According to the US Department of Labor, “Applied mathematicians use theories and techniques, such as mathematical modeling and computational methods, to formulate and solve practical problems in business, government, engineering, and the physical, life, and social sciences. For example, they may analyze the most efficient way to schedule airline routes between cities, the effects and safety of new drugs, the aerodynamic characteristics of an experimental automobile, or the cost-effectiveness of alternative manufacturing processes. Applied mathematicians working in industrial research and development may develop or enhance mathematical methods when solving a difficult problem. Some mathematicians, called cryptanalysts, analyze and decipher encryption systems—codes—designed to transmit military, political, financial, or law-enforcement-related information.”

  • Private Industry: According to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, new fields emerging for students of applied mathematics include bioinformatics, data mining, neuroscience, materials science, computer animation and digital imaging, and climatology. Applied Mathematics graduates might also find positions in places including: tech start ups and entrepreneurial ventures, aerospace companies, banks, computer firms, economic/social science pollsters, engineering firms, insurance companies, manufacturing firms, market research firms, pharmaceutical companies and research & development firms.
  • Education & Academia: Mathematicians are needed in primary and secondary education. A doctorate is generally required to teach in colleges and universities or to conduct research.
  • Federal, State, or Local Government: Many government agencies employ applied mathematicians. For instance, careers involving risk management is a growth area in government and industry. 
  • Research Firms or Laboratories:  Serve as consultants to engineering and development teams, but some also do fundamental research.

See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Applied Math and Applied Physics tipsheet.

Columbia Resources

External Resources

Professional Associations

Internship/Job Boards  

  • SIAM Careers: Whether you are a student considering a career in mathematics, or an established mathematician, you will find the job-search and career information resources in this section invaluable. SIAM also lists fellowships and research opportunities.
  • Math Jobs: A broad listing of jobs in applied mathematics across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
  • Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
  • American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
  • National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
  • American Mathematical Society’s List of REU Sites
  • Programs to help students and recent graduates get started in the Federal workforce
  • Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
  • A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent