What Are the Different Types of Mathematics Degree Requirements?

A.E. Freeman

Mathematics degree requirements vary depending on the type of degree a student is pursuing. A bachelor of arts degree, for example, requires more liberal arts courses and may have a foreign language requirement. Mathematics degree requirements for a bachelor of science typically involve a student taking more technical courses and higher-level math courses. Before a student can earn a PhD in mathematics, he usually needs to pass a comprehensive examination and complete a dissertation.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

In many mathematics departments, a student must take a specified number of courses to earn a degree. Generally, a student should take several semesters of calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations early in his college career. As a student progresses toward his degree, the math requirements become more advanced and specialized, depending on that student's area of focus.

Other mathematics degree requirements depend on the type of math a student is interested in and the career she wishes to pursue. A student who wants to teach math to secondary or primary school students will most likely have to take some courses in the education department before she can earn a degree and teaching certification. Students who are interested in computer science and math may choose to double-major and take computer science courses as well. Other courses students can take to complete their mathematics degree include classes in economics, actuarial science, or business.

A student pursuing a bachelor of arts will have different mathematics degree requirements. Some schools require a senior project or thesis from students pursuing a bachelor of arts. The project must usually be supervised by a faculty member and should include research into a topic that is new to the student.

Bachelor of arts degrees may also require the student to study a language for at least a few semesters. Some math programs prefer a student to have a reading knowledge of a language such as French or German. A language may be a prerequisite for graduate-level programs as well.

Students who decide to purse a graduate degree in mathematics will find that they have even more coursework requirements. Most master's programs in math require 30 or so credit hours. The process to earning a PhD in math is more complicated. A student will need to complete even more coursework, pass examinations, and write and defend a dissertation. Some PhD programs also require a residency before the degree is earned.

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