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Study Mathematics at Otago

A short definition of Mathematics would be “the study of quantities and how they are measured, combined, related, and operated upon”.

We use mathematics for practical things like organising the arrival of materials on a building site in order to reduce storage; encrypting and decrypting internet messages; modelling blood flow through a damaged heart; and predicting the break-up of ice floes.

These are all mathematics in action – mathematics making a real difference in the world where we live. Mathematics looks at the distribution of prime numbers, the properties of geometric figures, how dependent variables change, and what happens when you add up infinitely many terms.

Studying these ideas lays the foundation for using mathematics to solve real-life problems.

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Why study Mathematics?

You build a solid foundation for analysing and understanding the mass of quantitative data that is available these days. You develop problem solving and organisational skills that are highly sought after by  employers. You learn to think both logically and creatively. You discover an amazingly varied and profoundly rich science that has an intrinsic beauty. You get your mind around some of the ancient problems that have fascinated humans for centuries.

Background required?

To enter our mainstream programme you need a clear pass in at least one of the NCEA level 3 papers at High School.

If your mathematics background is only to Year 12 or Year 11, you can still progress in Mathematics at Otago by taking either or both of the two preparatory papers MATH 100 Mathematical Foundations and MATH 151 General Mathematics.

Career opportunities

Career options for Mathematics graduates are much wider than you might think. Many students take jobs where mathematics is not the main focus of the business, and yet their mathematical skills are their greatest asset. That is because mathematics and the analytical and logical thinking that it teaches are vital in understanding and solving all manner of quantitative problems, from electricity generation to data  compression, from weather forecasting to the study of bone density loss.

Mathematics graduates, especially those with a well-rounded background in mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, have a qualification that integrates perfectly into the modern, technology-based world. 

Applied mathematicians are in demand wherever employers need deterministic models, for example, in seismology and the earth sciences, meteorology, the chemical and forensic industries, health, ecology and conservation, transportation and scheduling, engineering, and computing, to name a few. And for those with both applied Mathematics and Statistics, i.e. a background in both deterministic and stochastic models, one can add to the above list the areas of social science, financial services and insurance, epidemiology, quality assurance, economics, policy, government, and many others.

Teaching style

Most Mathematics papers at Otago involve several lectures a week, usually 50 minutes long. You need to take notes based on the material presented, although in some papers part of the material is already available in outline notes that are followed closely.

There will also be tutorials that are really advice sessions, where you can go along and ask for help with weekly exercises or with understanding course material. Some papers have compulsory tutorials, others  have open tutorials where you can go as many times as you wish. Apart from the final examination, you are assessed internally based on exercise marks, a mid-semester test, or a series of computer tests. Papers differ but in all cases your internal assessment is an important part of your overall grading.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Mathematics

Level Papers Points
100-level

MATH 160  Mathematics 1

MATH 170  Mathematics 2

COMO 101 highly recommended

COMP 150, COMP 160, ENGL 127 recommended

Advanced placement into MATH 170 may be allowed for suitably qualified candidates.

18

18

200-level

COMO 204  Differential Equations

MATH 201  Real Analysis

MATH 202  Linear Algebra

MATH 203  Calculus of Several Variables

STAT 266, STAT 270, PHIL 222, COMP 242 recommended

18

18

18

18

300-level

Four 300-level MATH or COMO papers

At least one 18 point STAT paper

72

18

Plus

162 further points must include at least 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

162
Total   360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Mathematics

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Mathematics

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Mathematics is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Mathematics

Thesis
  • Thesis: MATH 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Mathematics or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Mathematics must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Mathematics prior to undertaking the thesis.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Mathematics

Level Papers Points
100-level

MATH 160  Mathematics 1

MATH 170  Mathematics 2

COMO 101 highly recommended

COMP 150, COMP 160, ENGL 127 recommended

Advanced placement into MATH 170 may be allowed for suitably qualified candidates.

18

18

200-level

COMO 204  Differential Equations

MATH 201  Real Analysis

MATH 202  Linear Algebra

MATH 203  Calculus of Several Variables

STAT 266, STAT 270, PHIL 222, COMP 242 recommended

18

18

18

18

300-level

Four 300-level MATH or COMO papers

At least one 18 point STAT paper

72

18

Plus

162 further points must include at least 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

162
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Mathematics

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Mathematics

Papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematics

Papers and Thesis
  • MATH 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four 400-level MATH papers

  • Thesis: MATH 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Mathematics as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

MATH 160  Mathematics 1

MATH 170  Mathematics 2

Students with advanced placement into MATH 170 can replace MATH 160 with 18 MATH or COMO points (excluding MATH 151)

18

18

200-level

MATH 202  Linear Algebra

MATH 203  Calculus of Several Variables

18

18

300-level

One 300-level MATH paper

18

Total   90

Papers

MATH papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
MATH151 2020 General Mathematics 18 points First Semester, Summer School
MATH160 2020 Mathematics 1 18 points First Semester, Second Semester, Summer School
MATH170 2020 Mathematics 2 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
MATH201 2020 Real Analysis 18 points First Semester
MATH202 2020 Linear Algebra 18 points Second Semester
MATH203 2020 Calculus of Several Variables 18 points First Semester
MATH272 2020 Discrete Mathematics 18 points Second Semester
MATH301 2020 Hilbert Spaces 18 points First Semester
MATH302 2020 Complex Analysis 18 points Second Semester
MATH304 2020 Partial Differential Equations 18 points Second Semester
MATH306 2020 Geometry of Curves and Surfaces 18 points Second Semester
MATH342 2020 Modern Algebra 18 points First Semester
MATH374 2020 Mathematical Physics 18 points Second Semester
MATH401 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH402 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH403 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH404 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH405 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH406 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH407 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH408 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH409 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points First Semester
MATH410 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH411 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH412 2020 Topics in Advanced Mathematics 20 points Second Semester
MATH490 2020 Dissertation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
MATH495 2020 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period

COMO papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
COMO101 2020 Modelling and Computation 18 points Second Semester
COMO204 2020 Differential Equations 18 points Second Semester
COMO303 2020 Numerical Methods 18 points First Semester
COMO480 2020 Research Project 40 points Not offered in 2020

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Email maths@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/maths