Use your subject

Mathematics and Statistics

Think about what 'using your subject' means to you and what you're really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it's a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

As a start, use the resources below to create your own list of career ideas to research.

Remember that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject.

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Mathematics and Statistics graduates on MathsCareers and Prospects and Targetjobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Search the Institute of Mathematics for more information and careers resources related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start-ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject.

Some career options

Our information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start to explore the following occupational areas. However you are not restricted to these and you should also consider any other additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Accountant / banker

Accountants or bankers apply advanced and accurate numeracy, business awareness and analytical skills to a commercial role within the financial services sector.

You will evaluate and analyse financial data, create solutions and communicate with a variety of people within your organisation or with your clients by helping them with reliable financial management and forecasting. Other related job titles include actuary, investment analysts and business analyst.

Use our Occupations section Financial services for more information and links to useful websites.

Business analyst

This role may suit you if you enjoy evaluating and analysing data, creating solutions and communicating with a variety of people. As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You'll identify their future needs and challenges and help them to plan for the future and manage change in line with their company goals often in relation to information and software systems.

Use our Occupations sections Business, administration and public sector and Data science for more information and links to useful websites.

Civil servant

The Civil Service Fast Stream is an accelerated leadership development programme providing graduates with the experience, skills and knowledge to become senior leaders within the Civil Service. It recruits graduates into a variety of administrative and policy roles via the Fast Stream or the general entry routes.

Through a variety of different placements or postings in government departments and agencies you’ll get experience of working in front-line operational delivery, policy and corporate roles and depending on the role potentially working with general public or senior government advisers or government ministers. If you want to influence decisions or make a difference on government policy and public service at a national level, enjoy analytical work, presenting persuasive evidence-based reports, scrutinising the implications of public sector policy and are eager to take on responsibility then you might enjoy the Civil Service Fast Stream.

If you are a language graduate you may be particularly attracted to roles/departments such as the Diplomatic Services Operational Officer in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Trade, the Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which has a lot of links to Europe.

Departments of specific interest to scientists include Government Statistical Service, Government Operational Research Service, Science and Engineering Scheme and the Project Delivery Scheme, but there are many more.

Use our Occupations section Public sector administration for more information and links to useful websites.

Data analyst / scientist

Develops and applies record management systems, analyses and interprets data sets relating to her/his employer's business, and prepares reports using business analytics tools.

Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, including pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, government and education. They work across broad areas including business intelligence, data assurance, data quality, sales and marketing.

You might work for the organisation itself, eg a pharmaceutical company, or for a consultancy working on their behalf. Alternative job titles might include value analyst or business intelligence analyst.

Use our Occupations section Data science for more information and links to useful websites.

Government intelligence officer

As an intelligence analyst, you'll be involved in acquiring, evaluating, analysing and assessing secret intelligence using many different sources and techniques.

Primarily in the UK you'll work for one of the government's three intelligence and security agencies (GCHQ, MI6 or MI5) or employed by the armed forces or police. Your role includes detecting and preventing serious organised crime as well as disrupting threats to national/international security such as cyber espionage and computer network attacks - look for newer job titles such as cryptographer.

Use our Occupations section Defence and public protection for more information and links to useful websites.

Operational researcher

Operational research uses mathematical modelling, computer software and other methods to help organisations make strategic business decisions and develop better systems. The methods used enable effective analysis of complex situations and possible solutions.

Operational researchers need strong mathematical ability and quantitative and data analysis skills, as well as essential communication skills to explain solutions to different people. The variety of sectors and types of work that Operational researchers do is one of the attractions of the role.

Use our Occupations section Data science for more information and links to useful websites.

Patent attorney / patent examiner

If you have an interest in law, a methodical and meticulous attention to detail and excellent written communication skills you may enjoy applying your technical background and engineering degree to this area of work.

In this role you will assess whether inventions are eligible to be patented by searching through existing records of patents that have been approved and assessing whether the new product is sufficiently new and innovative. You will develop extensive knowledge of intellectual property law and have highly honed skills in drafting patents.

You may also advise companies and individuals through the process of gaining a patent or enforcing infringements.

Use our Occupations section Patents for more information and links to useful websites.


Researchers work in a variety of organisations and agencies, in academia, public and private sectors. The role involves collecting and analysing information and data in a range of different fields (everything from health, finance, government policy and consumer preferences) and presenting that information to other colleagues or clients via written reports, presentations or digital communication.

Roles often specialise either in quantitative (working with statistics) or qualitative (analysing non-numerical data) research and provide information that helps colleagues or clients make political, social and economic decisions.

Use our Occupations section Scientific research for more information and links to useful websites.

Science communicator / writer

Science writers prepare and deliver professional presentations on science-related topics to non-experts, including the general public as well as professionals in other disciplines. Opportunities range from schools outreach in HE to scientific events management with science communication agencies, public relations roles with learned societies, or education officer roles in science museums.

Some of the larger charities, eg Cancer Research UK or Wellcome Trust, may offer graduate schemes in areas like policy, public engagement and communications.

Science communicators also work in specialist publishing, journalism and broadcasting.

Use our Occupations section Scientific information and outreach for more information and links to useful websites.

Secondary school teacher (Maths / Science)

Maths teachers usually work with pupils aged 11-18 years old.

You will design and deliver engaging 'GCSE' and 'A' level lessons, monitor your pupils' progress, and prepare classes for external exams in line with national curricula. You will show patience, an interest in young people and an ability to establish a positive learning environment, up-to-date subject knowledge and excellent teamwork, organisational and communication skills.

Teaching in further education colleges is also an option but fewer opportunities exist.

Use our Occupations section Primary, secondary and special needs for more information and links to useful websites.

Software engineer / developer or programmer

In a software development/programming type IT sector job role you apply your technical knowledge of specific programming languages to design, test and reproduce or maintain coding/software and systems, often in line with a project or a client specification and working with a development team.

You'll need project management skills and must enjoy working to deadlines, have a meticulous attention to detail and take a creative methodical approach to your work.

Use our Occupations section IT systems and services for more information and links to useful websites.


Statisticians work with quantitative data, collecting and analysing statistical information to present conclusions on a wide variety of topics. This involves the design of surveys and the interpretation of statistics to contribute to findings that enable organisations to make better decisions, or to manage and use data more effectively.

Statisticians work in the public sector and in private sector organisations across a range of industries. In addition to strong mathematical, analytical and IT ability, the skills to work accurately, find solutions and communicate conclusions skills are essential.

Use our Occupations section Data science for more information and links to useful websites.