Further Mathematics and Careers

The skills gained from studying a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subject at A level or degree level are in demand by employers. Graduates with STEM degrees earn on average 5% to 10% higher salaries than the mean for all graduates.

A wide range of STEM and non-STEM subjects are underpinned by mathematics. Having a broad mathematical knowledge and secure technical ability will help the transition from sixth-form to higher education. Together with good mathematical skills, employers are looking for the ability to work in a team, communicate effectively and show initiative.

The universities section has further details of the mathematical requirements of many degree courses.

Other sources of information

  • Mathscareers
    Information about the many fascinating careers that studying mathematics can lead to.

  • Plus Magazine
    Interviews with people who took mathematics-related degrees, explaining their career pathway and what they now do.

  • Best Course 4 me
    An independent website which enables students to investigate the link between A level subjects, degrees, careers and earnings. This site is especially useful for students in Year 10 or 11 considering which subjects to chose at A level.

  • Royal Statistical Society
    Useful guides and articles for careers using statistics.

  • UCAS website
    The UCAS website has a variety of tools for helping students choose the right course for higher education.

Case Studies

These case studies show examples of how taking Further Mathematics helps people to succeed in their university education and careers.

Ellie Clarke

(STEM Ambassador)
Materials Applications Engineer at Rolls-Royce Plc

Studying Further Mathematics at school gave me a head start during my undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Swansea University. It also provided the foundations needed to understand some complex mathematics of analysis techniques that I used to investigate microstresses in steel during my DPhil at Oxford University.

Since completing my DPhil I have been working at Rolls-Royce Plc. Rolls-Royce Plc is a global business providing integrated power systems for use on land, at sea and in the air. I started on the Rolls-Royce professional excellence engineering graduate training programme. Mathematics A Level or equivalent is currently one of the requirements to get on the Rolls-Royce engineering graduate training scheme. A strong background in mathematics has given me the skills and confidence to understand and then use theories or analysis methods that are new to me which was really helpful when I was rotating between different departments. Since finishing the graduate scheme I have worked as a Materials Applications Engineer. This involves providing materials advice to support our Defence Aerospace and Marine Gas Turbine businesses during design, manufacture and in service. Mathematics is useful in my current role for example understanding the fatigue behaviour of a material or using statistics to analyse mechanical test data.

I would definitely recommend Further Mathematics A Level as there are lots of opportunities for people with a good background in mathematics.

Debbie Clifford

(STEM Ambassador)
Meteorology department at Reading University

I am a Research Associate in the Meteorology department at Reading University. My job involves using mathematics to build computer models of the environment and find better ways of observing it. Basically I look out of the window and try to understand what the clouds are doing!

My undergraduate degree was in engineering, and we covered all of the Further Mathematics syllabus within the first term, so having seen it before was a great advantage when everything else about going to university was unfamiliar. I loved the way that all sorts of systems, from a diesel engine, foundations for a skyscraper, a robotic arm, or, indeed, the atmosphere, obeyed the same maths, allowing us to understand how those systems worked. Not such an abstract subject after all! Maths makes you think logically and critically, always testing your assumptions as you go along. It is also possible to know when you've got the right answer, which is enormously satisfying.

Although maths is essential for my job, there are more reasons why taking Further Mathematics was useful to me. The small class size at school, and the pace and variety of the lessons, were a great preparation for working in tutor groups at university. We could really explore the subject with the teacher, which made it much more interesting and fun (probably for our teacher too). It made the maths involved in other subjects, such as physics, much easier, as it really is just familiarity and practice - both of which you get more of by studying Further Mathematics. Also, since two of my A-levels were in the same subject I had more time and energy to study an unrelated subject - I took French.

I have never regretted taking Further Mathematics at A-level and would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to explore how the world works.

Judith Turner

(STEM Ambassador)
Control Engineer at Vestas

I took Further Mathematics at A-Level and then went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University. An A-Level in Further Mathematics wasn’t a requirement for my degree; however I found that it gave me a grounding in mathematics that some of my fellow students did not have and it gave me a head start when we got onto more complicated mechanical problems.

Since graduating I have been working with Vestas. Vestas is the worlds leading supplier of wind power solutions, we have installed more than 39,000 wind turbines in 63 countries. At Vestas we research, design, sell, manufacture, install and maintain wind power plants.

My job as a Control Engineer involves improving the way wind turbines ‘think’ so that they will generate power efficiently and reliably from the wind without being damaged. I use mathematics every day in my work in a variety of ways. One day I may be using statistics to analyse a wind power plant and thinking of ways to improve performance. The next day I may be using mechanics to analyse the loads and motions of a turbine. For anyone considering a career as an Engineer I would definitely recommend taking Further Mathematics.

Without strong qualifications in mathematics I wouldn’t have got the job I have. One of many perks of the job is having the opportunity to travel and work with colleagues from different cultures all over the world.

There is a lot of talk in the media about climate change and global warming. I feel fortunate to be working for a company and doing a job where I feel I am doing my bit in solving one of the major challenges facing our generation.