Masters in Mathematics | Top Universities

Are you mad about mathematics? Do you have a mathematics degree or a degree from a related course? If so, doing a masters in mathematics is a great way to learn more about the aspects of mathematics that interest you most, as well as set you apart from other graduates in terms of employability.

What you can expect from a masters in mathematics 

What can you expect from a masters in mathematics?

Those looking to start a masters in mathematics will study either a Master of Arts (MA), Masters of Science (MSc) or a Masters of Mathematics (MMath). In some graduate schools, the Master of Arts is intended for students who might want to pursue a PhD in Mathematics. As a result, coursework for this degree might be narrower in scope than the MS, but also more advanced, so check your specific course before applying.

The length of your course may vary depending on where you choose to study. In the UK, the average length for a master’s course is one year, but this can differ. At the University of Oxford, for example, the length of a MA or MSc course can vary between one and four years. Contrastingly, in the US, courses usually last around two years full time, but this can also vary.

The structure of your course will also differ between universities, with many universities giving you the option to specialize before you even start your masters, by choosing a course that is tailored to exactly what you want to do, such as statistics courses, mathematical modeling courses etc. (You can find out more about these in the next tab.) In other cases you can choose to study general mathematics and specialize later on in the course, or choose to instead study a broad range of modules.

Most masters in mathematics programs will also require you to complete a thesis towards the end of your course. This will teach you methods of mathematical research such as how to use mathematical papers to communicate ideas. Other methods of assessment may include exams, coursework and presentations.  

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

In order to get admitted to a masters in mathematics course, most universities will require a bachelor’s in mathematics or a related discipline, or an equivalent qualification. For most MMath courses you will be able to apply online, providing documents such as your university transcripts or certificates and proof of language ability if applicable.

You may also be required to write a personal statement, explaining why you want to study that specific course at the university. If you’re applying abroad, you will need to secure a student visa alongside your university place. You may also then be invited for an interview, although many universities will be willing to speak to you over Skype.

Some universities require you to take graduate admissions tests, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), although these are more common in the US and Canada than in other countries. You can find out how to prepare for it here.

Studying at postgraduate level is ideal for those who want to specialize in a specific area of mathematics that really interests you. Here are several areas that you might want to study to a more advanced level.

Mathematical Sciences 

Mathematical Sciences

Mathematical Sciences draws on aspects of mathematics, statistics and computer science. You will use the skills you learn from these to solve problems. Topics that you’re likely to study here include (but aren’t limited to) number theory, geometry and algebra to genetics and cryptography, probability and mathematical geoscience, data mining and machine learning.

Mathematical Modeling

Mathematical Modelling

Mathematical modeling is where mathematics is applied to a wide range of problems in science and technology.  Topics you may study if you choose to specialize in mathematical modeling include mathematical biology, fluid mechanics, perturbation methods, finding numerical solutions of differential equations and scientific programming.

Mathematical finance 

Mathematical finance

Mathematical finance allows you to develop your mathematical modeling, data analysis and computational skills to finance. This would be useful for those looking to go into careers in mathematics such as investment banking, as it will give you extremely transferrable skills. Topics you might study include mathematical foundations of probability, statistics and partial differential equations, stochastic calculus and martingale theory, portfolio theory, the Black-Scholes model and extensions, numerical methods, interest rate modeling, stochastic optimization, exotic derivatives and stochastic volatility.



If you specialize in statistics you will be trained to solve real-world statistical problems. Topics you may study include applied and computational statistics, statistical machine learning, and the fundamental principles of statistical inference. Training is delivered through mathematically demanding lectures and problems classes, hands-on practical sessions in the computer laboratory, report writing and dissertation supervision.

The careers open to you with a masters in mathematics are extremely wide ranging. Knowing what sort of career you want to do after your studies is incredibly useful in helping you to specialize throughout your masters course, and develop key skills for that industry. Here are a few careers that are directly related to careers in mathematics, and a few that aren’t directly related. However this is by no means an exhaustive list, as there will be many careers available to you that you may not have considered (or even heard of) before, which will enable you to use the skills that you have developed throughout your degree.



Of all the careers in mathematics available, the role of statistician is likely to be one of the first that comes to mind. Statisticians collect and interpret numerical data in order to present it in a practical way and to find practical solutions to problems. Statisticians will need to have strong analytical and IT skills in order to gather and analyze the numerical data, as well as strong communication skills in order to present your findings to your colleagues. If this sounds like you, perhaps this is the job for you. As a statistician, your responsibilities will include analyzing trends, making forecasts, providing projected figures, designing and implementing data gathering.

Chartered accountant

Chartered Accountant

If you have an entrepreneurial streak, perhaps you should become a chartered accountant. Your aim as a chartered accountant is to maximize profitability on behalf of your client or your employer. Chartered accountancy offers a potential for international travel, a competitive salary and lots of opportunity for progression. Chartered accountants give advice, give information about financial records and audit accounts. For this role, you should have a strong interest in business, good problem-solving skills and be self-motivated (as you will be required to study while you work to earn the relevant qualifications). It is also important that you have strong communication skills as you will regularly be interacting with clients.

Corporate investment banker

Investment Banker

Known for high salaries and quick progression, corporate investment bankers manage corporate, strategic and financial opportunities for companies, individuals and governments. Corporate investment bankers usually deal in corporate finance, dept capital markets and equity capital markets. Exceptional numerical and analytical skills are a must in this role, as well as the ability to work calmly under pressure when put in stressful situations. Employers look for you to have strong commercial awareness and knowledge of financial markets and applicable numerical skills. 

Investment analyst

Investment Analyst

Investment analysts help stockbrokers, fund managers and stock market traders make decisions about investments by providing research and comprehensive information. Investment analysts make sure that all potential investment opportunities are highlighted and investment portfolios are well managed. Investment analysts need to be good at researching, analyzing and presenting information, as well as having strong computer literacy and of course excellent numerical skills that you can apply to solve problems. 

Quantity surveyor

Quantity Surveyor

Quantity surveyors manage costs relating to building and civil engineering projects, including negotiating contracts, keeping up to date with construction methods and materials and following health and safety procedures. If you’re looking to become a quantity surveyor, you should have a logical mind and a methodological way of thinking, a good grasp of numerical skills and a creative approach to problem solving.

Other mathematics careers

Game Designer

Other less obvious jobs that you may not have thought of include game designer, in which you will use your creativity and mathematics knowledge to design prototypes and develop the game’s mechanics. You could also become a software tester, analyzing software to ensure that it’s fit for purpose, and removing any bugs or issues. You could also choose to go into teaching or university lecturing.

Key Skills

Common skills gained from a masters in mathematics degree include:

  • An understanding of complex numerical ideas
  • The ability to analyze and interpret large amounts of data to solve a specific problem
  • Research skills and the ability to extract relevant information
  • The ability to reflect on your own work
  • Strong presentation skills
  • Excellent time management & ability to meet deadlines
  • Strong IT skills including Excel, MATLAB etc.
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work well in a team, as well as independently
  • The ability to work quickly to a high standard
  • Expressing ideas coherently in writing
  • Perseverance and self-motivation
  • The ability to work well under pressure