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Keaton Ellis, national champion of the 2015 US National Rubik’s Cube Competition, 3x3 one-handed category.


I asked students and ex-students who had taken my 400-level Math classes what they could tell their school-mates about getting jobs after graduating. Below are the responses that might be most helpful. Some are going to grad school.

      When someone gets a graduate teaching assistantship, it pays a salary and all tuition and fees, making grad school possible. It is competitive and so those are interested should apply to a variety of grad schools.

      I invite those who want to add their comments to send them to me for some future distribution. Include what your major is or was.

      Thanks go to those who have contributed. Some of these are edited slightly.

      James Yorke

      Chair of the Department of Mathematics

      Distinguished University Professor of Math & Physics

ER writes:

      Though I haven't graduated yet I have in fact gotten a job.  I am a double major with Math and Computer Science and will be going to work as a consultant for a consulting firm doing data analysis and programming.  
      I was actually looking for an internship when I found the company at the 
career fair.  I would say that just going and talking to as many companies as possible is the best path.  Also handing out a lot of resumes increases your chances of finding the company that wants you.  Lastly, it never hurts to post your resume to any free job postings such as Terp online that you can find.

      As for figuring out what to look for I found that while talking to the interviewers I ended up with a clearer idea of what I really wanted to do.  The other thing to pay attention to is to pick the top two or three 400 level courses that you have taken and look for a job that allows you to do something related to those.  At the worst you end up with a job you don't like and you can spend a year or so doing it before moving on with a large skill set to help you get a job you do like.

NM writes:

I commissioned into the Army as an officer.  I will be working in the Core of Engineers.  I was a math major, which had no bearing on my job in the Army.  I will obtain a security clearance and be given amazing amounts of responsibility.


AN writes:

I had a job from terps online using; that's the easiest way, to me.  Employers go there and post job positions and stuff, we could change our resume to fit
with the job description to get more chances.  It's free and the school has tips for job search and interviews there. Employers have on-campus interviews also so it's really
convenient.  Also, putting resume at career fair is good too. That is probably what most people do if you don't have connection for a job.  

JD (Mathematics and Computer Science major) writes:

I'm still an undergrad (graduating in May 2007), but I have an on-campus staff position with the promise of a full-time job upon my graduation.  I got this job essentially by luck-being at the right place at the right time.  I volunteered at an elementary school library, and the librarian learned of my job search and suggested I contact her husband, whose office was looking for a student assistant.  I did, and got a student position, which after two years developed into a staff position.  So my advice would be to let people know you're looking for a job, and just get out there, because you never know who knows who.  I guess this could also be called networking.

      I'm working at the (campus) Office of Institutional Research & Planning as a Coordinator of Special Projects.  We deal with data and statistics pertaining to the University.

PJ writes:

I am a computer science and math double major and I will be graduating in December 2006. I am primarily looking for software engineering jobs. I would prefer not to work for a government agency such as the army or the navy but I am certainly willing to do it. This summer I am working at Apple on compilers.
      I think the smartest thing I have done, as far as job hunting goes, is to work in a computer networking research lab on campus after my junior year. Although this paid a lot less compared to many of my computer science friends who were going to work at Microsoft and other large corporations, it allowed me to learn a lot of new stuff in a low
pressure environment. This also allowed me to do some projects primarily on my own. I felt throughout my job hunt for this summer that employers were impressed by this very much.
      As for keys to job hunting, i can think of a few. First of all, Applying early (i.e. January and February for the upcoming summer) is the best way to get considered for your first choice job. Furthermore, I found success by simply paying attention whenever a company showed any interest in hiring someone. This seems obvious but is something I did not do in the past. For example I went to the career fair and talked to companies I was interested. I also found success paying attention to mailing lists for employers searching for applicants. Finally, I have found the most success by applying to a lot of places. This has the benefit of getting your resume seen by a lot of people while also letting you refine your interviewing skills, application writing technique, and allows you to see what kind of jobs are out there. Finally, I found it helpful not to get too excited over one opportunity. This way I was not devastated if I did not hear back.
      I hope this helps. I have a feeling that it is a bit longer than you anticipated. Thanks for all your help.

