The offer of online wholesalers to deliver ordered goods on the following day, irrespective of where the end customer is located, has a lot more to do with maths than one might think: processes must be optimized, scheduling at airports, transfer times on the way to work by public transport ... Today’s expectations in all these areas of our everyday life could not be met without mathematics. Every sixth form student has at some point asked themselves the following question about mathematics: “Why do I need to learn all this? “. The answer to this question is becoming increasingly more complex in today’s world: More and more, the expertise of a mathematician is needed in many areas of business, research and industry so that everyday life can be organized and planned for us in the way that we are used to and want it to be.
- Foto: KIT
What qualities are required?
You should be interested in complex concepts in mathematics. Although the first lectures still cover similar material to school mathematics they take a completely different approach. Willingness to tackle highly abstract issues is essential for success in your studies.
Persistence and patience are also very helpful qualities in the first few semesters. At the beginning, the sense of achievement is limited due to the amount of subject matter to be covered and the basic knowledge that has to be acquired. After successfully completing the first two semesters, students enjoy a wide range of specialisations that deal with everyday issues and practical applications of mathematics.
What does the degree course look like?
Mathematics is offered by most universities, and nowadays there is a wide variety of courses to choose from. Apart from the traditional degree courses in "Mathematics" and "Mathematics for Teachers", universities are increasingly offering specialized courses. Often seen are Business Mathematics, Industrial Mathematics and Financial Mathematics. However, the first semesters cover the same ground: in analysis and linear algebra, students will be confronted with the use of a new language, the language of mathematics.The first semesters are devoted to foundation courses; usually including the following:
- Linear Algebra,
- Computational Mathematics (different names are possible),
- Introduction to Numerical Mathematics and
- Probability Theory
In most cases, there is also a subsidiary subject, which students are free to choose. Popular choices are physics, philosophy, economics and computer science. Depending on the university, different specialisations are offered after the introductory mathematics courses.
The standard period of study for the bachelor's degree is six semesters. During the last semester, students work on their bachelor’s dissertation. The TU9 universities recommend you to continue your studies after the bachelor’s degree and to study for a master’s degree. A master’s degree programme usually takes four semesters.
Language of Instruction
At the TU9 universities, Mathematics is primarily taught in German. However, there are institutions (e.g. Berlin Mathematical School) which - in collaboration with the universities - offer courses in English. Most of the literature is also in English. Some universities prefer the bachelor’s dissertation to be written in English.
Fields of Employment
Besides traditional activities in research and teaching, mathematicians also find career opportunities in the software industry, in insurance companies and banks, industrial companies (primarily in the field of process optimization), consultancies, accounting firms ... The spectrum is very broad. Mathematics graduates are especially valued for their capacity for abstract thought. This abstract way of thinking trained during their studies is very helpful for overcoming problems as they arise.
To find out whether a degree in mathematics is the right choice for you, why not take the “SelfAssessment Mathematik" test of RWTH Aachen! [German only]
For further information on studying mathematics visit the individual TU9 university websites:
- TUM students and their professor explain (in German) what studying mathematics at TUM is like :