What can I do with a degree in Pure Maths?

There are a number of careers open to mathematicians, some more or less applied than others.

You might have thought already about opportunities in the finance and banking sector. Banks require staff to develop investment models, and roles such as risk analysts or data analysts are often filled by mathematicians. Decision analytics is also important in the finance sector – see for example Experian Analytics: www.experian-da.com/about/index.html. Optimisation is another area of mathematics that would be of interest to organisations looking to maximise profit, minimise costs, or improve efficiency. To find these sorts of opportunities try a google-search using ‘careers in mathematical optimisation’.

There are also a growing number of jobs involving cryptography in finance, IT and telecoms security. Data security is a big issue for banks and cryptography is being used in chip and PIN cards. Mathematics can be used in telecoms to improve data correction systems, and cryptography is used to protect calls and texts, as well as internet transactions. A number of government and other defence organisations also employ mathematicians for this sort of encryption/security work. GCHQ are known for hiring pure mathematicians devising encryption algorithms. Qinetiq have also employed pure mathematicians, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) might also have opportunities in this field. See: www.ed.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.56838!fileManager/Careers_in_Cryptology.pdf for more ideas.

Mathematics can also be applied in science and engineering roles. Scientific research uses mathematical modelling, for example in bio-chemical modelling. See for example opportunities at the Ruterford Appleton Laboratory (www.stfc.ac.uk/About+STFC/51.aspx). Energy companies and technology consultancies are also beginning to recruit mathematicians.

For more information on careers using mathematics see the following resources:

Really useful booklet on mathematics careers

The IMA’s page for graduates on mathematics careers

Put ‘pure mathematics’ in the ‘get inspired’ box and find out what other London graduates have done with their degrees in pure mathematics.


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