I'm having difficulty isolating tenure track positions in applied mathematics at institutions with more emphasis on teaching than research. I've heard that 'liberal arts colleges' and 'four-year colleges' are the way to go, but it seems difficult to find ones with openings for applied mathematics professors.

I tried mathjobs.org, but there seem to be an overwhelming bias toward research-oriented institutions and I can't seem to isolate the ones with less research focus. How do I find applied math tenure track positions at four-year / liberal arts colleges with little to no focus on research? Do they even exist? Or these institutions prefer pure / unspecific mathematicians for general classes?

For the record: I'm starting a job search for fall 2015.

  • 2
    One unfortunate phenomenon is that many not-so-great schools like to pretend that they are top-flight research universities. They try to support graduate programs that are never going to be high in quality, and for hiring and tenure they look for research. At many of these places, junior faculty do a little research until they get tenure, and then they quit doing research.
    – user1482
    May 1, 2014 at 17:43
  • 1
    You can assume applied mathematicians are welcome to apply to any mathematics position that is not otherwise specified. Mathjobs.org includes some teaching-oriented institutions, but it does seem to be less common among them than among research universities. There are also jobs ads in various other places (e.g., the AMS, SIAM, and MAA web sites), and teaching-oriented schools are particularly likely to interview at the joint AMS/MAA meetings in January. As a general rule, this isn't the right time of year to be starting to look for job openings, and you'll find more in the fall. May 1, 2014 at 17:48
  • @BenCrowell: how can you tell if that is the case for a particular school ahead of time before even getting hired or applying?
    – Paul
    May 1, 2014 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Context: I'm a professor at a mid-sized regional university, non-research oriented, but taught for 14 years at small liberal arts colleges.

It sounded in the question like you have only just begun the job search process. I'll assume this is the case in my answer. With that assumption there could be a few things in play here.

  1. Pretty much all small colleges have closed their searches for Fall 2014 by this point. There may be a few exceptions, but for the most part small colleges tend to adhere to the usual ebb and flow of the hiring process -- advertise in mid- to late summer, initial screening and phone interviews in the fall, initial interviews at the Joint Meetings in January, on-campus interviews in February, hiring decision in March. Unlike research universities where sudden influxes of grant money or sudden faculty turnover is more common, smaller schools deviate less from the basic pattern.

  2. Likewise, if you are looking for a position for Fall 2015 and are early, most of these places won't have advertised yet. Check back in July. I know for a fact that MathJobs.org does get ads from smaller schools so it's not that you're looking in the wrong place. Also look at the EIMS, the Chronicle, and Inside Higher Ed.

  3. If you are doing a search with the term "applied" it, take it out and see what happens. At smaller or non-research oriented schools, you'll see only ads for mathematicians, not "applied mathematicians" or "pure mathematicians". (There are exceptions.) In such places, like where I am, its expected that people will be generalists.

Good luck!

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