EN writes:

      1) Make an appointment to talk to a Career Adviser at the career center. It would be more helpful if you know what kind of job you are looking for. 
      2) You could talk to friends who have already found a job. You could also talk to people who have the job that you want and see how they found their job.
      3) There are many books that deal with job hunting. For instance, at the career center, there is a small book with hints on resume, cover letters, websites and other things 
that would help in the job search.
      4) Talk to Professors who work or have an interest in your field. They are usually very helpful.
      5) Dedicate a good amount of time each day specifically for job hunting. Make phone calls to companies that you might want to work for and send in your resume even if they do not have any openings.
      6) Try to "look outside the box", there are companies which might be hiring people in your major but might not be very obvious.

GV writes

I am going to graduate school in physics at Ohio State.  I was a physics major at Maryland.  In regard to applying to graduate schools, it is always good to sound focused.  It is to your advantage to say in your personal statement that you want to work in a particular subfield or project, even if you aren't sure if that's what you want to do.  Being wishy-washy isn't necessarily looked down upon (professors know people haven't made up their mind) but it doesn't give the advantage of a focused application.

JW writes:
    I just graduated from College Park and am going here for graduate school in 
the Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation program.  This summer, I am 
working at a genomics research facility in Rockville.  I was inspired to pursue computational biology through undergraduate research.  There are many applied fields out there like Genomics which need mathematicians.  Develop your programming skills.    
    For graduate school, begin studying for your math subject GRE's early.  Really early.  Apply to many schools - I applied to 8.  Email professors you're interested in working with before you send in your application.

PC writes:

My degree was in Math.  I taught math for one year at a local high school.  This summer I am off.  Next fall I am going to Wisconsin-Madison for grad school, but I am not sure what field to study.  That's my story.
Some day as a math major you will graduate. It is very useful to prepare. If you are not sure yet which way you'll go -- try to be prepared for different paths. At least prepare consistent with some path.

Taking appropriate courses is not something you can do at the last minute. For general advice about career-appropriate math courses, click here. Also take full advantage of the math department advising staff.

Graduate school is one option. It is especially critical to take the courses which will give you the background to succeed, and the credentials to be admitted and to get financial support. Again, for appropriate course advice, click here.

NOTE!!! Many graduate students in mathematics and the sciences are given financial support by their schools, by some combination of teaching assistantship, research assistantship and fellowship.

You might also go directly to productive work in the "real world". This is a more varied, complex and changing set of possibilities. We hope some of our links to career resources may be useful.


It is an official department policy that MATLAB is to be used in our sophomore courses MATH 240,241,246 (linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations). It is in MATH 246 that this computer component is most closely integrated with the mathematical material of the course.

Transfer Policy.

A course cannot transfer into UMD as MATH 246 without a significant component of computer use. Courses can transfer into UMD as MATH 240 or 241 without a component of computer use.

Credit by Exam Policy.

A student who is otherwise well qualified to take the MATH 246 CBE, but has not had significant computer experience as acquired in MATH 246, will be allowed to take a MATH 246 CBE.

There will be a questions on the MATH 246 CBE testing the MATLAB work covered in MATH 246. A student who does not prepare by doing the MATLAB work can expect to lose a letter grade on the score.

A credit by exam for MATH 240 or MATH 241 may or may not include questions involving MATLAB.




  •  The MATLAB component of MATH 246 is important in the course, from the viewpoint of Math, and even more strongly from the viewpoint of Engineering.

  • Correspondingly, MATLAB assignments comprise a significant part of the grade in MATH 246 (for example, 20% of the grade in Fall 2007).

  • A student can realistically prepare for the MATLAB questions by doing the MATLAB work from a current MATH 246 course. This is a nontrivial amount of work, but the book used for MATLAB in MATH 246 is well suited to self study.

  • The MATLAB components of MATH 240 and 241 are less important in these courses, although significant for our overall goal of developing student facility with the MATLAB package.