• One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo

Become a Mathematician



A mathematician is someone who is an expert in the field of mathematics. Exploring mathematics involves both deciphering theoretical abstract concepts and applying these theories to the real-world to solve engineering, economics, business, and other scientific problems. Becoming a good mathematician requires interest, willingness, and persistence. If you are fascinated by math and have a passion for mathematical concepts and numbers, pursuing a career as a mathematician might be right for you.

Prepare in High School

You should take as many mathematics courses as possible in high school. Most schools offer algebra, trigonometry and geometry. If available, advanced placement courses in calculus and physics can provide you with a sense of what courses in your first year of college will be like. Computer courses are helpful since your later work may involve very large data sets, large equation matrixes or repetitive calculations.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics

Bachelor's degree programs in mathematics train you to understand and apply elements of mathematical reasoning like logic, formal proof, abstraction and generalization. You learn to analyze data, create and analyze mathematical models and communicate robust arguments. Course topics may include calculus, linear algebra and differential equations, number theory, numerical analysis, probability and statistics. Bachelor's degrees are typically earned in four years.

Enroll in a Ph.D. Program

You may gain admission to most doctoral programs in mathematics with a bachelor's degree, but most require you to complete their requirements for a master's degree on the way to earning a doctorate. Admission to these programs is competitive, with most requiring applicants to submit general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as well as scores for the GRE mathematics subject test. You will probably need to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts and a statement of purpose with your application forms. Some programs may require a list of advanced mathematics courses with your application, while others administer placement examinations when you enroll in the graduate program, to test your knowledge of basic mathematical concepts, beyond what the GRE mathematics exam demonstrates.