Loyola University Chicago

Mathematics and Statistics

Fall 2019 Preview Followup

Our Fall Preview pizza party was a great success with many students attending and asking questions. Below are detailed answers to some of the questions that were asked. In many cases, proper answers to the questions merit some face-time. Math/Stat majors should schedule an appointment with their advisors before registering for classes. Check LOCUS to figure out who is your departmental advisor.


Many math & stat professors attended the event and gave students great advice in regards to future plans whether it be course work or career goals. We did our best to summarize the types of discussion questions most students were asking. If you don't find the answeer you are looking for here, don't hestitate to reach out to your professors. Building a relationship with your professors can be very helpful for future recommendations. Plus there's a good chance you might take another one of their classes!


Frequently Asked Questions

Quoting from the BS/MS pages (math / stat):

  • Students can begin taking their Masters courses during their senior year
  • (MATH) Students in the B.S./M.S. program are allowed to “double count” two of their 300-level undergraduate courses in the department toward both their B.S. and their M.S. degrees
  • (STAT) Students in the B.S./M.S. program are allowed to “double count” three of their 300- and 400-level undergraduate courses in the department toward both their B.S. and their M.S. degrees

So one need only consult the course offerings page for Fall 2015. A sampling of the options one finds there: Game Theory, Dynamical Systems, Lie Groups, Cryptography, Probability and Statistics, Applied Regression, Survey Sampling, Predictive Analysis, Spatial Statistics.

If you have any further questions, contact our Graduate Directors, Dr. Goebel (Mathematics) or Dr. O'Brien (Applied Statistics).


This question may be best asked of your advisor, in person, say, but here goes:

Math 201 and Math 212 provide a first introduction to rigorous proof (the former, more so), hence feed into 313, 351 which form the foundation of all math major. Taking one of the former concurrently with one of the latter is sub-optimal.

If by "compatible" one means, "easy or natural to take simultaneously" then answers might include: two from 201, 212, 215, 264, 301, 304; or an algebra-centric elective and an analysis core, e.g., cryptography or Lie groups with real or complex analysis; or an analysis-centric elective and an algebra core, e.g., dynamical systems or stochastic processes with abstract or advanced linear algebra; ...

If by "compatible" one means, "of the same ilk, or combining to paint a nice picture" then answers might include: 212 + 264; 264 + 315; 306 + 388 (dynamical systems); 353 + 388 (Lie groups) + 315; 314 + 328; 314 + 322; 386 + 388 (Lie groups); 305 + 306 + 358; 264 + 388 (pde's) + 388 (dynamical systems); ...

Great question. There are a lot, in fact. According to the US Occupational Outlook Handbook, mathematician jobs are growing at a rate of 23% (i.e., fast!), while projections for STEM- and non-STEM-jobs over the next four years are 17% and 10%, respectively. 

Why such growth? Emerging industries, partly, but mainly the opening of doors traditionally closed to mathematicians. Mathematics jobs are not just limited to the teaching and financial sectors any more. From biotech startups to Fortune 500 companies, people are starting to realize what we’ve been saying for hundreds of years: if you want somebody who knows “how to think,” hire a math/stat graduate.

This year’s Math Awareness Month happens to have chosen your very question as its theme.  Companies and government agencies whose employees were profiled include Google, Phillips 66, Pfizer, Promontory Growth and Innovation, NSA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Naval Research Center, IBM.

Beyond these profiles, the URLs below complete the picture of the careers open to math majors (We highlight a few of them in a subsequent question on this page.)


And if you need more convincing, here are some additional job ideas, with salary and job satisfaction data, compared to other STEM professions.

Well, there are all the reasons outlined above. Another: did you know math/stat takes gold, silver, and bronze in the “job satisfaction” race?

Finally: did you know that mathematics majors stand out even in traditionally non-mathematical fields? Find below a sampling---taken from the Chronicle of Education---of performance on the LSAT and GMAT over the past twenty years, arranged by undergraduate major. (Numbers recorded are percent above average.)





Philosophy +8.7% +11.0%
Economics +9.6 +7.3
Chemistry +7.6% +7.5%
English +5.6% +4.1%
Foreign Langs +5.7% +3.3%
History +2.9% +4.6%
Biology +4.0% +3.3%

We would, of course(!), recommend any of our graduate courses to students finished with their undergraduate requirements. Recent math offerings that were purely 400-level courses (i.e., not cross-listed at 300-level) are: 404 + 405; 476; 452. Some recent cross-listed courses include: 460; 445; 418; 415; 431; 488 (Lie groups).

In all cases, the main answer to "how used" is "mathematical maturity." That is, our faculty can dig deeper into the theory (covering more material, assigning more challenging problems), as students have seen similar constructions or proof-techniques once before. In the end, one gets: (i) closer to the cutting-edge of modern research; and (ii) further expertise in the practice of mathematical thinking. Both of which will help a graduating student's job prospects.

Take a look at our course offerings for next semester here.

