Careers in Applied Math

At Wheaton College, both the Math and the Applied Math major offer a solid foundation for any career path in mathematics, either in or out of academia. Mathematics and computational science are used in almost every discipline of science, engineering, industry and technology. A wide variety of career opportunities that require mathematical talent and training are available outside of academia.

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Professional mathematicians outside of academia are rarely called "mathematicians".  Instead their titles usually refer to the area to which they apply their mathematical training, for example "computational pharmacologist", "mathematical neurobiologist" or "financial numerical analyst".  Many organizations, corporations, and research institutions hire mathematicians, such as:

  • Engineering research organizations
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Medical device companies
  • Financial service and investment management firms
  • Transportation service providers
  • Communications services providers
  • E-commerce and internet-related systems providers
  • Insurance agencies
  • Federally funded contractors
  • Government labs, research offices and agencies

Although the job descriptions vary widely, applied mathematicians are primarily involved in problem solving, either using existing mathematical techniques, or designing and creating new mathematical tools. The demand for professionals with a deep mathematical knowledge is growing in many industries, and particularly in some emerging fields, such as:

  • Systems Biology and Computational Pharmacology
  • Data Mining and Data Privacy
  • Computer Animation and Digital Imaging
  • Finance and Economics
  • Ecology, Epidemiology, Environment
  • Climatology
In many of these fields, the demand for skilled mathematicians is especially high in developing countries.  

To prepare for a successful career as an applied mathematician, it is important to obtain a solid foundation in mathematical tools such as differential equations, linear algebra, matrices, combinatorics, probability and statistics, as well as computing and programming skills.  It is also important to be able to apply these skills to real-life problems, and to achieve practical results.  The Applied Math major at Wheaton College provides a solid academic foundation for a mathematical profession. 

The faculty has ties with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), and the American Statistical Association (ASA), national organizations that provide networking opportunities and assistance with career counseling and placement.

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