integrates coursework in mathematical logic, set theory, and computability and logic, while the bachelor's in mathematics and physics emphasizes the interaction of the two fields, including mathematics requirements and six advanced physics classes.

During the first two years of Yale's mathematics doctoral program, learners take eight classes to prepare for qualifying examinations. They then submit a dissertation prospectus and teach undergraduate courses as they write and defend dissertations.

Doctoral students in mathematics must maintain residency for three years of the program. There are no separate master's degrees in mathematics, but learners earn master of philosophy and master of science degrees en route to their doctorates.

Yale considers different circumstances as they review applicant transcripts for the 2021 year. Candidates do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Additionally, Yale has made the GRE optional for graduate school applicants.

Ranking Methodology
Best Programs in the World

Best Mathematics Programs in the World Ranking Guidelines

We aggregated the 2020 international university rankings for mathematics programs QS World University Rankings and Academic Influence to create our list of the best engineering programs in the world today.

What Is a Mathematics Degree?

A bachelor's degree in mathematics trains undergraduates in analytical thinking and problem-solving. While exploring statistics, calculus, and algebra, math majors learn how to break down complex problems, theorize and test solutions, and draw conclusions from mathematical analysis. A math degree also strengthens student' attention to detail and critical thinking skills.

Earning a math degree generally takes four years for full-time students. During that time, math majors take general education requirements, electives, and courses in their major. Math students can also take courses in careers in business, healthcare, engineering, or education to prepare for employment in those fields.

A mathematics degree meets entry-level requirements for jobs as government statisticians, operations research analysts, actuaries, and math teachers.

Choosing a Program

When choosing a math program, prospective students should consider several factors. For example, some programs specialize in applied mathematics, while others focus on theoretical mathematics. Students should consider degree requirements, admissions standards, and enrollment options to find their ideal programs. Check out the following resources to learn more about how to choose the right school.

How to Choose Your Major What to Look for in an Online College

What Else Can I Expect From a Mathematics Program?

During a bachelor's degree in mathematics, undergrads take classes in algebra, calculus, and statistics. Most programs include courses in both applied and theoretical mathematics, and degree seekers may also take classes in logic, number theory, and business mathematics. Math majors can also research concentration options, like mathematics education, actuarial science, or statistics.

Mathematics Curriculum

  • Mathematical Statistics: Students in this course explore sampling, estimation, and testing. Coursework also covers probability theory and applied statistics. Students learn to construct interval estimates, determine confidence intervals, and analyze the results of statistical analysis.

  • Business Finance: Business finance coursework examines financial management strategies, capital markets, and budgeting. Topics may also include fixed assets, cash flow, and financial statement analysis. The course prepares math majors for careers in banking or business accounting.

  • Calculus: Math majors generally take several calculus classes, during which they study derivatives, limits, and integrals. They also explore the applied and theoretical sides of calculus. Students who take advanced calculus may study vectors, partial derivatives, and gradients. These courses prepare math majors for advanced mathematics, science, and engineering courses.

Mathematics Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help math majors transition from education into the workforce. They also host conferences, publish research, and provide professional development opportunities. Mathematics professional organizations often run student chapters and offer prizes for undergraduates.

  • Mathematical Association of America MAA is the world's largest association dedicated to mathematics. The association publishes a scholarly journal, a mathematics magazine, and books. It also hosts conferences, lectures, and meetings to build professional relationships and expand mathematical knowledge. Student members can participate in competitions.
  • American Mathematical Society AMS dates back to 1888, and today it provides employment services, grants prizes, and resources on career paths in mathematics. Members can access professional networking opportunities, conferences, and research communities. This association publishes journals and books to keep mathematicians informed in the field.
  • Association for Women in Mathematics Founded in 1971 as a nonprofit organization, AWM represents women in the mathematical sciences. The association hosts research communities and student chapters to help mathematicians connect. The association also hosts research symposiums and essay contests, publishes newsletters and research, and provides resources for students and professionals at different stages of their careers.
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics This international organization represents individual members, along with academic, manufacturing, government, and research and development organizations. The professional association hosts conferences, publishes journals and books, and offers a digital library of resources on industrial and applied mathematics. SIAM also offers student programs, internship information, research opportunities, and a job board.
  • National Association of Mathematicians NAM advocates for the mathematical sciences and promotes diverse representation in the field. Members can participate in workshops, seminars, conferences, and collaborative projects. This association also offers professional development resources, lectures, and undergraduate events.
  • American Statistical Association Founded in 1839, ASA promotes the statistical sciences, including the work of statisticians and data scientists. The association hosts meetings with networking opportunities, publishes news and research in the field, and offers learning opportunities through its professional development program. Members can also use ASA for career services and job information.

Mathematics Careers

Mathematics degrees prepare graduates for careers in well paying, high-demand fields. Degree-holders work as mathematicians, statisticians, actuaries, and operations research analysts. The BLS projects faster-than-average job growth in each of these fields.

In addition to the following mathematics careers, a math degree also provides a strong footing for careers in fields like engineering, business, education, and technology. Learn more about earning potential and projected job growth rates for mathematics careers below.

Mathematicians and Staticians

Median Salary: $92,030 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 33%


Mathematicians and statisticians use their training to solve problems in government, healthcare, engineering, and business settings. They apply statistical or mathematical techniques to analyze data and solve problems. In some fields, mathematicians develop new theories or concepts. Statisticians design surveys and polls to collect data. After analyzing data, mathematicians and statisticians interpret the results to draw conclusions.

Public sector jobs typically require bachelor's degrees in mathematics or statistics. Many private industries look for candidates with graduate degrees. Mathematicians and statisticians can help their employment chances by taking classes in their prospective industries, such as business, engineering, or health science.

Actuaries

Median Salary: $108,350 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 18%


Actuaries analyze risk to help businesses minimize potential future costs. They collect data and then use statistical analysis and mathematical tools to analyze that data. Actuaries also estimate the cost of natural disasters, accidents, or deaths. After analyzing information, they create reports to help inform decision-makers.

The insurance industry relies on actuaries to create their insurance policies. Other industries, including financial services and business, use actuaries to increase profits and minimize risk. Most actuaries hold bachelor's degrees in fields like mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science. The Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries offer professional certifications for these professionals.

Operations Research Analysts

Median Salary: $84,810 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 25%


Operations research analysts use data to help organizations improve efficiency and solve problems. They collect data and use statistical analysis or predictive modeling to analyze information, using math to identify issues and determine solutions. Based on their analysis, operations research analysts can advise decision-makers on how to address problems.

A bachelor's degree meets the entry-level educational requirement. Most employers hire candidates with degrees in analytics, mathematics, or computer science. Courses in quantitative analysis, including calculus, algebra, and statistics, help operations research analysts excel in their professional roles. Some employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Major in If I Love Math?

Many popular majors require strong math skills, including engineering, the natural sciences, and business. In addition to these majors, math lovers can also earn mathematics degrees. Many programs offer focus areas in applied mathematics, statistics, or theoretical mathematics for math majors. In-demand careers like statistician, actuary, and data analyst hire math majors.

Is a Math Major Worth it?

Math majors study statistics, applied mathematics, and theoretical math, preparing graduates for roles like statistician, analyst, actuary, and math teacher. With so many career optionss for math majors, many degree-holders find the pathway worthwhile.

Why Is Mathematics Important?

Many disciplines draw on mathematics. Engineers, chemists, business professionals, and educators all use math to calculate measurements, determine business profits, and build critical thinking skills in young learners. Since so many professions use math, a degree in the field prepares graduates for many different career paths.

What's the Difference Between a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics?

During a BS in math, undergrads have more natural and social science requirements, while a BA in math explores more humanities courses. A BS in math best prepares majors for graduate-level study or math-centric careers, while many programs offer BAs in math for future math teachers.

Header Image Credit: | Getty Images