Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, A career overview

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics – Mathematics has a deep-rooted tradition in India. Zero originated from India. Right from Aryabatta to Srinivasa Ramanujam, India had produced some mathematics scholars. Over the years, the thrust for mathematics research is on the wane in India in contrast with the neighbouring China, which had made giant strides in this field.

Unfortunately, the general perception in India about doing B.Sc. Mathematics is that the degree course will be attributed to a teaching career. In reality, those passionate about mathematics can opt for research related career, beyond the realms of academia.

Career Options

A trained mathematician can be employed outside academia. There are many Government departments engaged in space research, Indian Space Research Organisation, defence research, Defence Research and Development Organisation and aeronautical research National Aeronautics Limited employ mathematicians to solve their particular problems.

Cryptology

Cryptology is the system that ensures the safety of credit card transactions, based on sophisticated mathematics. Firms such as the DRDO and the Society for Electronic Transactions and Security hire more mathematicians with training in this area. Financial mathematics is also in vogue leading to well-paid jobs. Information Technology majors such as IBM and Microsoft have research departments which have highly paid scientists who are either mathematicians or theoretical computer scientists. Therefore, the scope for a mathematician is bright outside the realms of academia.

Fellowship

The Department of Science and Technology is offering the Ramanujan Fellowship for three years for the PhD research scholars. The Fellowship carries a handsome salary and a generous contingency grant that allows the purchase of research equipment, travels abroad for conferences, and so on. Institutions like the IITs and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore also offer generous start-up grants to freshly-recruited faculty members to facilitate their research.

Job Opportunities

There are three kinds of institutions of higher learning such as purely research-oriented institutions like the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, and the Harish Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad. These autonomous aided institutions are fully supported by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Government of India. TIFR is now a deemed university, while the IMSc and the HRI are affiliated to the deemed university, Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) that covers all other aided institutions of the DAE. Then there are institutions of teaching and research, offering degrees but do not come under the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

These are set up by Acts of Parliament, and some are under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). These are the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), the IITs, the IISc, and the newly established Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram, and the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in Bhubaneswar (set up by the DAE). Besides that, there is the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), which is set up on a public-private partnership. ISRO has its establishment in Thiruvananthapuram.

The government has suddenly started NISER, the five IISERs and about eight new IITs, all of which need faculty members. These are currently functioning with a skeletal staff, augmented by adjunct faculty members, who are retired mathematicians, which is not sustainable in the long run.

Thus, for those who hold a reasonably good doctoral degree, there are humongous job opportunities in such institutions. Even the institutions such as the IITs face constant attrition due to the retirement of faculty members. To recapitulate, B.Sc. Mathematics graduates have a lot of opportunities to gain employment in important institutions.

image source: Antoine Dautry

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