Careers in Mathematics
College graduates with mathematics skills enjoy an array of job opportunities at virtually all levels because of the serious national shortage, expected to get worse in the decade ahead, of qualified professionals.
Traditionally, math majors pursue careers in industry or within the academic setting. They teach, conduct research, or do both, working for schools, colleges, universities, high-technology companies, or research agencies such as NASA, the National Security Agency, or Bell Labs. With appropriate additional study, other avenues for the math major include operations research, computation, statistics, information sciences, actuarial science, government work in statistics, computation, and modeling at the federal, state, and local levels, and interdisciplinary work in medicine, biological sciences, social sciences, business, and economics.
Mathematics at UAB
The Department of Mathematics at UAB offers a complete range of courses in both pure and applied mathematics at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. Many Birmingham-area students come to UAB for advanced courses not available at their own institutions. Some advanced students take courses on a part-time basis while still enrolled in high school.
The majority of the more than twenty full-time faculty members in the department are practicing research mathematicians, many of whom are nationally and internationally known and respected for their work. These faculty are all involved in undergraduate teaching.
B. S. Degree in Mathematics
The B.S. degree in mathematics is the minimal entry requirement for most careers in mathematics. In addition, it provides easy access to careers in health, science, and engineering. Academic background required: Two years of high school algebra, trigonometry, and a course including the logarithmic and exponential functions.
The above topics are offered in a sequence of two (or three) pre-calculus courses at UAB for those with weaker backgrounds.
Accelerated programs are available for especially gifted students.
For the major there are four distinct tracts that can be pursued:
- Mathematics (traditional track)
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Mathematics with Honors; and
- Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation
Degree requirements for all tracks: 120 total semester hours (approximately forty courses), usually earned in four years full-time, two semesters per year. UAB is in session three terms per year, so it is possible to finish in three years.
The 120 hours minimum includes the following for a mathematics major:
- UAB Core Curriculum: 42-56 hours (depending on prior skills).
- Mathematics Courses: 40 hours in the traditional and applied tracks, 48 hours in the honors track, including a research project, and 32 hours in the mathematical reasoning track.
- The traditional track requires a calculus and differential mathematics core (15); Introduction to Modeling (3); Advanced Calculus I-II (6); a two course sequence (3-6) in linear and modern algebra, differential equations, operations research, differential geometry, topology, or statistics; and two or three approved mathematics electives (6-9).
- The mathematical reasoning track requires a trigonometry and calculus core (6); finite mathematics; patterns, functions, and algebraic reasoning; geometry and proportional reasoning; history of mathematics; introduction to modeling; statistics; integrating mathematical ideas; and connecting mathematics to science and technology.
- The applied mathematics and scientific computation track requires a calculus and differential mathematics core (15); Scientific Programming (3); a two course sequence (6) chosen from partial differential equations/modeling with partial differential equations, operations research, and probability/statistics; and four approved mathematics electives (12).
- A minor area of study. For the applied mathematics and scientific computation track, this must be in the sciences, engineering or business.
All tracks require a Senior Seminar (taken in the senior year) in which students from all four tracks are simultaneously enrolled. Each of the four tracks may be associated with an appropriate certification route to teach at the K-12 level. In particular, the traditional or honors tracks are usually associated with teaching grades 7-12 and the mathematical reasoning track is associated with teaching grades 4-8 (middle school). A double major in mathematics and education is available for pre-high school teachers, and a major in mathematical reasoning and minor in education is available for pre-middle school teachers, coordinated with the School of Education in the College of Arts and Sciences. Course descriptions and additional information on degree requirements can be found in the university catalog.
B. S. Degree in Natural Science
(with a major concentration in Mathematics)
The B.S. degree in natural science with a concentration in mathematics can be terminal or pre-professional. It is often used as a basis for entry into the fifth year M.Ed. degree program in the School of Education or the accelerated engineering learning program in the School of Engineering.
Degree requirements are: 120 semester hours of work, including:
UAB Core Curriculum:42-56 hours (depending on prior skills).
- Mathematics Courses: 30 hours (9 courses), consisting of Calculus I-III (12); Introduction to Differential Equations (3); Introduction to Modeling (3); Algebra I: Linear (3); and three approved mathematics elective courses (9).
- A minor area of concentration chosen from biology, computer science, chemistry, or physics: 27 hours of courses approved by the minor department.
The Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Jeanne S. Hutchison, is available to advise students on career and academic objectives and program planning. Mathematics majors are encouraged to consult her before registration each term, or whenever they have questions concerning their academic progress. Department faculty are pleased to discuss their research and professional interests with students.
Anyone interested in advisement, visiting the department, or desiring further information about the Mathematics program at UAB is invited to call 934-2154 or to stop by Room 452, Campbell Hall, 1300 University Blvd.
Advanced students interested in the UAB Mathematics Fast-Track Program leading to a BS and MS degree in 4 to 5 years should contact
Department of Mathematics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294-1170
Call: (205) 934-2154