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What can I do with my degree?: Mathematics

While maths is a fundamental subject for much of science and technology, there are numerous other routes you can take with your degree...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

A relevant industrial year out or final year project/dissertation will always be helpful for the more mathematically orientated careers.

Whatever role you apply for, having previous work experience will always stand you in good stead. Statisticians, developers and engineers all benefit from any paid or unpaid work experience gained, as it shows an interest in, and commitment to, their chosen field.

Evidence of working with children in play schemes or sports, and/or in a classroom is required if you're interested in teaching, even though maths is currently a shortage subject. Classroom experience, whether as an observer, classroom assistant or volunteer, is invaluable.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

There is a demand for mathematicians and statisticians across a wide range of sectors. With a mathematics degree you could pursue a career in the petroleum and nuclear industries, in medicine or IT, as well as many forms of engineering and varied government departments.

Those who have specialised in statistics can find work in the NHS, local councils, educational establishments, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, market research and marketing companies, banks and accountancy firms. There are also opportunities for employment with publicly funded research institutes or government agencies.

Find information on employers in accountancy, banking and finance, business, consulting and management, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A maths degree gives you skills in:

  • designing and conducting observational and experimental studies;
  • analysing and interpreting the resultant data, finding patterns and drawing conclusions;
  • high level IT skills;
  • approaching problems in an analytical and rigorous way, formulating theories and applying them to solve problems;
  • dealing with abstract concepts;
  • presenting mathematical arguments and conclusions with accuracy and clarity;
  • advanced numeracy and analysing large quantities of data;
  • logical thinking.

You will also have the general skills that employers expect, including:

  • communication skills;
  • time management;
  • organisational skills and working methodically and accurately;
  • teamwork skills and working independently.

Further study

A Masters may be necessary for some maths-related careers, unless you have a specialist mathematical degree, such as statistics, or done a relevant year in industry placement. This applies to operational research, medical statistics in pharmaceutical companies, meteorology and engineering design.

A PhD may also be helpful for finding work in these areas and is essential for academic careers.

Other careers, including most finance-related careers and actuarial work, require further study during employment to complete professional exams. You'll be expected to study partly in your own time.

Specific statistics courses exist as well, such as applied, medical and official statistics.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search postgraduate courses.

What do mathematics graduates do?

Six months after graduating, the top three professions for maths graduates working in the UK are finance and investment analysts and advisers, chartered and certified accountants, and programmers and software developers.

Graduate destinations for mathematics
Destinations Percentage
Employed 56.2%
Further study 22.3%
Working and studying 8.3%
Unemployed 8.5%
Other 4.7%
Types of work entered in the UK
Business, HR and financial 38.6%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 11.3%
Information technology 11.1%
Education professionals 8.5%
Other 30.5%

For a detailed breakdown of what mathematics graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Further information

Institute of Mathematics and its Applications  - for information about potential careers with a maths degree.

Written by AGCAS editors
April 2013

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