Best Online Master’s Degrees in Math Careers & Salaries with a Graduate Degree in Mathematics

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When a math teacher insists that math is used for everything in life, few students see the connections. However, there are some who feel empowered by its inarguable logic, and relish delving into complex equations that can be used to solve any number of scientific or engineering dilemmas. From mapping the human genome to influencing insurance policies to achieving major breakthroughs in computer science, individuals who understand the possibilities of mathematics – and how to apply them to real-world problems – have excellent career paths open to them. The best of those positions are waiting for graduates of an online master’s in mathematics program.

Best Online Master's in Mathematics 2018-2019

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Best Online Master’s in Mathematics 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

Students interested in earning a master’s degree in math will find a multitude of programs that might suit their needs. That can actually make the decision tougher, as students must narrow the choices to a short list of potential programs. A good place to start is by comparing programs using our comprehensive rankings of the Best Online Master’s in Mathematics Degrees for 2018-2019.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas $5,784 54% 67% 81% 2 No Yes Yes

Texas A&M University allows students to pursue an online Master of Science in Mathematics. Students who wish to teach in K-12 and community colleges or in computational math may benefit from this degree. Once students complete this 36-credit-hour program, they will be required to present an oral exam via WebEx and a PowerPoint presentation. To enroll in the Master of Science in Mathematics at Texas A&M University, prospective students must submit official undergraduate transcripts, math and science GRE scores and 3 letters of recommendation.

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2 Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado $9,628 53% 78% 67% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Colorado State University gives students the chance to earn a Master of Science in Mathematics online. This degree offers 11 different focus areas, such as algebra, geometry and math education, to name a few examples. Coursework consists of 35-credit-hours, covering a range of mathematical topics such as Mathematical Modeling of Large Data Sets, Introduction to Abstract Algebra and Numerical Analysis. After graduation, students may find employment in business, research, government or K-12 teaching. Others may decide to pursue a doctorate.

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3 Ball State University Muncie, Indiana $8,386 40% 62% 62% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students interested in pursuing a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education entirely online can do so at Ball State University. For acceptance into this program, students must hold a current elementary, middle school or special education teaching license and have a minimum of 1 year of experience teaching in an elementary or middle school setting. There are 3 concentrations available, including 1 for elementary and middle school teachers, 1 for secondary school teachers and 1 for elementary and middle school specialists. This 32-credit-hour program involves courses such as Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics Education and Action Research in Mathematics Education.

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4 Iowa State University Ames, Iowa $8,474 78% 87% 70% 1 No Yes Yes

Iowa State University provides students with the opportunity to earn an online Master of School Mathematics. This program is for current secondary mathematics teachers and is intended to build upon program students' knowledge of various types of mathematics and introduce strategies that create a classroom experience focused on problem-solving. The Master of School Mathematics also educates teachers how to use computing technology while teaching mathematics. The degree consists of 32 credit hours and will meet the master's degree endorsement requirement for a teacher certification.

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5 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, Texas $5,439 42% 64% 48% 1 No Yes Yes

At the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, students have the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Mathematics online. Students may choose from 1 of 4 concentrations, including mathematics, mathematics teaching, industrial and applied mathematics, and statistics. This program was designed to prepare students who hope to continue or secure a math-focused position and those who hope to further their education and pursue a doctorate. This 36-credit-hour degree includes required courses such as Linear Algebra, Algebra I and Analysis I. For admission consideration, students must hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in upper-level mathematics courses and submit their GRE scores.

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6 Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana $7,128 68% 86% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes

At Indiana State University, students may pursue a Master of Science in Mathematics online. This degree is taught in a synchronous format with courses that occur during late afternoons and early evenings. Core courses for this 33-credit-hour degree include Topology, Mathematical Modeling and Graph Theory. Graduates are prepared for teaching opportunities, to continue on toward earning a doctorate or to work in a math-related career, such as an actuary or data analyst. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in mathematics, mathematics education or a related discipline and a minimum GPA of 2.7.

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7 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, North Carolina $8,088 48% 48% 78% 1 No Yes Yes

A Master of Arts in Teaching in Mathematics Secondary Education degree is available at North Carolina State University. This online and hybrid program was established to prepare its students to obtain both a master's degree and an initial teaching license in order to teach high school math. For admission, students must hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and have a minimum of 24 hours of mathematics. This degree, which can be completed full time or part time, includes approximately 33 credit hours and a full semester of student teaching.

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8 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Kentucky $11,400 41% 94% 54% 1 No Yes Yes

At Western Kentucky University, students may pursue a Master of Arts in Mathematics online. This program is designed for certified secondary teachers who hope to further their expertise or teach dual credit courses at the collegiate and technical school level. The minimum acceptance requirements for this degree include a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate for Secondary Mathematics in Grades 8 through 12. The GRE may be required for some students. To complete this degree, students must take a minimum of 30 credit hours and courses, such as History of Mathematics, Classroom Instruction Strategies and Curriculum Development.

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9 Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas $5,922 66% 87% 42% 1 No Yes Yes

Emporia State University offers an online Master of Science in Mathematics. Students who pursue this program may choose to specialize in applied mathematics, statistics, algebra or analysis. To apply, students are required to hold an undergraduate degree in mathematics, mathematics education or a field of study that involves many math courses. To graduate with a Master of Science in Mathematics, students are required to complete 11, 3-credit-hour courses and 1-credit-hour project. After graduation, some students land positions in business environments, while others further their education and enroll in a doctorate degree program.

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10 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania $11,592 38% 69% 68% 1 No Yes Yes

At Slippery Rock University, students can pursue an online Master of Education in Secondary Education Math/Science. This 36-credit-hour degree offers 2 tracks: the basic teaching track and the advanced teaching track. While the basic track is designed for students who hope to earn a certification, the advanced track is for teachers who are already certified. Students who wish to enroll in the basic track must hold an undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or higher. Those who are interested in the advanced track are required to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Regardless of which track students choose, they will gain leadership skills that will help them advance their teaching career and specialized knowledge in teaching mathematics and science.

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11 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida $7,088 64% 41% 55% 1 No Yes Yes School website
12 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana $5,686 37% 83% 45% 1 No Yes Yes School website
13 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee $11,044 47% 77% 71% 1 No Yes Yes School website

Timeline of an Online Master’s in Mathematics

Getting in: the Application Process

To ensure the best chances of getting accepted to a great graduate math program, students should pay close attention to admissions requirements and deadlines. In most cases, students entering a master’s program must already hold a bachelor’s degree, earn qualifying scores on the GRE, and present an impressive application packet. Here’s what most schools will require:

  • Transcripts.

    Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree and preferably taken certain math classes in preparation for the master’s degree such as linear algebra and calculus. They should also have a minimum grade in those classes as well as an overall minimum GPA. Transcripts will contain this information.

  • GRE score.

    The Graduate Record Examination is often required for entry into graduate school. Scores can be sent directly to the schools of choice, and the test can be taken more than once to achieve a better score if necessary. As expected, graduate math programs may place more emphasis on the quantitative reasoning section when reviewing an applicant’s GRE score.

  • Math subject GRE score.

    Most schools will require the GRE subject test in math, a specialized examination that is separate from the general GRE. These scores will be considered in conjunction with the general GRE test results.

  • Letters of recommendation.

    Three letters are typically required. These should come from people who can attest to the student’s aptitude for mathematics and graduate school study; former professors and work colleagues are excellent sources.

  • Prerequisite math courses.

    Many schools want to see higher-level math courses taken during the undergraduate years, as well as excellent grades to demonstrate mastery of knowledge gained. However, those who have not yet taken certain prerequisite math courses can usually do so during the first semester of the master’s program.

  • Personal essay.

    This essay is a chance for applicants to speak directly to the admissions board, explaining why they are ideal candidates for a program, why they chose math as an academic/career path, and other points of interest that can make their applications stand out.

Those chosen from the competitive field of applicants might be asked to engage in an interview with an admissions adviser or panel. This interview can be conducted via Skype, phone or other means for those who live too far to travel.

Year 1

The first year of the online master’s program in math is based on a core curriculum of courses that set a foundation for the concentration area of study. These courses typically cover topics such as number theory, abstract algebra, and real analysis. Students might also take courses in computer science, management, decision theory, statistics and biostatistics.

Year 2

During the second year, students delve into concentration courses that prepare them for their eventual degree paths. Students also devote significant time to finishing additional graduation requirements, including the capstone project or thesis. Students might also be expected to complete an internship in a job related to their math concentration.

In most cases, the online master’s in mathematics program can be completed within two years. However, working professionals might take classes part-time; in those cases, three years is a realistic timeframe.

Testing & Graduation Requirements

In addition to taking all the required courses for the master’s degree and maintaining a minimum GPA, students typically must also complete testing and other graduation requirements. These might include one or more of the following:

  • Master’s thesis

    This project begins with an original theory, and culminates in a thesis paper, as well as a possible presentation before an advisory board. The thesis is a manifestation of the knowledge and skills the student has acquired during the program.

  • Capstone project

    In lieu of a thesis, some schools may require a capstone project. This intensive research project demonstrates what a student has learned during the program. It might culminate with a presentation, paper, or other means by which it can be reviewed and graded.

  • Comprehensive exam

    Many schools require successful completion of a final exam that tests students on knowledge learned during the master’s program. This exam is often multiple-choice and focuses only on the major or concentration.

  • Internship

    Though internships are not as common in mathematics as they are in other master’s degree pursuits, some programs do require them. Internships are completed under the supervision and guidance of a professional in a math-related field.

During the course of the program, students will keep in close contact with a graduate adviser to ensure they stay on track with coursework, research and other requirements for graduation.

Career Path & Salary Potential a Master’s in Math Can Offer

The master’s degree program allows students to tailor their education for a particular career path. Following are the most popular concentrations in mathematics master’s programs, as well as the careers that those concentrations can lead to:

Probability and Statistics

This concentration has two tracks: applied and theoretical. Courses provide a strong foundation in mathematical statistics, survey analysis, computing technology, probability, methodology and research. This foundation is applicable in jobs that focus on analysis and statistical probabilities.

