The Secret to Success in STEM — A Math Degree

Mathematics students at San José City College study together.
SJCC students study mathematics at the METAS Center.

Mathematics doesn’t have the most glamorous reputation — unless you love math. But even if you don’t — it can be an extremely fulfilling field full of opportunity. Especially because math and tech go hand in hand.

In Silicon Valley — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) rule. And completing a Mathematics Degree at San José City College is a fantastic way to start your STEM education journey. SJCC offers a compassionate community of faculty, staff, and peers who will help you unleash your brilliance. 

If you choose math at SJCC, you can even take advantage of a program that gives college transfer students guaranteed admission to a select number of California universities. So here’s everything you need to know about our Associate Degree in Mathematics.

Why Choose an AS-T Degree in Mathematics?

“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” — Albert Einstein

Whether you’re somewhat of a romantic (like Einstein) or more practical about mathematics — what it boils down to is that a math degree presents huge opportunities.

Let’s explore why you won’t regret choosing a mathematics degree.

Mathematics is Central to STEM

“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.”

Albert Einstein

M isn’t just the last letter in the STEM acronym. Because unlike the others, math intersects with all three. In fact, The MIND Research Institute thinks it’s the most important of all. 

Mike Lefkowitz of the same organization said, “the M in STEM is the most important element, because it is a language. […] the language needed to Engineer new Technologies, as well as understand, model, and make new Science discoveries, just as English is the language needed to Read and Write books.”

Most will agree — if you want to get into any of the STEM fields, math is a wise choice. Now, we also have to mention another discipline — Computer Science (CS).

CS is the perfect example of a field that blends all the STEM disciplines. So if you’re fascinated by cutting-edge and fast-growing fields like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), you’ll also need a solid foundation in math.

Mathematics Skills Give You an Advantage in Other Industries

Completing a math degree isn’t just for folks who are hoping to become Mathematicians or Math  Teachers — it’s also crucial in lots of other fields. Employers are looking to hire people with advanced math and technical skills for jobs in accounting, economics, and analytics (to name a few).

If you know your future career involves math, a Math AA is a great way to boost your confidence and give you an advantage (and an edge) before you transfer to a 4-year university.

Now, let’s see why you’ll want to further your education beyond an AA in math.

SJCC math student studies with her peers on campus.
A math student working at the METAS Center.

You’ll Go Far With a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics 

If you live in the Bay Area, then you may already be familiar with buzz words like innovation and big data. And most of us certainly already know that technology has drastically changed the world in the last decade alone.

So if you choose to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree after you complete an AA in math, you will become part of the M in STEM, and you’ll be safeguarding your future in a big way.

Now, that’s not to say that a Mathematics Degree is a golden ticket to happiness and a small fortune — but if you’re excited about math, then run with it. Because math is becoming more and more important, and your passion is a 21st-century advantage.

Another noteworthy benefit — STEM careers, and therefore math careers, are not only abundant, they are also high-paying

“We have instructors who are experienced, diverse, and engaging. We have experts in statistics, industry, and basic skills instructors who each bring a different experience to the classroom.”

Lucas Randall, SJCC Math Faculty Member

SJCC’s Math Degree is Affordable and Exceptional

So if you do choose math — here’s why San José City College is the best place to start.

SJCC Saves You Money and the AS-T Guarantees Your Transfer

SJCC doesn’t offer just a regular old math degree — it’s an Associate in Science for Transfer Degree (AS-T). It’s mega affordable (or even free), and it includes the Degree With a Guarantee program — which offers guaranteed admission to some of the California State Universities (CSU’s).

SJCC also provides tons of additional financial support through programs like the following.

These are just a few of the fantastic financial support programs that SJCC offers. And the mathematics department specifically awards two scholarships to top math students each year.

Check out the SJCC financial aid page for info on additional programs.

SJCC’s Supportive Faculty and Programs Empower Students

Although we know it’s critical — at SJCC, we provide so much more than financial support. 

Faculty and staff are passionate about math and they want nothing more than to see their students succeed. Their devotion to excellence and their enthusiasm for the subject is contagious.

Mathematics Faculty Member Lucas Randall said, “We have instructors who are experienced, diverse, and engaging. We have experts in statistics, industry, and basic skills instructors who each bring a different experience to the classroom.”

And long-time faculty member, Michael Divinia, now serving as the Mathematics Department Coordinator, echoed this idea, saying: “We have worked to develop courses that students needed for their chosen majors and careers, that satisfied state course descriptors, and that were transferrable to the CSU and UC systems. Also, we have worked to improve teaching methods,
student support, and student success.”

The Mathematics Faculty at SJCC are problem-solving innovators who take the initiative to improve course material and teaching methods. But most importantly they prioritize student success, and they empower them to take control of their education.

Resources to Help You Succeed

SJCC offers tons of formative programs and unique opportunities for students — here are a few.

  • Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) — This is a small-group collaborative approach to learning, studying, and orally communicating chemistry, biology, math, and physics. Faculty members train student tutors to genuinely help students improve their math skills and gain confidence — not to give away answers. In their efforts to help their peers, tutors also learn valuable skills in communication.
  • Tutoring Center — SJCC also offers free one-on-one or group tutoring on a drop-in basis. This is a popular resource.
  • American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Contest — Any SJCC student can participate in this program. The national winner receives a $3,000 scholarship and the SJCC mathematics department awards prizes to students with the top five scores for the school.
  • Supplemental Instruction — Faculty designed this program to tackle new challenges created by California’s AB 705 Bill. Through a pilot program and close collaboration, faculty members were able to more aptly support students by developing Co-requisite courses as a solution.

Through all of these incredible programs, events, and offerings, math students are able to connect and build a strong sense of community with their peers. So when they come to study at SJCC, they feel enabled to tap into their brilliance and do their best.

San José City College mathematics students study with the METAS program.
Math students collaborating at San José City College.

SJCC is a Pioneer in STEM Education

Since San José City College is a part of the Silicon Valley, the location alone gives it an edge. But what’s more important, is how SJCC has used this proximity to develop and engage with incredible new opportunities in STEM. 

In the past, SJCC has offered STEM Core, a one year program that prepared students for careers in STEM. And in 2020, SJCC aims to “reverse STEM underrepresentation” for Latinx. 

As a Hispanic-serving Institution (HSI), SJCC was recently awarded a five-year, $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this program is to create guided pathways for Latinx and low-income students in engineering, public health, and teacher preparation.

Formerly mentioned faculty member Lucas Randall said, “This is an exciting time, and we are excited to work within the Guided Pathways Initiative to help students attain their goals in this STEM pathway.”

Mathematics at SJCC is an Opportunity for Excellence

A solid foundation in mathematics at SJCC will open doors for any student. With incredible opportunities for financial and academic support — our programs are truly exceptional. 

But most importantly, SJCC gives students access to an inspiring and pioneering community that doesn’t exist anywhere else. So if you’re interested or you have any questions about our programs, check out the SJCC Mathematics Department page today!

And check some of our other excellent programs, including Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, and Communication Studies.