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Mathematics to become a prerequisite for University of Sydney admission

1 February 2016
University of Sydney fights to raise mathematics standards

The University of Sydney will lead the charge to address the national crisis in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by introducing mathematic prerequisites for a number of its courses from 2019.

mathematics prerequisites


Amid growing concerns over falling standards in subjects requiring mathematics, the University of Sydney will become the first university in NSW to require year 12 students to have completed at least two-unit mathematics for 62 of its courses in order to meet requirements for admission.

The changes, which apply from 2019 in order to allow sufficient time for current year 10 students to select senior subjects which fulfil the new entry requirements, will impact a range of courses, including economics, commerce, engineering and IT, psychology, pharmacy, vet science and science.  

"Our research shows a large gap between students who arrive at university with only a general mathematics background and those who have studied more complex two-unit mathematics and above," said Professor Tyrone Carlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar).

"We want to encourage students, particularly female students, to engage with mathematics at a level higher than general maths, and so lift the marked decline in enrolments across Australia and our declining national performance in the subject on global leagues tables.

"If Australia is to fully embrace the opportunities afforded by the innovation agenda we must lift mathematics as the cornerstone of STEM fields. Our graduates will be ready to tackle the challenges of the industries of the future thanks to this higher-level mathematical knowledge and will attain the necessary skills to thrive in their STEM-related degrees."

The changes were passed by the University of Sydney's Academic Board in December 2015. The full list of courses affected by the new prerequisites is available online.

The new prerequisites will be listed in the 2016 Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) Year 10 guide, distributed to schools in May 2016, and are set to apply to admissions for 2019.

Emily Cook

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