Mathematics is the universal language behind many careers, including business, engineering, applied sciences and even teaching. Individuals with solid math skills are in strong demand, and there are various opportunities available for graduates with a degree in mathematics. Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are available; the one you choose is based on your university’s availability and your personal preference.

Basics

With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, you can anticipate a heavy math-related course load. Regardless if you are getting a B.A or a B.S., common course requirements include calculus, statistics, linear algebra, complex variables, probability and differential equations. Potential career options with a B.A. or a B.S. include actuarial work, cryptography, computer security, statistical modeling and biotechnology.

Choosing a B.A. or B.S.

At many universities, a B.S. is more science and math-intensive, while a B.A. allows for more liberal arts options. Deciding if you want a B.A. or a B.S. is based on your university’s offerings and your personal preferences. For example, the University of Florida recommends that students planning to pursue graduate school in mathematics consider a B.S., while a B.A. allows more flexibility for those who want to double major. Many universities offer both a B.A. and a B.S. mathematical program. The core requirements of the programs usually are the same, with a significant difference in the electives. B.S. students take additional advanced science or math courses to fulfill elective requirements while B.A. students have more flexibility with their electives. At Drexel University, for example, a B.A. in mathematics requires fewer mathematical courses and allows for broader choices in required math courses than a B.S.

Sample B.A. Course Load

At Yale University, a B.A. math major must take 10 courses in mathematics or related departments, in addition to core university requirements. At least two of these courses must come from algebra, real analysis or complex analysis. Vector analysis and linear algebra are required classes, and each math major must take a math-related senior seminar. Outside of these basic requirements, B.A. students must take seven elective courses selected from algebra, combinations and number theory, logic and foundations, analysis, geometry and topology and applied mathematics.

Sample B.S. Course Load

At Loyola University, a B.S. math major must take 13 courses in mathematics or related departments, in addition to the university’s core requirements. B.S. required courses include two calculus courses, modern algebra courses and analysis courses and one course each in multivariable calculus, ordinary differential equations, elementary number theory, linear algebra, statistics and oriented mathematical programming. Students must take one math-related elective. Choices include numerical methods, game theory, algebraic coding theory and financial mathematics.