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Mathematics course prerequisites

To apply for some courses, students are required to complete mathematics through their high school studies.
Why study maths in years 11 and 12? There is a nation-wide shortage of graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The University is addressing this issue by introducing mathematics course prerequisites for some degrees from 2019. These changes will help prepare you for the jobs of the future.

What is the mathematics prerequisite?

Students need to achieve a Band 4 in the HSC Mathematics* (not Mathematics General) or similar result in equivalent interstate year 12, IB, GCE A Level subjects or other Year 12 qualifications, to be eligible for admission to a range of courses, including economics, commerce, computing, engineering and IT, medicine, psychology, pharmacy, veterinary science and science.

*The subject requirement refers to Mathematics (not Mathematics General or Mathematics Standard), or Mathematics Advanced which will be first examined in the NSW HSC in 2020.

Who does it apply to?

2019 entry to university 

The mathematics prerequisites apply to:

  • domestic and international students who are undertaking a secondary education (Year 12) qualification in Australia, such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), IB diploma or GCE A Level. This includes all students undertaking an Australian Year 12 qualification outside Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants who apply through the Cadigal Scheme – an Associate Dean may admit an applicant under the Cadigal Scheme who has not achieved band 4 in Mathematics, if satisfied that the student meets the standards by demonstrating the capacity to succeed in coursework at a university level; and subject to a requirement that they enrol in an approved mathematics prerequisite course in their first year of enrolment; and satisfy requirements for this course prior to graduation.

The mathematics prerequisites don’t apply to:

  • students applying for entry based on higher education study (ie. Transferring from a current undergraduate degree) may be admitted on their ATAR or at least one year of full time higher education study, or equivalent
  • students who have deferred their degree, taken a gap year or graduated high school prior to 2018
  • all domestic students applying on the basis of approved preparation programs or other qualifications accepted by the University.

2020 entry to university 

The mathematics prerequisites apply to:

  • all domestic students applying on the basis of undertaking a secondary education (Year 12) qualification in Australia, such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), IB diploma or GCE A Levels
  • all domestic students applying on the basis of undertaking an Australian Year 12 qualification outside Australia
  • all onshore international students applying on the basis of undertaking a Year 12 qualification (or equivalent) in Australia, such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), IB diploma or GCE A Level
  • all international students applying on the basis of undertaking an Australian Year 12 qualification outside Australia

as well as:

  • all domestic students applying on the basis of higher education study 
  • all domestic students applying on the basis of approved preparation programs (see Mature-age Entry Scheme) or other qualifications accepted by the University
  • all students applying through admission pathways will have to demonstrate achievement in mathematics
  • all international students applying on the basis of approved preparation programs (foundation programs) in Australia, including Australian university preparation programs undertaken outside Australia (students would need to have undertaken equivalent studies in Mathematics as part of the foundation program).

Students who do not meet the mathematics prerequisite may apply and enrol in an alternative course without the maths prerequisites and apply to transfer to a course with prerequisites after completing one year of full-time study. Admission is based on the better of students ATAR or performance in at least one year of higher education study; and completion of an accepted mathematics unit at university (refer to table below).

2020 transfer to a university course

Domestic students applying on the basis of higher education study (ie. transferring from a current undergraduate degree) may apply to transfer to a course which has mathematics prerequisites if they have successfully completed an accepted mathematics unit at university (refer to table below).

Accepted mathematics units of study

Unit of study For what course
MATH1111 introduction to Calculus All award courses subject to Maths standards
ECON1003 Quantitative Methods in Economics Bachelor of Economics
Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Advanced studies

ENVX1002 Introduction to Statistical Methods

Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Agriculture)
Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Animal and Veterinary Bioscience)
Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Food and Agribusiness)
Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Taronga Wildlife Conservation)
Equivalent Unit from another university As assessed by the University

Courses with mathematics as a course prerequisite for admission from 2019

Equivalent subjects for Australian Year 12 qualifications and other onshore secondary education qualifications

Subjects listed below are considered equivalent to the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) Mathematics (not General Mathematics or Mathematics Standard).

Qualification Equivalent subject Equivalent result
NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC)  Mathematics (or from 2020, Mathematics Advanced), Mathematics Extension 1 or 2 Mathematics (Band 4) or Extension (Band E3)
Australian Capital Territory Certificate of Education (ACT) Mathematical Methods (Major) or Specialist Mathematics (Major) 142
Queensland Senior School Certificate (QCE) Mathematics B H
South Australia and Northern Territory Certificate of Education (SACE/NTCET) Mathematical Methods B-
Tasmania Certificate of Education (TCE) Mathematical Methods 4 CA
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Mathematical Methods (CAS) or Mathematical Methods (CAS) CBE 30
Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE) Mathematics: Methods ATAR 58
Other secondary education qualifications undertaken in Australia (the prerequisite only applies to students undertaking the below qualifications in Australia).
International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematics SL or HL SL 5 or HL 4
GCE A-Level Mathematics or further Mathematics B
Mathematics has enabled us to design machines at subatomic scales. It’s the backbone of artificial intelligence that can play chess, drive cars and identify cancers far better than humans ever could. But the thing I feel most strongly about, amidst all the futuristic technology, is how mathematics can make us more human.
(Excerpt from 2018 Australia Day address) Eddie Woo, founder of Wootube; Australia’s Local Hero 2018 (Australian of the Year Awards); Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Mathematics) (Honours) 2008.