LSU College of Science

Why Major in Math?

Do you like mathematics and have a talent for it? Here are a few reasons you might consider majoring in math.

Why Major in Mathematics

  • Mathematics is a beautiful, fun, and practical field in which to work. If you enjoyed it, then consider it as a major.
  • A major in mathematics helps a person become literate, conversant, and knowledgeable in many fields. "Understanding the math" can be a stumbling block or the key to understanding in the sciences, engineering, economics, and finance. Mathematics can be the mountain from which to survey the intellectual terrain.
  • Professional schools in business, law, and medicine respect mathematics majors for their analytical ability and versatility. Nobody says, "they only majored in math."
  • Jobs with good job satisfaction. In "The Jobs Rated Almanac," Les Krantz ranked jobs using the criteria of income, stress, physical demands, potential growth, job security and work environment. Several of the top ten jobs are mathematics related. See the Wall Street Journal's Career Journal.  In 2009, the Wall Street Journal's published an article ranking (1) Mathematician (2) Actuary (3) Statistician as the best jobs in "Best Jobs and Worst Jobs" chart in Doing the Math to Find the Good Jobs.
  • Careers in teaching. Teaching can be an emotionally and intellectually rewarding career, and there is a strong nationwide job market for mathematics teachers.
  • At LSU, we try to make mathematics an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Goals of a Mathematics Education

What should a student seek and expect from an education? Is it purely training for a vocation or even a particular job? In studying mathematics, a person is learning a discipline that touches large aspects of many fields. It should prepare you for jobs, but it should also give you intellectual tools to rise in your vocation and enrich your intellectual life. Each course should contribute to some of these goals.

  • Learn to calculate: Both manipulate and solve word problems.
  • Learn certain fundamental concepts
  • Learn to read independently
  • Learn to write with coherence
  • See the power in mathematics and the abstract

An education should improve a person's ability to think and analyze. You should expect a mathematics education to improve this ability. 1. Improve your ability to think abstractly: analysis disassociated from any specific instance so that it may apply to many instances. 2. Improve your ability to think rigorously: constructing tight logical arguments that have complexity. 3. Improve your ability to think creatively: finding original or unconventional relationships and arguments. 4. Improve your ability to think critically: identifying issues, gathering background knowledge, formulating and testing hypotheses, and constructing supporting arguments A good mathematics education should fulfill 1, 2, and 3. A mathematics education combined with courses in the sciences or social sciences fulfills 4.