Best Online Master’s in Mathematics Programs

Love crunching numbers and want to optimize your earnings potential doing something you enjoy? An online master’s in mathematics could be your answer. Find top accredited programs and see where an online master’s degree in mathematics can take you.

While a bachelor’s degree is generally enough for entry-level work, many careers in mathematics require a master’s degree. Choosing to get an online master’s degree in mathematics can give you the flexibility needed to complete grad school while keeping up with work, family commitments, and other daily activities. An online master’s in mathematics also opens the door to new careers, such as working as an economist, financial analyst, actuary, and more. It provides a potential ladder of advancement, as well as the possibility of higher pay.

There are numerous online master’s in mathematics programs to choose from; in fact, there are so many that it can be tough to narrow down the list. In this article, we explore the best schools, tell you how to apply, and what to expect both before and after graduation.

College Spotlights: Best Online Master’s in Mathematics Degree Programs in 2021

When looking for an online master’s in mathematics, it pays to narrow down what matters most, such as affordability, flexible scheduling, and of course, accreditation. We looked at the numerous programs to find those that meet the highest standards. Check out our spotlighted schools here and come back soon for more when we release a comprehensive ranking of the best online master’s degrees in mathematics later this year.

Indiana State University

indiana-state-university-logo

Designed for those with busy schedules, the online master of science (MS) in mathematics at Indiana State University requires 33 credits, which takes three to five years of part-time study to complete. If going to school full-time, students can complete the work within two years. The program is entirely online, with no on-campus requirements. The program consists of eight core courses from which students choose four; after that, they can choose more core classes or can opt for other courses to pursue a specialty of their choice. Core courses include topics like mathematical modeling, applied linear algebra, graph theory, real variables, and topology. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas A&M University

texas-am-university-logo

The online MS in mathematics at Texas A&M University is entirely online. Students must complete 36 semester hours. Students can choose between two specializations to further enhance their study: mathematics teaching, which instructs how to teach students in K-12 and in community colleges, or computational mathematics.

New students can look forward to a transitional course that helps them transition to a master’s program from a bachelor’s program. The school offers a G6 classification, which means the program accepts those who want to earn their master’s degree in mathematics, as well as those who simply want to enhance their mathematical knowledge.

University of Washington

university-of-washington-logo

Dive into the Master of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics at the University of Washington and finish this 36-credit program in as little as one year of study. Those who need to attend part-time can do so in three years. All courses are delivered online via Canvas and include topics such as numerical analysis and scientific computing, mathematical methods, climate modeling, mathematical finance, and mathematical biology. For most of the courses, the student version of MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is highly recommended. The program begins only in the fall term with applications accepted up until mid-summer.

Benefits of Earning an Online Master’s Degree in Mathematics

When earning a master’s degree, it’s important to understand just how it can benefit your career beyond the bachelor’s degree you already hold. What does your master’s in mathematics degree bring to the table? Furthermore, why would you want to earn this degree online? Here are some answers to these questions.

  1. Career advancement while studying

    Professionals don’t want to break their forward career momentum, and with an online master’s in mathematics, they don’t have to. You can continue to advance in your career while working full-time and studying on a part-time basis.

  2. Learn advanced concepts

    Those seeking to learn advanced concepts in mathematics can satisfy this drive through an in-depth examination and analysis offered by a mathematics master’s degree. This penchant is especially true if choosing a specialization that suits personal interests and career goals.

  3. Set yourself up for the ultimate degree

    A master’s program in mathematics tees up the opportunity to move further into the study, resulting in a PhD for the most ambitious among those in the field.

What You’ll Learn in an Online Master’s in Mathematics

Every master’s in mathematics online program has a similar set of core courses that everyone needs to take at the graduate level. Beyond that, there are electives, which students can use to create a unique concentration or fit into a concentration already laid out by the school. Below are some of the more common courses you can expect to encounter. Keep in mind that some schools require a capstone project or thesis, while others require an examination.

  • Dynamical Systems and Chaos

    Students learn about the qualitative behavior of solutions on nonlinear differential equations, bifurcation methods, strange attractors and chaos, fixed pointed and periodic orbits. They also learn how these systems apply to fields like engineering, biology, physics, chemistry, and more.

  • Scientific Computing

    This course is project-oriented. Students use advanced MATLAB routines and toolboxes, and learn graphical techniques for the presentation of data and scientific results. Students learn how to use a computational approach to issues in a variety of fields, from finance and economics to physical and engineering sciences.

  • Fundamentals in Optimization

    Concepts in optimization, such as basic convex analysis, Fenchel duality, and conjugacy, and how to apply these concepts are at the heart of this course. Students look at sparse and robust regression, time series applications, nonlinear-inverse problems, machine learning, neural nets, modeling, algorithms, and more.

  • Computational Data Analysis

    Students engage in an exploratory and objective analysis of data as it applies to physical, engineering, and biological science. Statistical methods and implementation are discussed, as well as filtering methods, image processing, spectral analysis, time series analysis, and more.

  • Independent Research Study

    Students in a general track of mathematics work closely with faculty to create a personalized emphasis through independent study and research. Their studies include readings, projects, original research, and other activities that go beyond the standard course material.

Specialization Options

Many students in a master’s in mathematics online program choose a specialization that allows them to target their education to suit their career goals. Though a general degree can open many doors, a specialization might help a graduate’s options for a clear career path and advancement in specialized areas. For instance, someone with their sights set on the insurance industry can benefit from a specialization in actuarial science. Here are some of the options you’ll find across master’s programs in math.

  • Computational Mathematics

    This specialization is for those with a uniform background in basic techniques. It explores advanced knowledge in networking, biometrics, bioinformatics, internet usage, multimedia, engineering, robotics, and more. Students use quantitative methods for solving problems.

  • Actuarial Science

    This concentration is for those who want to work in the insurance, financial, consulting, pension or some of the investment industries. Students focus on statistics, finance, investing, accounting, and economics under the umbrella of advanced computational mathematics. In some programs, students are prepared for the examinations given by the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society.

  • Applied Mathematics

    This concentration looks at several areas of mathematics to help students apply them to a variety of fields, from statistics to government economics to education. Applied mathematics can help bolster a career and also serves as an excellent foundation for a PhD in mathematics.

  • Mathematics Education

    Those who want to teach in K-12 schools or community colleges might want to pursue this concentration, which provides a solid mathematical background combined with pedagogical skills and coursework. The focus is on statistics, applied mathematics, calculus, and other areas that are common at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

  • Statistics

    This concentration focuses on probability, differential equations, complex variables, and other mathematical knowledge and concepts, as well as data collection, research, survey analysis, and similar elements. It prepares graduates to move into advanced work as a statistician or similar career in the government or private sector.

Accreditation for Online Master’s Degrees in Mathematics

Accreditation is a voluntary process in which schools or programs submit their information to an independent accrediting body to determine whether it meets a certain level of quality. Institutional accreditation covers the entire school; programmatic accreditation covers a program. Accreditation might be offered by regional bodies, national bodies, or organizations that have a strong emphasis on the subject in a given program.

When choosing a master’s in mathematics online program, students should confirm the school holds institutional accreditation. There is currently no programmatic accreditation for master’s programs in mathematics. To determine if a school has regional or national accreditation, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs search tool or visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

What You Can Do with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics

If a career relies heavily on numbers, a master’s in mathematics degree usually makes it possible to enter or advance in that career. A strong background in mathematics can open doors to work as a financial analyst, actuary, or other mathematically-based position. More importantly, a master’s degree can take you further by opening doors to higher-level positions, both in the government and private sector, as well as allow you to command higher pay. Here are some of the careers waiting for someone with a master’s degree in mathematics.

Statistician

Statisticians collect data through the use of experiments, opinion polls, questionnaires, surveys, and other means. Once the information is gathered, the statistician uses research and sampling methods to find answers to questions, which might be anything from why a certain product is popular among a particular demographic to a rundown of how many individuals live in a specific geographic area. In many cases, a master’s degree is a requirement to advance in this field.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$52,690

$91,160

$146,770

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Actuary

An actuary looks at the world of risk and uncertainty, and analyzes the financial costs inherent within them. Actuaries look at the risk of potential events through the use of statistics, financial theory, and mathematics, and help clients develop policies or products that minimize their financial risks. Most of them work in the insurance industry. Though a bachelor’s degree is the minimum required, actuaries with a master’s degree in math can apply more advanced theories to their work and therefore, can expect higher pay.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$64,860

$108,350

$193,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Mathematician

Mathematicians apply mathematical techniques to help solve real-world problems through the use of extrapolating data and applying mathematical theories to find solutions. They might also develop new theories, rules, and concepts that can affect solutions and trends in business, engineering, the sciences, and more. A master’s degree gives mathematicians an edge in understanding deeper concepts for better use in solving these problems, and for some careers, it’s a requirement for anything more than entry-level work.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$58,100

$105,030

$162,020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Financial and Investment Analyst

Financial and investment analysts work with individuals and businesses to help them navigate the world of stocks, bonds, and other investments. A bachelor’s degree is required to get started, but a master’s degree in mathematics can dive further into important calculations on how the stock market numbers work and what to expect from upcoming trends.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$47,230

$81,590

$156,150

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Economist

Economists look at how goods, resources, and services are produced and distributed. They do this by collecting and analyzing data, spotting trends, and researching economic issues. This career could include looking at exchange rates, inflation, taxes, employment levels, products, energy, and more. Though some entry-level positions in government require only a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or PhD is required to work as an economist.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$59,450

$105,020

$185,020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Mathematics

Earning a master’s degree takes considerable effort and time, as well as a financial investment. Tuition and fees might feel like sticker shock, but keep in mind that scholarships, grants, fellowships, and student loans can help ease the hit to your pocketbook. Another option might be employer tuition reimbursement, where an employer agrees to pay for your schooling as long as you agree (in most cases) to work for that employer for a set amount of time after graduation. To learn more about your financial aid options, visit our financial aid page.

What Your Online Master’s in Mathematics Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Temple University

30

$1,159.00

$34,770

Ball State University

30

$678 (approx.)

$20,340

University of Washington

36

$1,050

$37,800

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Mathematics Master’s Degrees

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online master’s in mathematics?

Each school has its own requirements for admission; however, most of the common application requirements are the same. These include:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum GPA earned in previous coursework
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of purpose

Though some schools ask for GRE test scores, most are moving away from this requirement, making it optional for students who need a bit of a boost on their application. Depending on the program, applicants might have to show completion of certain prerequisite courses.

How long will it take to complete my master’s in mathematics online?

Most master’s in mathematics online programs require a student to complete between 30 and 40 credits. Some students choose to attend full-time, which means the degree can take two years to complete; those who go part-time can expect to take three to five years. Those who choose to accelerate their learning might be able to graduate in as little as one year of study, such as at North Carolina State University.

Can I earn a master’s in mathematics completely online or do I need to go to campus?

In the vast majority of cases, the master’s in mathematics program is offered 100% online with no need to visit a classroom. Some schools might require a visit to campus for orientation, to meet peers and professors, or to create a final project as graduation approaches. However, schools that require on-site visits are few and far between.