Ask HN: High Quality Online Degree for Mathematics

Ask HN: High-Quality Online Degree for Mathematics?
176 points by sreeramvenkat 7 hours ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments
Hello Hackers,

I am looking for suggestions on online mathematics degree options (something similar to OMSCS from Georgia Tech). I have background in CS but have always wanted a degree in Math. Cannot leave my job and study – have mouths to feed.
I can self study but I find myself switching my topics of study too often. Following a strict regimen of syllabus will discipline me to complete what I start.

the following assumes you are in the US.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, then I would do online lower div courses, often available via community college (Virginia has the whole lower div sequence online), then I would do the University of London graduate diploma, run by the London school of economics.[1] The courses are basically equivalent to upper div math / stats / early grad school classes.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, UoL don’t have a degree with just math. They used to just have just a “math and economics degree”, but have recently launched a “data science and business analytics” bsc [2] which looks like it has very little non-mathematical content (certainly less than a US math degree that has gen ed requirements)

I did a non-mathematical undergrad a long time ago, then did the lower div math courses online via community college. Currently doing an MS in math and stats in person at my local state school, but also enrolled in the london graduate math diploma this year to go over some things in more detail, and to help me review things before comprehensive exams next year 🙂

Message me if you want more info, happy to help!




Forgot to say, University of London is super cheap, maybe around $2000 for the grad diploma, or around $7-8000 for the degree.


The UoL External Programme still has the BSc Maths and Econ option –

Having looked through the courses offered, I have to say that I am quite impressed. They are offering several interesting courses in Applied Math such as Game Theory, Optimization, and Statistical Inference. Overall it looks like a solid Applied Maths degree.


UK OpenU has a remote applied math/stats BSc and they’ve been around for 50 years (though recently plagued with financial problems)

You’d pay the same tuition to go to a local school P/T though, total cost to complete is around $4k USD per year plus whatever you have to pay to a local testing center (here it was $60 per exam). Another way is just work through a rigorous introductory text like Concrete Math by Knuth and hire local math grad students to tutor you (or for them to come up with their own curriculum) but since it would be nice to spend all this time and gain actual credentials I’d be interested in distance math degrees too if anybody knows of others, University of London only has graduate level distance math degrees.


> UK Open University

As a person that has two math degrees and knows someone that received their PhD in a CS/Math/Logic area (i.e. PL) I couldn’t +1 this recommendation enough. That person is now a professor at a college in the UK but studied while elsewhere in the EU.

The OP stated:

>I am looking for suggestions on online mathematics degree options

The Open University is a very valid choice for this.


The University of South Africa is one of the largest correspondence universities in the world. Also, the course material is quite good but the support not so much (teachers and profs might take some time to respond, YMMV).

Also about 5x cheaper than the equivalent in the UK.


My missus does her Master’s degree through UNISA and it seems to be quite good in terms of quality and course material. As you say, the only issue is the support but so be a bit patient on that. I believe Nelson Mandela also studied at UNISA when he was imprisoned at Robben Eiland.


If you want the degree, check with Coursera. Some universities offer degree programs through Coursera that don’t carry a “online” label on the degree certificate.

I know this bc my gf works there. I don’t care about a certificate so “audit » (i.e. no grading of exams,no certificate) for free. If you don’t need the degree or college credit you can do that.


Sure, but you need eligibility for University studies in Germany, which isn’t “just sign up here”, and you have to travel to Germany for all exams.


I was looking for something similar 6 years ago or so. “High quality” is difficult… but regionally accredited and a real degree does exist.

I went to Southern New Hampshire University and got my BA in Math w/ concentration in Applied Math. I started grad school at GA Tech for an MS in Operations Research via their distance learning program. I also got into USC and Kansas State.

I learned about this other degree after I was done though so you have at least two accredited options. It is slim pickings though:


Why do you care about accreditation? Do people ask you if a degree is accredited? Nobody’s ever asked me.


I’ve never been asked either but some companies care where you went to school.

However, it still matters outside the context of trying to get a job. If for some reason you want to transfer to a different school, if you don’t have a regionally accredited degree many universities won’t accept any of your credits.

Accreditation is kind of a mess in the US. Regional is the golden standard. National is kind of a joke and if your school is nationally accredited it might not be good enough to transfer to a better school (really depends on the school some of them will take your credits).

The worst part is that many networks of universities create their own accreditation organizations with names that sound similar to the real ones.

From my experience, regional accredited schools can still be absolute shit, but for some reason its the most respected credential a school can have.


Out of curiosity, how are these degrees perceived by French employers? Also does entrance into these universities require a BAC?


These are the same diploma as the non-remote ones. Typically you have to take an on-site exam once a year. I’m not sure if it is indicated anywhere that classes was provided online, so it should be totally the same. And yes it requires the bac.

Also I forgot to mention that the government annonced a raise for foreign student fees, so I would not stay as cheap as it is (400-600€).


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