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Applied Mathematics is just what the name implies: mathematics applied to real-life situations. Found at the crossroads between theoretical academics and technical science, this major is a good choice if you have a love of math and a desire to do hands-on work. Applied Mathematics majors are problem-solvers, creating mathematical models to resolve questions of a physical and theoretical nature.

Applied Mathematics majors study more math than mere mortals can comprehend, along with completing work in physics and computer science. In some schools, this major is found under the subheading of engineering; in other cases, it falls under the jurisdiction of the mathematics department. Check both departments of any schools you are considering for Applied Mathematics majors or concentrations.


  • Abstract Algebra

  • Applied Probability

  • Calculus I-III

  • Complex Variables

  • Differential Equations

  • Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science

  • Physics I-II

  • Vector and Tensor Calculus


Not to state the obvious, but . . .try to get as many advanced math courses under your belt as possible while you are still in high school. A background in physics couldn’t hurt, as you’ll be required to study it. Experience with computers and programming languages is also good.