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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Undergraduate studies

There are excellent reasons for studying Mathematics at Otago. We discuss some here, and outline the requirements for completing an ordinary or Honours degree in Mathematics. If you have any questions about mathematics papers or course structure, please contact the relevant Director of Studies.

  • Why study Mathematics?
  • Why study at Otago?
  • A major in Mathematics
  • A minor in Mathematics
  • A double major in Maths and Stats
  • Honours in Mathematics

Why study Mathematics?

Studying mathematics is training in general problem solving. Many employers recognise this fact and highly value the transferable skills gained by studying mathematics:

  • critical and analytical thinking,
  • quantitative reasoning,
  • problem solving,
  • constructing logical arguments,
  • communication and teamwork,
  • independence.

Otago’s Mathematics graduates regularly obtain good positions in education, finance, banking, insurance, government administration, ITS, research and many other fields.

Why study at Otago?

While many universities in New Zealand offer degrees in Mathematics, the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Otago is attractive for many reasons.

  • Otago has the oldest tradition in teaching Mathematics in New Zealand. When founded in 1869 as New Zealand’s first university, one of the three initial professors was teaching Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
  • Otago is in the top one per cent of universities internationally according to the latest QS World University rankings.
  • The lecturers at the Department are world-class researchers, with two staff being fellows of the Royal Society. In particular, the Department has a strong reputation in ecology and evolutionary genetics, mathematical and numerical relativity, and computational statistics. This guarantees research-informed teaching and is an entry point for student research at Honours, Masters and PhD level.
  • The integration between Mathematics and Statistics guarantees excellent and coordinated combined programmes.
  • The Department’s unique mathematical and data modelling programme (COMO) trains science students for the data revolution.
  • Unlike many ageing Departments, Otago’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics has one of the largest groups of enthusiastic and motivated young researchers and lecturers.

A Major in Mathematics

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in Mathematics are made up of 360 points and normally can be completed in three years. The 360 points must include 180 above 100-level, of which at least 72 will be in papers above 200-level. Each 3-year degree must also satisfy what is called a Major Subject Requirement. You can fulfil such a requirement in Mathematics for a BSc or BA as follows:

BSc or BA in Mathematics

  • 100-level: MATH 130, MATH 140
    (COMO 101 is highly recommended; COMP 161, COMP 162, ENGL 127 are recommended)
  • 200-level: MATH 201, MATH 202, MATH 203, COMO204
    (STAT 260, 270, PHIL 222, COMP 242 are recommended)
  • 300-level: Four 300-level MATH or COMO papers

The major must include at least one 18 point STAT paper.

A Minor in Mathematics

Minor in Mathematics

  • 100-level: MATH 130 and MATH 140
  • 200-level: MATH 202 and MATH 203
  • 300-level: One 300-level MATH or COMO paper

A Double Major in Mathematics and Statistics

To get a double major in a BSc or a BA, one must fulfil the requirements of each major. Some students can accomplish this in 3 years, but it generally takes longer.

Double Major in Mathematics and Statistics

  • 100-level: MATH 130 and MATH 140; STAT 110 or 115
  • 200-level: MATH 201, MATH202 and MATH 203; COMO 204; STAT210, STAT 260 and STAT 270
  • 300-level: Four 300-level MATH/COMO papers; STAT 310; Three 300-level STAT papers including at least one of STAT 370, 371, 372.

Postgraduate Honours in Mathematics

See the Honours page


See also: