Mathematics and Statistics

Social sciences banner

There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Maths and Statistics

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Maths and Statistics graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs and especially on MathsCareers (produced by the Institute of Maths) but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Maths and Statistics graduates

Researcher

Researchers work in a variety of organisations and agencies, in academia, public and private sectors. The role involves collecting and analysing information and data in a range of different fields (everything from health, finance, government policy and consumer preferences) and presenting that information to other colleagues or clients via written reports, presentations or digital communication.

Roles often specialise either in quantitative (working with statistics) or qualitative (analysing non-numerical data) research and provide information that helps colleagues or clients make political, social and economic decisions.

Accountant or banker

Accountants or bankers apply advanced and accurate numeracy, business awareness and analytical skills to a commercial role within the financial services sector.

You will evaluate and analyse financial data, create solutions and communicate with a variety of people within your organisation or with your clients by helping them with reliable financial management and forecasting. Other related job titles include actuary, investment analysts and business analyst.

Patent attorney or examiner

Patent attorneys use their intellectual property legal knowledge to lead individual inventors or companies through the required process to obtain a patent, draft the patent and then act to enforce inventors' rights if patents are infringed.

They work for a firm of patent agents, very large industrial organisations or government bodies. Patent examiners, working for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) or the European Patent Office (EPO) are responsible for checking an invention is new, clear and inventive, not merely an adjustment to something already existing.

Data analyst

Data analysts apply advanced analytical and specialist computer programming skills to solve complex scientific, engineering and business intelligence problems.

You will use mathematical models to analyse complex data and compile summary reports. Related job roles/titles within ICT organisations include systems engineer, software developer, analyst programmer, statistician and data scientist.

Data analysts are also in high demand across other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, government and education. You might work for the organisation itself e.g. a global engineering company, or for a consultancy.

Business analyst

A business analyst’s role is to evaluate and analyse data, create solutions to a business’s challenges and communicate ideas on suggested improvements to a variety of people.

As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You’ll identify their future needs, opportunities as well as their weaknesses and threats and help plan for successful futures and manage change in line with their company goals - often with harnessing information and software systems.

Software engineer / developer or programmer

In a software development/programming type IT sector job role you apply your technical knowledge of specific programming languages to design, test and reproduce or maintain coding/software and systems - to comply with a project or a client’s specification.

You'll need project management skills and must enjoy working to deadlines, have a meticulous attention to detail and take a creative methodical approach to your work.

Government intelligence officer

As an intelligence analyst, you'll be involved in acquiring, evaluating, analysing and assessing secret intelligence using many different sources and techniques.

Primarily in the UK you’ll work for one of the government’s three intelligence and security agencies (GCHQ, MI6 or MI5) or employed by the armed forces or police. Your role includes detecting and preventing serious organised crime as well as disrupting threats to national/international security such as cyber espionage and computer network attacks - look for newer job titles such as cryptographer.

Maths / secondary science teacher

Maths teachers usually work with pupils aged 11-18 years old.

You will design and deliver engaging ‘GCSE’ and ‘A’ level lessons, monitor your pupils’ progress, and prepare classes for external exams in line with national curricula. You will show patience, an interest in young people and an ability to establish a positive learning environment, up-to-date subject knowledge and excellent teamwork, organisational and communication skills.

Teaching in further education colleges is also an option but fewer opportunities exist.

Science communicator / writer

Science writers prepare and deliver professional presentations on science-related topics to non-experts, including the general public as well as professionals in other disciplines.

You may work in a range of areas including HE schools outreach, scientific events management, public relations roles with a learned society, or education officer roles in science museums. Some larger charities offer roles in science policy, public engagement and communication.

Science communicators also work in specialist publishing, journalism and broadcasting.

Subject specific resources