Math Careers

Many students think the only possible careers for mathematics majors are in educational fields, but this misconception has been readily disproved by past graduates from PLU. While many of our graduates are accomplished mathematics teachers and district leaders, others have found successful careers as financial analysts or engineers, data scientists, actuaries, consultants, lawyers, software engineers, statisticians, government contractors, scientific researchers and in a variety of other positions. We have graduates working at many of the major Pacific Northwest companies, including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks; we also have graduates working for local, state, and national government agencies. 

The mathematics major has historically been good at preparing students to adapt to technological changes, making them excellent candidates for positions at, for example, tech and health startups. Furthermore, as our society becomes increasingly data-dependent, almost every industry will need data analysts of some sort (from large industries all the way down to the smallest of nonprofits), and a mathematics major with a statistics and/or data science minor provides solid preparation for such careers. The mathematics major at PLU will provide you with a broad background including numerous problem-solving and modeling techniques. If you couple your major with minors or second majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, physics, or business, you will likely be able to find interesting and challenging entry-level positions that seek people with strong quantitative skills. Your studies here can also prepare you for different graduate-level work including masters programs in mathematics, data science, and bioinformatics, that will prepare you for more advanced careers with major businesses or at national laboratories.

Our graduates have paired their study of mathematics with majors such as Hispanic studies, English, or music and minors in a wide range of disciplines. As a liberal arts university committed to Lutheran higher education, PLU provides students exposure and access to many fields of study, and makes our majors adaptable to a great variety of careers, and more desirable for employers who value well-rounded candidates whose education has equipped them with critical thinking skills. 

People with a background in mathematics find jobs in all areas. For more resources for what you can do with a focus in Mathematics, see the following links:

The following is also a useful checklist for things to do when preparing to enter the job market. Remember, it is never too early to prepare for your career.

  1. Get advice. Talk to faculty members about careers and what classes you should take now to make yourself more hireable when you graduate. Also you will want to know if you should get a graduate degree after you finish at PLU.
  2. Sharpen your computer skills. Most careers for math majors require working with computers. Strong computer skills are a big help in finding a job. Take courses and learn some software packages.
  3. Have a minor or second major. Graduates who know math and something else are most desirable. Choose a minor that you enjoy. Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, Economics and Business all fit in well with Math. But English or a foreign language also make sense.
  4. Get involved! Employers like to hire people who can work well with others. Extra curricular activities or jobs where you work with others and learn to communicate with others are the sort of thing employers look for.
  5. Take advantage of summer jobs or any internship opportunities you can find. The more experience you can get the more hireable you are.