Research Analyst
Research Analyst

Creates meaningful analyses from the enormous amounts of numbers that come from all kinds of research, including surveys, biomedical testing, student testing, and more. These individuals work in education, government and the private sector, in industries ranging from healthcare to public policy.


These experts collect, analyze, interpret and report on a wide variety of information, then share their findings with those who can use it to make a difference. Statisticians work in fields spanning education, public policy and legislation, healthcare and more.


Conducts research and analysis to identify and predict economic trends, and offers forecasts to those who want to reallocate money and other assets. Requires the ability to understand economic issues as they are influenced by global changes.

Applied Mathematics

This flexible concentration allows students to choose electives that suit their particular career path. In general, applied mathematics offers courses on topics such as operational mechanics, probability, decision theory, statistics and computer science. Students who want to broaden their career options can augment this concentration with a variety of electives that offer a well-rounded education.


Working in either the private sector or in government positions, mathematicians focus on creating statistical models, analyzing data, and offering advice to those who make major business or political decisions.

Research Analyst
Research Analyst

Creates meaningful analyses from the enormous amounts of numbers that come from all kinds of research, including surveys, biomedical testing, student testing, and more. These individuals work in education, government and the private sector, in industries ranging from healthcare to public policy.

Data Miner
Data Miner

Technological advances, combined with an increasingly connected world, have led to the production of more raw data that must be processed into use information. Data miners need strong skills in statistics, analytics, and understanding patterns in data sets. They might work in virtually every sector, but healthcare is a particularly robust industry for this job.

Actuarial Mathematics

Actuarial studies can be broken down into three tracks: life insurance mathematics, non-life insurance mathematics and probability. Courses include those in finance, economics, accounting and statistics. Graduates will know how to properly assess risk in a wide variety of situations.


Often employed by life insurance companies, healthcare organizations, or firms with an interest in the stock market, actuaries are experts at analyzing research in order to determine risk.

Research Analyst
Research Analyst

Creates meaningful analyses from the enormous amounts of numbers that come from all kinds of research, including surveys, biomedical testing, student testing, and more. These individuals work in education, government and the private sector, in industries ranging from healthcare to public policy.


Conducts research and analysis to identify and predict economic trends, and offers forecasts to those who want to reallocate money and other assets. Requires the ability to understand economic issues as they are influenced by global changes.


Achievements such as mapping the human genome were made possible in part by those who studied this concentration, which exists at the intersection of mathematics and biology. Coursework covers both foundational mathematics and biological science, and research is a vital element of this particular path.

Pharmaceutical Consultant
Pharmaceutical Consultant

These experts help pharmaceutical companies develop, test and analyze a variety of drugs, as well as assess the usage of those drugs by various populations. They quantify information on such things as side effects and the rates of complications.


Focuses on data analysis and research in pharmacology, life sciences, biostatistics, biology and much more. May work with developing new drugs, pursuing cutting-edge treatments or determining the roots of disease.


These individuals work to encrypt or decipher information; develop systems that protect data; and ensure that transactions—especially those that take place on the Internet—are safe and secure.

Mathematical Computer Science

This concentration blends mathematics with computer science to create a degree that prepares students for various jobs in the technology world. Course topics might include theoretical computer science, logical mathematics, algebra, topology and research methods. Students can choose between two general tracks: computer science or research mathematics.

Computer Scientist
Computer Scientist

A strong grasp of math is essential for this job, which includes creating methodologies and tools that are applied to the development and use of computer systems, such as data acquisition and network systems.

Data Miner
Data Miner

Technological advances, combined with an increasingly connected world, have led to the production of more raw data that must be processed into use information. Data miners need strong skills in statistics, analytics, and understanding patterns in data sets. They might work in virtually every sector, but healthcare is a particularly robust industry for this job.

Potential Salary Increases with a Master’s Degree

Those who seek the master’s degree in mathematics often do so with an eye on the bottom line – they want to see an increase in pay, and possibly better job options and more employment security. It’s a sound decision, as the numbers bear out. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, mathematicians who chose to pursue the master’s degree earned 33 percent more than those who stuck with the bachelor’s degree. Those in applied mathematics enjoyed a 56 percent boost.

While there is a wide range of salary at either degree level, statistics from PayScale show that the advanced degree translates to more money on average. Those who earned the bachelor’s degree made between $38,892 and $99,268, while those with a master’s degree earned between $50,000 and $107,872.

Growth potential 23%
Average Salary $103,720

Additional Resources & Links

Students who are considering a graduate degree in mathematics, as well as those who are already enrolled in a program, can benefit from the following resources:

  • American Mathematical Society.

    This professional site offers numerous sections offering information about programs, publications, math samplings, and policy and advocacy efforts.

  • American Statistical Association.

    Offers a career center, rewards and recognition, publications, educational information and a members-only section.

  • International Mathematical Union.

    This site is a clearinghouse of information on a variety of issues important to those in math professions, including lists of organizations, publications, activities and member perks.

  • Mathematical Association of America.

    This site offers benefits for both members and the general public, including competitions, meetings and programs, and press information.

  • Society of Actuaries.

    This society offers professional development opportunities, research findings, education and exams, and other information about the profession.

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