Why Study Mathematics?


Mathematics as a Career?

The basic importance of mathematics for education, economics, and research generates a great need for well-educated mathematic professionals. Aside from engineers, this particularly includes graduates of a mathematics course of study.

Banks, insurance companies, consulting firms, telecommunications and software companies, pharmaceutical companies, producers of energy, research and devlopment departments from industrial companies, public administration, and last but not least, educational institutionals like universities and schools all tend to have a great need for mathematicians.

Many companies employ mathematicians in fields that have little to do with math, because they value abilities that are often refined by studying mathematics, including logical and abstract thinking, creativity, and flexibility. The job market and career possiblities are excellent, and the fields of work are diverse and interesting.

There is no clear profession for mathematicians, that is based on one or a few branches. This variety is an advantage and opens the door to many possibilities and perspectives! Career prospects for mathematicians have in general been outstanding for a long time, and even if no one denies fluctations in general economic development, it does not look like the prospects will be changing any time soon.

So I should study mathematics?

Not necessarily! Studying mathematics is not easy and it is not for everyone. Above all, mathematics should not be chosen "just because" or only for its excellent career prospects. There are also school students, whose good or very good math abilities later pay off in a successful course of study in engineering or the natural sciences. If you fulfill the prerequisites, you should definitely consider studying mathematics.

What prerequisites are important for success in a mathematics course of study?

A complete package of abilities and skills is necessary for a successful course of study in mathematics. This includes:

  • Having fun with math and possessing a certain aptitude for math
  • Being prepared to experience many new things and the desire to take on new perspectives
  • Being prepared to work and having the discipline, hardwork, tenacity, and tolerance for frustration. Students for who found math to be very easy in school, tend to experience an adjustment to their usual work methods.
  • Having solid math skills from school. If there are any gaps in your math skills or education from school, you should catch up or refresh before the semester begins. This takes time and effort before even beginning your studies, but pays off within the first week of the semester. RWTH Aachen offers Math Bridge Courses for support.

Please keep in mind, that in addition to challenges specific to your discipline, you will also be faced with a number of organisational matters at the start of your studies.

Can I personally assess my chances for success?

The Department of Mathematics at RWTH Aachen offers prospective students thorough advising possibilities as well as obligatory tests for evaluating skills gained in school. These tests must be completed before a student enrolls in a mathematic course of study. It is important to us to identify possible problems before a student begins their studies. However it is much more important to us to encourage those interested students, who are qualified, to study mathematics.