At a Glance: You don't need to master every math class. First identify your career goal. Then determine the math necessary to get you there.
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Some people think running a marathon sounds like it’d be easier than math. If you’re one of those people, don’t avoid the big, bad, scary math monster—face it head on! And remember: you don’t need to master all types of math. You can focus on just the one or two you need. But how do you figure out what you need? Here’s a rundown of the math courses at University of Phoenix and how they relate to your career goals:

If you want to help others learn:

Mathematics for Elementary Educators I & II (MTH213 and MTH 214) are the classes for you. Each of these gives you a background (or a refresher) of basics like number theory and geometry, plus details on how to teach this stuff to young students.

If you want to make better arguments:

Whether your goal is to become a lawyer or a computer engineer, you should understand how to take evidence—or a starting input—then reach a conclusion from that material. Mathematical Reasoning (MTH330) teaches you concepts like truth tables and techniques for formal logical proofs. These skills are the foundation to making strong and valid arguments (something we all want to master).

If you want to be in finance:

To work in banking or finance, you have to use data to forecast what’s coming in the future. Quantitative Reasoning (MTH211) and Introduction to Finite Mathematics (MTH212) both get into how to work with data and statistics. Quantitative Reasoning covers how to use inductive and deductive reasoning to draw conclusions from data, and Intro to Finite Mathematics focuses more on probability—the odds of something happening—and problem-solving techniques for the real world.

If a career in business is your goal:

You can benefit from knowing how to use data to analyze trends or determine probabilities. Start with College Mathematics I & II (MTH 208 and MTH 209), which emphasize applications to real-world problems, then move on to Statistics For Decision Making (QNT275).

If you want to study animals or the environment:

Data can be about ducks or deserts as easily as about dollars, but you study that data in different ways and for different reasons. Statistics For The Life Sciences (MTH231) covers how to use that data in biology or other sciences related to living beings.

If you want to work in engineering:

To know how mechanical systems work, you will juggle a lot of variables, not to mention how those variables interact with one another and change over time. When you’re measuring change, you’re talking about calculus. Sure, calculus is no joke. But you can do it! Depending on your math background, you might start with Introduction to College Algebra (MTH219) or College Algebra (MTH220) to lay the groundwork, then move on to Pre-Calculus (MTH 225) and Calculus I, II and III (MTH280, MTH 290, and MTH 380).

You’ll want to work closely with your academic advisor to get into the math classes your degree program requires, but consider the above advice to choose the electives that are best for you.