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ERIC Number: EJ999407
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-0146-3934
Career Path Decisions of Masters-Level Mathematics Students: A Comparative Review
Piotrowski, Chris; Hemasinha, Rohan
College Student Journal, v46 n4 p823-828 Dec 2012
There has been a flurry of research activity, in recent years, on the various aspects of STEM programs in the U.S. Yet there is scant research on vocational selection and career path aspirations of mathematics (hereon, math) students during their graduate-level education. The current study, based on a mixed-design, from data obtained on a small sample (n = 28) at the University of West Florida: a) compares graduate versus undergraduate (from data reported by Piotrowski & Hemasinha, 2012) math students' career decisions and preferences, and b) analyzes qualitative data on pedagogic factors that most influence career choice at the graduate level. Nearly half of our sample (46%) plan on finding immediate employment whereas one-third intend to pursue additional graduate studies while being employed. Findings indicate that masters-level math students' entry-level career preferences were as follows: Teaching in higher education, positions as statisticians, applied finance, secondary-level instruction, and working as a consultant. Moreover, these students felt that coursework in statistics, operations research, and mathematical modeling provided a robust foundation in the preparation for specific career positions. Despite an avid interest in finding professional positions in their chosen field, 68% of our sample plan on earning a doctoral degree within 10 years. Additional studies need to corroborate these preliminary findings at larger, geographically-diverse university settings in the U.S. Such research should expand the knowledge base on career path issues faced by newly-minted graduates of advanced STEM programs. Future investigations on math majors need to examine emerging issues like gender differences, "hybrid" majors, and the influence of graduate-level online education on vocational selection. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida