Mathematics & Statistics
Mathematics is an indispensable tool for analysing and explaining the world around us, providing us with the skills to deal with the most abstract concepts. Although mathematics is one of our oldest disciplines of study, current research is opening exciting new frontiers in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics. Mathematics and statistics play a fundamental role in the physical, chemical and biological sciences, in commerce, in engineering and in every other activity where quantitative, analytical or logical understanding is important. Ultimately, mathematics is about clarity of thought and precision of understanding.
School of Mathematics and Statistics website
Where do mathematicians and statisticians work?
Graduates with mathematical and statistical skills are in demand in many areas, especially in businesses associated with financial services and information technology. They are needed in almost all scientific, medical, technological and industrial research. Graduates are employed in a wide range of organisations to interpret information and make forecasts and decisions. Statisticians and mathematicians can be found in major corporations and in the public sector, where their skills are essential for policy planning. Secondary school mathematics teaching is also a high demand area for graduates.
More information about careers in mathematics and statistics.
Which majors are available?
The school offers three majors:
- combination major, financial mathematics and statistics
A major in mathematics can be tailored to suit your particular interests, as you are able to choose freely from units in both pure mathematics and applied mathematics. A major in statistics is not only a pathway to professional employment as a statistician, but an invaluable adjunct to your career in any area. Graduating with majors in mathematics or statistics and another science area enhances your value to prospective employers and is an excellent foundation for all types of scientific research.
The school’s major in financial mathematics and statistics is designed to meet the needs of one of the fastest growing areas of employment for mathematics graduates. This major requires the completion of core units of study including specialist financial mathematics units as well as related units in mathematics and statistics. The expertise acquired is needed not only for the operation and analysis of investment portfolios, but also to establish, operate and maintain protocols for pricing traditional products like options and futures and modern products such as barriers, caps, swaps, exotics and other derivative securities.
The large number of units of study available in second and third years gives you a wide choice of electives. If you have a keen interest you can graduate with two majors in the mathematical sciences, by pairing mathematics with statistics, mathematics with financial mathematics and statistics, or mathematics with mathematics (a double major).
What will you study?
In science courses you are required to take some units of study in mathematics. To cater for different types of background knowledge, mathematics units are provided at various levels. If you completed HSC Mathematics Extension 1 or Extension 2 you can enrol in units of study at the normal or advanced level, which lead on to further study in mathematics and statistics in second and third year. If you completed HSC Mathematics (2 unit) you can enrol in fundamental units which are designed to appeal to those interested in the life sciences. The school also offers an introductory level unit if you have a general Mathematics background.
You will be immersed in a mixture of different topics ranging from linear algebra, which involves calculations using vectors and matrices, through data analysis and hypothesis testing, the mathematics of counting and logic, and the extension of the concepts and techniques of calculus, both differential and integral. You will learn how to describe surfaces in space using functions, to calculate derivatives in any direction, to create mathematical models using differential equations and to approximate difficult functions by polynomials.
In the second and third year, you may specialise in one area or may continue to take units from all areas of mathematics and statistics, choosing from units of study at normal or advanced level to match your interests and ability. Some of these units involve using software packages in computing laboratories to explore statistical simulations, analysis of data, cryptography and modern concepts of chaos. Others deal with abstract algebra, number theory, analysis, geometry, topology, and the application of mathematics to biology, cosmology, dynamical systems, finance and communications. The range of units available has been designed to cater for you – whether you intend to become a professional mathematician or if your main interests lie in other areas.
For talented students
If you have exceptional mathematical ability, we encourage you to participate in the challenging extension work provided through the faculty’s Talented Student Program and/or the Mathematics Special Studies Program. You have the option to study some second and third year units in first year, take part in seminar series given by some of the school’s top researchers and develop the mathematical writing and presentation skills necessary to make you an effective researcher.
Honours graduates of high calibre who wish to continue their studies in either mathematics or statistics may enrol in a postgraduate research degree in the School. We offer MSc and PhD programs in a wide range of topics reflecting the School’s research expertise.
Advanced Mathematics Degree
Prospective students who have a keen interest in mathematics and have achieved excellent results in their high school mathematics courses should consider enrolling in the Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics).