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College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

We are pleased you are interested in the Department of Mathematics! We hope the links on the left help answer your questions about the Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.

Here's a recommendation from one of our previous students Mark Oberle:

"Are you a teacher?" That is the question I am asked quite frequently when I tell people that I majored in mathematics. Despite working as a math tutor for a number of years, majoring in mathematics did not automatically pigeonhole me into a career as a teacher, or at least, I did not let it. Try thinking about it this way: few companies will hire you for just you and your degree. They hire you for what tools you currently have and what tools you could easily obtain through work experience.

Think about developing a minor or gaining experience in a field that complements mathematics. For me, that was computer science. During my years at CSUSM, I obtained a minor, which proved critical for my later profession. Having skills developed in an adjacent area of study allows you to present yourself both as a mathematician and as a student of whatever field you happen to be studying. Having those extra tools in your tool belt instantly gives you a leg up on your competition because you have already shown that you are not a one trick pony.

Next, think outside-of-the-box for your education. The Cal State system has a fantastic study abroad program in many countries. During my junior year, I attended the University of Heidelberg in Germany where I attended lectures and labs alongside German students. Seeing and experiencing a different perspective of mathematical education particularly helped me hone skills that I might have not otherwise been able to exercise only studying in the States. Additionally, the cultural experience added the tools of cultural adaptation to my tool belt. While you may think language would be a severe barrier, you must remember that mathematics truly is the universal language.

After graduating with a Bachelor's degree, I was hired to work as a software engineer at a local software development company, a job that I only qualified for due to my study of computer science. I was able to quickly come up to speed with the other computer science college hires, despite having a different degree. I have been in this position for a little over a year and a half now, and I made the decision to pursue a graduate degree and was accepted into the System Architecting and Engineering graduate program at the University of Southern California. Many fields of study in sciences or engineering accept a degree in mathematics as satisfying the prerequisite for admission.

I was able to do these things with "just" a math degree. Math people think differently from others. We deal in both the abstract and the concrete and are both creative and methodical. While that may seem natural to us, it is not for many people in the workforce. We are trained to be analytical thinkers. Having this sort of background will really make you stand out of the crowd. So just remember: being a math major does not imply being a math teacher. Push your own limits, and you will likely be surprised what you can accomplish with a math degree.