This is the website for the members of the Department of Mathematics and contains information about the operations of the department: committees, policy documents, etc. Most documents are only available to those with accounts. For the public website of the Mathematics Department go to

You are here

What is America's Highest Rated Job?

A report released this year has ranked Mathematician as the number one job! The report compared a large number of different occupations, using multiple criteria including stress level, work environment, renumeration, and opportunities for advancement, and Mathematician came out on top of all the other jobs that were considered. The number two and three jobs (Actuary and Statistician) also rely heavily on mathematics, as do several other jobs in the top ten.

This ranking was reported on by a number of major news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the AP wire service. The way the story was approached gives an interesting perspective on how mathematics is viewed by the general public. One point that was made in the news stories is that many people see mathematics as the process of learning to solve textbook problems, like finding all x that satisfy a quadratic equation, without much context or meaning. Of course, mathematicians see things quite differently. Jennifer Courter, a mathematician at Mental Images Inc., describes mathematics succinctly in a quote reported by the Wall Street Journal: "It's the science of problem-solving."

To work as a mathematician normally requires graduate-level training in mathematics. One of the purposes of mathematical education is to build problem-solving muscles, and someone who completes a Ph.D. in mathematics has demonstrated that they have the strength to tackle completely novel problems, a large repertoire of techniques and strategies that have proved successful in the past, and the confidence to modify and expand these to meet new challenges. This combination of skills can be applied in an enormous variety of situations, which makes mathematicians extremely flexible and highly-valued employees.

The report may be found here.


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer