Skip to main content
SFU Student
SFU Student

Math banner
Co-op students often find job placements easily if they are in a program that combines mathematics with computing science or business.

"The old image of the math person chewing a pencil solving math problems; that's obsolete. They now get trained for communication too. Employers are interested in math people because of the problem solving and communication skills."

- Tom Archibald, Mathematics Department Chair

Mathematics is a field of study which has been revived and expanded since the development of the new tech age. Mathematics programs at SFU now combine pure math studies with business or computer programming studies to provide students with a greater skill set and increase their employment opportunities upon graduation.

According to Dale Yamaura, Mathematics Undergraduate Advisor, there is a diverse range of careers for students with a mathematics degree. She says many grads "work in engineering firms, teach high school math, or go into software engineering, finance, banking, research, healthcare, actuarial science, or accounting."

Faye Stefan, Co-op Coordinator for Mathematics in the Science & Environment faculty Co-op Department, reflects upon common misconceptions surrounding a degree in Mathematics. "I find that with a math degree, it's often misunderstood by a lot of students and even with employers, potentially. This is because a math degree is no longer just a pure math degree. There are so many different complementary combinations that are being offered with a math degree now."

There are numerous streams offered by the SFU Mathematics department including Industrial Mathematics, pure Mathematics, Management System Science, Math and Computing Science, Applied Math and Mathematical Physics. The newest stream is Industrial Mathematics. According to Faye, "It's more about operational research; systems and logistics."She continues, "the program is designed exactly towards the demands of the industry, as opposed to a purely academic piece that has traditionally been offered."

According to Dale, about one third of SFU mathematics students choose to continue their education beyond a bachelor's degree. "They usually pursue a Masters in finance, economics, pure or applied mathematics, or computing. Students are also successful continuing to Faculty of Education PDP, or work towards achieving an accounting designation."

Faye has first-hand feedback from employers about why they choose Mathematics students with combined studies. "It's that diversity of skills; the critical thinking piece that comes with a mathematics student that encourages employers to hire them."Faye continues, "employers have told me before that if they can find that combination in a student, they would take that student over someone that doesn't have a skill set that is as diverse."

Co-op students often find job placements easily if they are in a program that combines mathematics with computing science or business. According to Faye, "they apply to a job, and they'll get the job. It's that blend that really pulls employers in. I find quite a number of my senior students that can easily get into top-end engineering Co-op jobs, which can be highly competitive."Faye explains that employers are not necessarily concerned solely with a high GPA. They are most concerned with the technical knowledge students have obtained throughout their studies at SFU.

Students have a variety of choice and maneuverability when choosing a field of employment. The major players with SFU students in recent years have included Statistics Canada, HSBC, Electronic Arts, Copper Leaf Technology, and Environment Canada. Students also tend towards the gaming industry working for companies such as Propaganda games and Nexon Publishing. "A lot of the students really like the gaming industry because they're gamers themselves,"says Faye. "They love it and they've got the programming skills required."Statistics Canada is also a key employer of mathematics students from across Canada.

Faye comments that the math Co-op program at SFU is male dominated - about 75% of the undergraduate population in the math Co-op program is male. But, she says, "more and more women are joining the program. I have a handful of them right now, and they are very motivated and driven."

Beyond the Blog

  • Interested in applying to join the Mathematics Co-op program? Visit their website for more information and to fill out the online application form.

  • To find out more about what some of the Co-op work term opportunities could be for Mathematics students, check out the Mathematics Co-op Profiles on the Online Learning Community.

SFU Student
SFU Student

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Working on campus
The 10 Minute Commute – Resources and Useful Information for Working on Campus

Have you ever thought about working in a place that you are familiar with?  Perhaps a Tim Horton’s close by? For many students the idea of working at SFU might be a great option, if you prefer a 10 minute jaunt to work after class or an opportunity to learn more about how a university operates.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

LinkedIn Banner
Top 10 LinkedIn Tips for Your Job Search

Most co-op students and other job seekers know – or learn quickly – that sitting at a computer is not the most effective route to land you your dream job. But social media is a huge part of our everyday lives! Are you making the most of it – with the right tools – to elevate your job search?

Scotiabank banner
[Indigenous Employer] Scotiabank

We strive to deliver a seamless, consistent and rewarding employment experience globally by developing policies and programs based on shared global principles. 

Jenny Vo Headshot
How to Maximize Your Return on University Investment | Part One | Get Involved and Utilize On-Campus Resources

Have you ever wondered why you should go to university and what you have done to make your university life meaningful? Have you ever been in a situation where you have no clue of what to do with your life and how to start making every penny of your tuition fees worth it? Have you ever felt frightened when thinking about your future career? I was in the same position so I want to share some tips on how to not regret going to school and how to get ready to face your future!