Online Masters in Mathematics Programs

Masters in Mathematics online programs explore the logical study of numbers, shapes, spaces, and systems to identify patterns and analyze change. As a broad branch of knowledge, math could be studied on the conceptual levels, or, as a professional tool that could be applied to other disciplines.

Masters in Mathematics Online Programs: An Overview

Some Masters in Mathematics online programs may lead to a Master of Science (MS) degree. A general MS in Math might cover a spectrum of mathematics classes that are rounded out by courses targeted to a specific emphasis.

To earn an online masters degree in mathematics, students may need to complete a series of compulsory core courses in specific content areas. Applied mathematics, statistics, algebra or analysis are several examples, although not an exhaustive list. 

That said, a MS in Mathematics could be flexible enough so that students could choose their own content areas and select courses from an approved list, for instance, 6 credit hours in two of the three content areas: Analysis, Algebra, and Statistics/Applied Mathematics.

  • Analysis courses (e.g. topology, complex variables, Calculus I & II)
  • Algebra courses (e.g. vector spaces, number theory, group theory, ring theory, field theory)
  • Statistics and Applied Math courses (e.g. SAS, categorical data analysis, regression analysis, optimization, wavelets)

Online Masters in Mathematics students might also have a fair bit of choice when it comes to electives. Electives could include math education courses such as a class that instructs teachers how to use technology in mathematics. Alternatively, these choices could be in areas such as projective geometry, mathematical logic, or knot theory.

The average annual salary for mathematicians was $105,810 in May 2016.i

Most programs expect students to pass comprehensive exams based on coursework. In some Masters degree in mathematics programs that have the distance learning option, students might need to go to their campus for these exams or, find a school-approved proctor if this is specified.

As with traditional formats, online masters in math programs may offer students the option to write a Master's thesis. A thesis represents original thought contribution to a body of knowledge. Such work could consist of new results in an area and/or a new point of view. Sometimes, students choose a thesis to help them prepare for a PhD in Math, which is a terminal research degree.

Pure vs. Applied Math

Curriculums are often designed to provide both depth and breadth of knowledge in pure and/or applied mathematics. Pure mathematics programs tend to focus more on theory. Applied mathematics is often concerned with the use of math to problem solve in specific industries like business analytics, technology, management, and science.

Application Information           

Application information is likely to vary between online math masters programs. In some programs, an undergraduate degree may be required—preferably in mathematics, mathematics education, or an area with a significant mathematics requirement.

Some schools may look favorably on students with a strong background in calculus and experience writing mathematical proofs. Applicants may or may not need to submit GRE scores along with transcripts, letters of recommendation, and an essay.

Types of Online Masters in Math Degrees

Aside from the general MS in Math, there are other types of Masters in Mathematics online programs that may be oriented to applied and computational mathematics. These programs may entail math courses but not to the same extent.

Online MS in Technology and Innovation Management

An Online MS in Technology and Innovation Management (MSTIM) degree could prepare students to problem-solve through the use of new technology. Curriculums could include compulsory courses as well as classes in an area of emphasis such as data science.

Core courses could lay the groundwork to enable students to design technology-based solutions to practical problems. Participants may study topics such as the ones below.

  • Risk Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • Computer Networks
  • Mobile Computing
  • Innovation

A focus in data science could prepare students to make sense of data to turn it into usable information. Data science students typically learn statistical and modeling tools to help them process data and make predictions. Coursework could explore how data is visualized (represented), extracted (data mining) and integrated in enterprise systems.

Graduates may gain the ability to determine a situation’s potential for technology based improvement—as well as to manage some legal, ethical, and security risks in technology-based systems.

Online MS in Data Science

An online Master of Science in Data Science (MS DS) could show students how to analyze and leverage big data to gain valuable insights that might lead to inventive ideas and solutions in a variety of fields.

Core courses could highlight research design, and students could learn to critically evaluate data through diverse theoretical models. Participants might study things such as the limits of data, legal and privacy issues, and ethical and socially responsible practices.

Some examples of the types of compulsory MS DS courses could include the following.

  • Intro to Data Science and Analysis
  • Statistical Methods and Software
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Visualization

Students may need to complete a capstone project or thesis. A thesis is often pursued by those who foresee that they might continue their education with a doctorate.

Some students may also decide to pursue a concentration that could allow them to channel their data science skills into a specific area.

Online MS in Data Science - Business Analytics: A focus in business analytics could cover principles of managerial economics and financial management. Students might learn about monetary theory, financial fluency and how to interpret and apply financial data to business decisions and strategy.

Online MS in Data Science – Cybersecurity: A focus in cybersecurity might examine the technical, operational, ethical and legal issues associated with cyberspace, networks, protocols and operating systems. Students might also learn about counterintelligence, cyber surveillance and cyber data fusion.

Online MS in Data Science – Financial Crime: A focus in financial crime could discuss methods of detection, investigation and analysis. For instance, students might take a class in fraud analysis and might study advanced statistical tools, case management systems and neural networks.

Online MS in Data Science – Social Science Analytics: A focus in social science analytics could discuss social power, inequality and the challenges faced by different communities. Students might also learn about demographic variables and complex organizations.

Why an Online Masters in Math?

Working students might find that Masters in Mathematics online programs provide an alternative to traditional on-campus study. A 100% online program could spare students unwanted travel time and balance coursework with a professional and personal life.

Sometimes, classes may be taught on campus with regular lectures, which are broadcast online using web conference software. Online students might log in during class time to take part with their on-campus peers. These lectures are often recorded so that students who cannot log in during class time can catch up later. Otherwise, these classes could be the same as the online courses (assignments, exams, etc.).

Despite the fact that students might not meet in person, most classes include online chats that function similarly to office hours. Instruction in these classes may take on a variety of forms. For instance, there could be supplemental textbook readings, instructor-made videos, and/or tutorial worksheets.

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