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 breakup 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 reallife problems.
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?
If your mathematics background is only to Year 12 or Year 11, you can still progress in Mathematics at Otago by taking MATH 120 Mathematics for Scientists or MATH 130 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 1 (a background is NCEA level 2 Mathematics with Calculus is recommended).
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 wellrounded background in mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, have a qualification that integrates perfectly into the modern, technologybased 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 midsemester 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.
 Bachelor of Arts (BA)
 Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
 Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
 Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
 Bachelor of Science (BSc)
 Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons))
 Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))
 Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
 Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts)
 Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
 Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))
 Master of Science (MSc)
 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Programme requirements
Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Mathematics
Level  Papers  Points 

100level  MATH 130 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 1 MATH 140 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 2 COMO 101 highly recommended  18 18 
200level  COMO 204 Differential Equations MATH 201 Real Analysis MATH 202 Linear Algebra MATH 203 Calculus of Several Variables  18 18 18 18 
300level  Four 300level MATH or COMO papers  72 
Plus  At least one 18 point STAT paper 162 further points must include at least 54 points at 200level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science.  18 162 
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 

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 

100level  MATH 130 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 1 MATH 140 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 2 COMO 101 highly recommended  18 18 
200level  COMO 204 Differential Equations MATH 201 Real Analysis MATH 202 Linear Algebra MATH 203 Calculus of Several Variables  18 18 18 18 
300level  Four 300level MATH or COMO papers  72 
Plus  At least one 18 point STAT paper 162 further points must include at least 54 points at 200level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science.  18 162 
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 


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 

100level  MATH 130 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 1 MATH 140 Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 2  18 18 
200level  MATH 202 Linear Algebra MATH 203 Calculus of Several Variables  18 18 
300level  One 300level MATH paper  18 
Total  90 
Papers
MATH papers
COMO papers
Paper code  Year  Title  Points  Teaching period 

COMO101  2023  Modelling and Computation  18 points  Semester 2 
COMO204  2023  Differential Equations  18 points  Semester 1 
COMO303  2023  Numerical Methods  18 points  Not offered in 2023 
COMO480  2023  Research Project  40 points  Not offered in 2023 
Key information for future students
Contact us
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Email maths@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/maths