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Mathematics Major

Thinking about objects of complexity and beauty to solve the world's most critical problems

Mathematics Major

Thinking about objects of complexity and beauty to solve the world's most critical problems

Two students studying together in classroom

What will you do as a mathematics major?

The mathematics major encompasses both theory and applications of mathematics. You will have the opportunity to study in a broad spectrum of fields ranging from areas in pure mathematics such as algebra, real analysis, topology, probability and geometry to applied mathematical areas such as mathematical software, computational models and methods, mathematical biology, statistics and actuarial mathematics. Many mathematics majors also major or minor in engineering or the physical, biological or social sciences. You can complete the standard degree path or choose one of four different options in applied and computational mathematics, mathematical biology, statistics and secondary teaching emphasis to gain specialization in your area of interest and achieve your career objectives.

Options in the mathematics major

This degree option is designed for those interested in applied mathematics, modeling, and computation, preparing students for jobs in government or industry labs.

In the Mathematical Biology option you will learn how to use mathematics to solve problems in the biological sciences. This specialization will equip you for jobs in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries as well as research institutes.

If you are interested in preparing for a career teaching mathematics at the secondary level, you can add this transcript-visible option. This option is ideal for those students wishing to pursue either the double degree or master’s degree teaching licensure programs here at OSU, or to prepare for a licensure program at another institution.

This degree option is designed to allow you to focus on the study of the mathematical theory underlying statistics while simultaneously developing expertise in statistical applications. It will prepare you very well for careers in data analysis, banking, financial engineering or environmental sciences as well as for graduate study in statistics.

What can you do with a mathematics degree: Careers of our recent graduates

Senior Research Scientist at Adobe Research

Analyst at Deloitte

Tenured Math Professor, Clark College

Graduate students at Stanford, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, New York University

IT Consultant, Capital Group
Scientist at Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)
Senior Software Engineers at NWEA; Nike; HP; Lithium Technologies
Technical Writer at Amazon Web Services
Kombuchologist at Lion Heart Kombucha
Senior Android Developer at Metal Toad
Field Service Engineer at Siemens Healthineers
Instructor at Portland State University

Sample courses

Introduction to Numerical Analysis

Complex Variables

Probability

Introduction to Differential Geometry

Computational Number Theory

Jonathan Van Why in front of Kidder Hall
“An undergraduate degree in mathematics is a foundation to work on other stuff. You can either go to graduate school or you find another field that relies on mathematics and you get to be the math person on the team. It is so useful in so many fields.”
Johnathan Van Why (Mathematics ’16), Software Engineer at Google

Meet our students and alumni

Biochemistry, mathematics and molecular biology students win 2021 Goldwater awards for research excellence

Two students from the College of Science have been awarded the competitive 2021 Goldwater awards.

Mathematics and writing senior awarded Department of Energy fellowship

Megan Tucker will graduate next month with a substantial amount of research experience under her belt: She was awarded the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship, which gave her the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Albany, Oregon, during the summer of 2019. The new knowledge gained from her internship helped her land a job as a technical writer with Amazon Web Services — a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments.

Using mathematical biology to explore everything from ecological phenomenon to cancer cells

Mathematics senior Rachel Sousa found her passion in mathematical biology, motivated to work harder and break barriers in the notoriously male-dominated field.

Meet a Science Grad: Scott Clark

At Oregon State, Scott Clark (08) was able to pursue majors in physics, mathematics and computational physics all at once. Today he is the CEO and co-founder of SigOpt.

Math alumna’s disease modeling at national lab aiding public health initiatives to combat COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has placed mathematical models in the spotlight as they have become central to public health interventions, planning, resource allocation and forecasts.

Next steps

Download Mathematics Brochure 2020 (PDF)