Why You Should Be a Math Major

Choosing to major in mathematics opens a world of intellectual exploration and diverse career opportunities. As a math major, you not only delve into the beauty of abstract reasoning but also cultivate problem-solving skills crucial in various fields.


Mathematics majors find themselves well-equipped for a broad array of careers. Whether pursuing roles in finance, data science, cryptography, or academia, the analytical skills gained through a math major are highly sought after. Many math graduates thrive in technology, actuarial science, and even pursue interdisciplinary paths, such as computational biology.

With a math major, you embark on a journey of intellectual growth and a versatile skill set that opens doors to a myriad of professional opportunities.

An overview of disciplines in mathematics

Depending on the college, Bachelors of Science in Mathematics are typically offered in the following concentrations: applied mathematics, pure mathematics, general mathematics, business mathematics, statistics, actuarial sciences, and mathematics education.

Discipline Description 2023 top school according to Niche
The application of math by different fields such as engineering or medicine
The study of math concepts independent of any application outside math
Paired with a related field (physics, economics, management, etc.)
Using math to collect, analyze, and summarize data
Actuarial Sciences
Using math in probability and statistics, including prep for the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society exams
Content knowledge and pedagogical skills for teaching math
Columbia Teachers College

You should be a math major if…you want to go to med school

“Traditionally, the path to medical school has been associated with a pre-med track, often centered around a focus on biology. However, the landscape of medical school admissions is transforming, and aspiring physicians are discovering that a diverse array of undergraduate degrees can serve as excellent alternatives.” (Noelle, “Beyond Biology: Other Undergraduate Degree Paths to Medical School”)

The following refers to U.S. medical schools:

For the 2023-2024 cycle, math and statistics majors held both the highest average MCAT score as well as the highest medical school acceptance rate for matriculants. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average total MCAT score for math and statistics major matriculants was 516.1. The next highest score was 513.8, held by physical science majors. For reference, the average MCAT score for matriculants is 511.7. Furthermore, according to the AAMC, math and statistics majors score highest in every single section. 

Of course, a great MCAT score doesn’t necessarily equate to med school acceptance. So let’s look at more statistics! 

The average medical school acceptance rate in 2023-2024 was 44%. Math and statistics majors tied for the highest average acceptance rate of 52% with humanities majors. These are the only areas of studies in which more than half of applicants are accepted, let alone matriculated. 

Majors with the highest admissions tend to achieve the highest total MCAT scores, and in recent history, math and statistics majors are the best. 

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You should be a math major if…you want to get rich

Nine out of ten of the highest paying college majors in the U.S. in 2023 are STEM degrees. Degrees in STEM offer highly competitive salaries because they rely on specialized skill sets. Since the specialized skill sets are scarce, pay typically matches demand for that talent. Studying math is beneficial because Actuarial Mathematics is ranked #6 on that list. Furthermore, math majors are in the top 12 of majors that make the most early-career. Ahead of math majors includes 7 types of engineering majors, 3 types of business majors, and computer science. 

You might also like to consider double majoring in CS, economics, or statistics. Schools like MIT even offer a Mathematics with Computer Science degree. Or, if your college allows you to dual major across schools, engineering.

You should be a math major if…

…you desire an academic experience that will give you research opportunities. Research opportunities can include summer programs with the NSA, MIT Amgen Scholars Program, and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, to name just a few. Many research programs partner math students with business or engineering students. For instance, you could research in markets and organizations, or biotechnology. Keep in mind these opportunities can lead to publications. How cool would it be to mention you’re a published mathematician when you go home on break?

…you enjoy friendly competition. Competing in undergraduate math competitions was one of the most enriching experiences of my entire degree. I used skills I had learned from a variety of different classes all in one problem alongside a great team. The camaraderie of the team was such that everyone’s individual skills were valued and utilized. The competitions were difficult, but “fun” is definitely the first word that comes to mind. Competitions like the COMAP MCM are quite flexible, whereas those like the Putnam offer opportunities to win up to $2,500 individually and $25,000 for your college. Here is one question from the 84th Putnam Competition (2023):

…you’re inspired by some of these contributors:

A math degree proves invaluable even if one diverges from conventional math-related careers. The analytical and problem-solving skills honed in a math program are universally applicable, making math majors sought after in diverse fields. Whether entering finance, technology, or interdisciplinary roles, the rigor of a math major equips individuals with a versatile skill set, ensuring success in a range of professional pursuits beyond traditional mathematics domains.

Obtaining a degree in mathematics isn’t a piece of cake, but perhaps it’s easy as π.