Math can be found in almost every sector of the world, which means the demand for such graduates is strong. In mathematics and statistics at Calvin, you will develop many widely-applicable skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, computer skills and the ability to communicate effectively, all of which lead Calvin graduates to be successful in many different fields.
Mathematics and statistics students who participated in internships (2016).
of 2016 mathematics and statistics graduates were employed or in graduate school one year after graduating.
Career placement rate for math teachers who graduated in 2013.
What can you do with a mathematics major?
The variety of applications of mathematics is staggering. Our students study mathematics to become teachers, analysts, actuaries, biostatisticians, computer programmers and much more. See Mathematical Moments publications from the American Mathematical Society to see more descriptions of these opportunities.
Here are a few career possibilities for mathematics majors:
- College professor
- Data journalist
- Engineering analyst
- Mathematical modeler
- Numerical analyst
- Operations research analyst
- Research analyst
- Systems analyst
- Technical writer
WeUseMath.org is a site dedicated to highlighting all the different ways people are using mathematics in the workplace. Take a look, you might find a career path you would never have imagined. Or get started at the Career Center.
Statistics and biostatistics
Two growing fields worthy of attention are actuarial science and biostatistics. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 27% increase in biostatistics jobs through 2022. A mathematics and statistics major, along with strong advising from professors about complementary courses in other programs (biology, public health), can prepare you to enter graduate school in biostatistics or statistics.
Calvin offers a major in actuarial science professors in the department also provide advising if you are interested in becoming an actuary. Calvin students interested in actuarial work often work as interns before graduation. This is a great way to gain experience and find out more about the profession. The current pre-actuarial advisor is Thomas Scofield.
Many of our graduates become teachers of middle school and high school mathematics. Calvin's program of strong course work in both mathematics and education, seminars devoted to the teaching of mathematics, and practical experience in the classroom prepare students well for careers as mathematics educators.
Education beyond Calvin
For some careers, additional education may be required or recommended. Many Calvin graduates go to graduate school in mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and biostatistics. These students receive scholarships, fellowships or assistantships from outstanding universities. In the past several years, our graduates have received doctorates from University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon, Purdue and Wisconsin. Other graduates complete master's degrees in mathematics or statistics and take positions in industry or with private or governmental agencies, working as research consultants, operations research specialists, or statisticians.
Continued education for actuaries is a bit different. Typically actuaries begin working for a company in the insurance or financial sector and continue to prepare for and take additional actuarial exams while they are employed. Many employers allow employees to spend part of their work time preparing for these exams. Find out more about the actuarial profession at beanactuary.org.
Combining mathematics with other disciplines
A number of our majors and minors combine their programs with a major in another discipline like biology, chemistry, computer science , economics, engineering, or physics. Mathematics is a useful skill to add to any of these programs (and others as well) and can open up additional opportunities in a wide variety of careers. We welcome anyone who is interested in combining mathematics with something else in this way.
Graduation Year: 2014
Hometown: Ada, Michigan
Math and political science major Ryan Struyk worked at ABC News as a part of Calvin's Washington, D.C. semester program in the spring of 2014. He used skills learned through his mathematics major to land an internship at a polling center for ABC News and the Washington Post after graduation. Read more about Ryan's internship experience.
Graduation Year: 2013
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Anna Plantinga '13 was recognized for her excellent undergraduate research at Calvin with the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. After being accepted to PhD programs at places like Harvard and University of Washington, she chose to combine her love of biology and mathematics in a biostatistics program at UW. Read more about Anna receiving the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. After graduating from Calvin with majors in biology and mathematics, Anna entered the PhD program in Biostatistics at the University of Washington. Besides learning statistical theory, Anna has been studying questions such as how to predict health outcomes from electronic health records and how accurately we can determine which parts of a person's genome were originally European, African, or Native American. Anna says "the first-hand research experience I had at Calvin, both in labs and during the summer, taught me how to ask good questions and design tests to answer them; my coursework gave me a solid biological and mathematical background."