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What sort of classes are involved in a Math Major?

Math is something that I enjoy doing and am very good at, and I would like to pursue it as my major in preparation for medical school. I feel that it would increase my critical thinking skills and my problem-solving skills. However, I was wondering if anyone could tell me what sort of classes I would take, what sort of math-related skills I would learn, what kind of careers I could pursue with a math degree if medical school didn't work out, and any other information you think I should be aware of when it comes to this major. #mathematics #math

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Arthur’s Answer

Hi Rebekah,
good question! I'm a rising sophomore in college and I'm considering a math major myself. I'm sure there are variations among colleges, but I think some of the common ones are Linear Algebra, Multi-variable calculus, Algebra I, Advanced calculus, and then various electives that get even more specific depending on your interests. I'm not sure what you mean by "math-related skills," but some of the things you will learn is the theory, how the theory came to be developed, how it is useful and how to use it. You do get good at reading carefully, since there are often times restrictions that are stated (for example, a problem might ask for only positive integer solutions). There are a lot of career opportunities, as math is a major building block for many different fields, physics and chemistry being the most common examples. However, the social sciences and humanities often use statistics, and economists certainly use a lot of math to model the economy. So there are a lot of different paths you could pursue, depending on your interests. I'd recommend visiting your career development site for more detailed discussions on this topic, but I hope I at least gave you a little bit of a start in terms of possibilities.

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Jack’s Answer

I completed my undergrad in math. Some of the common courses math majors take include:

- Calculus (univariate and multivariate)
- Discrete Math (intro to proof-solving)
- Differential Equations
- Linear Algebra
- Probability
- Real Analysis (proving Calculus concepts rigorously)

After this point, you start to take more advanced courses. Some I took included

- Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry
- Complex Analysis (Calculus with imaginary numbers)
- More differential equations
- Number Theory

I have heard that having a major in different areas than biology or chemistry can help you stand out during the med school application process, although I cannot confirm whether or not this is true. Majoring in math would provide you with a solid foundation for the chemistry/biology/physics classes you would need to take in preparation for the MCAT, but I am not sure how much the higher level classes would help you with that. I would think the returns would start to diminish after Calculus/Differential Equations.

In terms of job opportunities for math majors, there are plenty. I had many different options. Some popular job paths are computer science, finance (portfolio management), accounting, and data science (any large corporation likely has a data science team). This list is by no means exhaustive. More school may be required if you want to do some sort of industry research, but an undergrad degree in math alone should set you up well for different job prospects.

There are 2 things you should do if you decide to major in math:

1) Make sure you are supplementing your math classes with the classes you will need for the MCAT (chemistry, biology, and physics classes).
2) Take a few classes in business, economics, computer science, and/or accounting to broaden your options if you decide not to go to med school.

Best of luck and enjoy your time at university!
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Neala’s Answer

There are many classes like theoretical proofs, discrete structures, linear algebra etc.. Usually math majors have to do a lot of focus classes on specific large topics like linear algebra!
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Hilda’s Answer

While you will undoubtedly need to take many math courses you should also ensure you get exposure to many other fields, including history and literature.
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