Should I Major in Math or Statistics?

An aerial view of a statistics major's notes and course materials, with a hand holding a pen and writing on a notebook.

Numbers have been, are still, and will always be a big part of our life. From when you are so tiny, your parents first teach you your ABCs and one-two-threes. And fast forward to today; maybe you still love dealing with numbers. 

So much so that you even contemplate getting a degree about it. Or you may be at the crossroads in getting your degree, asking yourself the question, “Should I major in math or statistics?”

But what does it mean to major in one or the other? 

What Does It Mean to Be a Math Major?

You study pure mathematics or applied mathematics and the relationship between numbers, structures, and patterns when you take a math major. Math majors attend a wide array of classes and end up with a broad set of career possibilities. 

Classes for a Math Major

The students, who take pure mathematics, study and deal with algebra, calculus, geometry, and other concepts and courses around it. And when you pursue applied mathematics, you will deal with a different set of courses that allows you to put math into practical use. 

This program will study combinatorics, computer science, economics and finance, and statistics and data science. But generally, when you become a math major, you will learn and develop skills such as logic, critical analysis, abstract thinking, and problem-solving, adding value to your future career opportunities. 

Current Pay for Math Majors

Essentially, your salary will depend on what job you land after you get your degree. However, the current median annual salary for those with a math degree and working in math occupations is $110,860, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But certainly, the average pay for math teachers who receive around $47,602 annual wage differs from that of economists with $107,271 yearly.

Job and Career Opportunities with a Math Degree


A mathematics teacher writing equations on the white board with a black marker, teaching basic algebra.

Math majors can pursue a teaching career where they explain mathematics principles and teach middle and high school students to solve complex problems on their own. 


You can pursue accounting work where you keep track of the finances of a business and create financial reports regularly. This career path gives you a high employment rate as all businesses have to keep track of their financial records, making it easier for you to find work almost anywhere.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts use mathematical skills to prepare and analyze different financial information to help companies determine their financial goals. 

Data Scientist and Data Analyst

Pursuing a path in data science and analysis requires a vast knowledge of math. A data analyst acquires information about topics by surveying and gathering information to interpret data and present them in charts or reports. Data science involves analytical experts skilled in technology and social science to find trends and manage data to uncover solutions to business challenges.


Becoming a mathematician will require the use of math formulas and equations for data analysis and manipulation for businesses and organizations. 

Software Engineer

A math degree can be helpful in a software job as it deals with ideas and algorithms important in computer science. 


Financial policies and decisions need economists who study and predict the numbers in the economy. However, to pursue this path, you will need a master’s degree or a doctorate. 


With your Math major and your advanced skills in Math, you can become an actuary. In a business, there are always financial risks, and actuaries use their knowledge and skills in helping businesses to assess these costs associated with risk. 

Insurance Underwriter

Math majors can pursue an insurance underwriter job as it involves number analysis and uses predictive math models. 

What Else to Do with a Math Major

A financial analyst currently perusing trends on the graphs shown on the laptop screen.

Earning a math degree is not just one straight path to follow as you have other things you can do with your math major that will increase your earning potential

  • Consider getting an advanced degree as many employers prefer those with a master’s for roles involving math
  • Get a Chartered Financial Analyst certificate to help qualify you for senior-level positions with specialized training
  • Acquire a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority license to help you pursue lucrative roles selling financial products in a bank and other organizations
  • Pass an internship that allows you to connect professionally, show your ability to work, and meet people who can help you

Is Math a Hard Major?

Math is a complex field in itself. However, if you have a knack for it, it shouldn’t be too hard for you when you find numbers fascinating. After all, no matter what degree, college is not a walk in the park at all. 

What Does It Mean to Be a Statistics Major?

You may have frequently heard or read the phrase “statistics say,” and the data that follows usually offers relevant knowledge contributing to public policy, business decisions, or just general knowledge. The person behind the data collection, analysis, and interpretation encompassing probability theory majored in statistics. 

Classes for a Statistics Major

Majoring in Statistics will require you to take courses in and have a good understanding of calculus, linear algebra, and probability, including their connections and relevance to statistics. You can also complete some requirements with other department courses like computer science or pursue a minor in a field that allows you to apply statistics. 

Current Pay for Statistics Majors

In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual wage for statisticians to be $92,270. However, your pay for having Statistics major will significantly depend on which job you will work for. 

Job and Career Opportunities with a Statistics Degree

A statistician explaining the current trends to a client and pointing to the data on a printed material.

Having a math degree and a statistics degree somehow allows you to pursue a job in many similar opportunities. Similar to a math major, you can pursue a career being an economist, software engineer, actuary, data scientist, and financial analyst with a statistics degree. 

However, you can also become a market researcher, cost estimator, business analyst, and ultimately, a statistician. Being a statistician requires you to examine data and apply models to solve challenges using surveys and experiments.

After completing the analysis, statisticians report their findings to help companies make better decisions and pursue solutions. 

What Else to Do with a Statistics Major

With a statistics degree, you can pursue further studies depending on your academic background and interests. 

  • Consider getting a master’s degree in statistics, biostatistics, or computer science 
  • Getting a doctorate will be necessary if you plan on conducting research or teaching as statisticians

Is Statistics a Hard Major?

Statistics major is a challenging path to a degree, requiring you to show interest and grit. Overall, Statistics can be one of the more demanding majors. But in the end, it will have to come down to your level of preparation, work ethic, and college choice. 

Why You Should Major in Math

The primary reason you should major in Math is you have an interest in it, or you may even find it beautiful, fun, and practical. A math major helps you become literate, conversant, and knowledgeable.

Math is the key to many fields like science, engineering, business, law, and even medicine. And with a Math degree, you open yourself to many career opportunities where you will develop more analytical ability and versatility. 

Why You Should Major in Statistics

A data analyst hard at work crunching numbers, receiving instructions from their superior.

If crunching numbers and doing research is your cup of tea, statistics may be a good major for you. Statistical skills are in demand in many societal sectors, from the government to the business industry, to universities and research labs.

There are a comprehensive set of exciting career opportunities for you. When you major in statistics, you can effectively conduct research, read and evaluate journal articles, develop critical thinking and analytic skills and become an informed consumer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest math degree?

A doctoral degree in Math is the highest education level you can pursue, taking 4-7 years to complete. In this program, you get to specialize in many areas like computer algebra, math theory analysis, and differential geometry, much like a master’s degree. 

What major does not need math? 

Many majors do not involve math. If numbers scare you too much, you can major in arts, foreign language, music, philosophy, English literature, and the likes. But don’t expect it all to be zero percent math. Indeed, there will be a point in time that you will just have to face your fears and deal with simple numbers.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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