This is a great question. We have, in fact, begun thinking about this, but have no such offerings at this time. Our capstone courses are natural candidates for this, but LUROP experiences or internships combined with independent study could also work well. Stay tuned.

No. It is offered in the fall and spring semester. You should find it in LOCUS, when registration opens.

This is a great question. It depends a great deal on what your career goals are. Actuaries certainly don't need to pursue an advanced degree (though taking advanced courses towards an actuary minor would be advisable). Data science professions likewise will snatch up tech-minded math majors (e.g., you can get all the "Big Data" expertise you need while an undergraduate at Loyola). On the other hand, if you want to join any firm trying to beat Black-Scholes, you’ll likely need a PhD in mathematics.

Combining a math BS with an advanced degree in another field is a popular option, but as you’ll see below, there is a great variety of options available to individuals holding only a bachelor’s in mathematics. (We purposely fail to mention teaching and finance jobs, as students seem to be well-aware of these.)

Navigating through the career pages at SIAM, CareerCornerStone, and AMS, one finds profiles of the following individuals, ordered by level of mathematics training.

Holders of B.S. or B.A. in Mathematics

  • Erek Barhoum (BS Math & Engineering),
    Senior Structure Engineer, Boeing
  • Mary Bonar (BS Math / MD),
    Emergency Medicine Physician, Pinnacle Hospital
  • Rol Fessenden (BA Math / MA Geology),
    Directory of Inventory Control, L.L. Bean
  • Marc Fusaro (BA Math & Econ.),
    Research Assistant, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Gemma Gearhart (BA Math),
    Museum Interpreter, Museum of Mathematics, NYC
  • Lindsay Hall (BS Math & Comp.Sci.),
    Software Engineer, Google
  • Carla Martin (BS Math),
    Consultant, Price Waterhouse, LLC
  • Michael Murray (BS Comp.Sci. / MS Math),
    Java Developer, IBM
  • John Parkinson (BA Math & Econ.),
    Principal/Actuary, The Savitz Organization
  • Sidney Rankin (BS Math / MA Comp.Sci.),
    Systems Engineer, TASC, Inc (contractor for Department of Defense)
  • Edward Rothstein (BA Math / PhD Interdiscp.Human.),
    Cultural Critic-At-Large, New York Times
  • Robert Stewart (BS Math),
    NASA Astronaut, Nichols Research Corp.
  • Sandra Winkler (BS Math / MS Engineering),
    Research Scientist, Ford Motors
  • Yaromyr Zinkewych (BA Math),
    Troubleshooter, Hubble Space Telescope

Holders of M.S. in Mathematics

  • Cary Crawford (MS Math),
    Project Scientist, Mason & Hanger (Nuclear materials contractor for Department of Energy)
  • Chad Magers (MS Math)
    Scientist, Submarine Missile Program, Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • Sue Waldman (MS Math),
    Mathematician, U.S. Department of Agriculture 

 Holders of Ph.D. in Pure or Applied Mathematics

  • Steven Altshuler (PhD Math),
    Senior Architect, Microsoft
  • Karim Azer (PhD Math / BS Comp.Sci.),
    Principal Scientist, Merck Research Laboratories
  • Kia Dalili (PhD Math), 
    Data Scientist, Facebook
  • Helamon Ferguson (PhD Math),
  • Bonita Saunders (PhD Math),
    Mathematician, Nat'l. Inst. Standards & Technology

If you think an MS or PhD may be right for you, contact our Graduate Director Dr. Goebel or your favorite professor for more information.


We don't have a formal one in place, so let's propose one now.

Step 1: find five or six of your cohort interested in the same topic. (It needn't even be on the books!, e.g., invariant theory, graph theory, mathematical biology,...)

Step 2: ask as early as possible. (Our faculty's schedules are mostly finalized more than a semester in advance; changes made less than two months before LOCUS course registration opens are possible, but rare.) 

Step 3: ask whom? your favorite professor(s) and your advisor. (Assistant Chair John Del Greco maintains the list of advisors and advisees.)

This is a question best answered by your advisor or the Program Director Dr. O'Brien. As mentioned in reply to an earlier question, three courses at the 300- or 400-level may be applied to both the BS and the MS degree. We might recommend taking 404-405 in place of 304-305 (though these must be taken in the senior year to qualify for the BS/MS program). Otherwise, gaining expertise with R in advance of the masters work would be a good idea, e.g., in 321, 336, 388, or 408.

It depends. E.g., if we asked you to imagine a mathematics professor at a research university, you'd say no knowledge of quantitative methods in bioinformatics (Stat 337) is necessary. But what if we told you that professor was doing interdisciplinary work in mathematical biology? Would your answer change? What if you decide you want to work on Wall Street or as policy advisor for a US Senator? 

Keep your options open. In many future-career scenarios, the answer is "not at all," but in many others, the answer is, "immensely." Take a course or two towards the minor, then decide if it is right for you.

Graduate Director Dr. O'Brien can best answer this question, but we mention that Survival Analysis will be offered this Fall, Tuesday/Thursday - 11:30 a.m.