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?
Studying mathematics is training in general problem solving. Many employers recognise this fact and highly value the transferable skills gained by studying mathematics:
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.
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
1 Advanced placement into MATH 170 will be allowed for suitably qualified students
2 Qualified students may substitute STAT270 for the 100-level STAT paper
A Minor in Mathematics
Minor in Mathematics
1Students with advanced placement into MATH 170 can substitute 18 COMO or MATH points (excluding MATH 151) for MATH 160
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
Honours in Mathematics
There are two other degrees you can obtain: a Bachelor of Science with Honours, BSc(Hons), and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, BA(Hons). Each of these is a one-year add-on to the ordinary three-year BA or BSc, and will be awarded as a separate degree. Requirements for these are as follows:
BSc(Hons) or BA(Hons) in Mathematics
Prerequisites: A BSc or BA with a major in mathematics including at least five 300-level MATH/COMO papers with an average grade of B+.
Honours year: Students take four 20-point 400-level papers, and the 40-point full-year project paper MATH490. Students may be permitted to take one of these papers in another discipline. In Mathematics, each 20-point paper consists of two modules.
Assessment of papers and calculation of final grade
Each module will give a mark out of 100. These will be combined in pairs by the examination committee, to give a mark out of 100 for each paper.
The final honours mark is the average of the marks for the various papers, with the best 3 having a weighting of 1, the 4th a weighting of 0.5, and the project a weighting of 2.
The class of honours is determined by your final grade as follows:
The Project — MATH 490
You should discuss possible topics with lecturers and with the honours director of studies, well before the start of Semester 1. Ideally you should know your supervisor(s) and your topic by the start of Semester. The written report should be submitted by the end of the lecturing period in Semester 2.
The length and nature of the written report vary widely, depending on the area of study, the nature of the project, and on the subject matter. (All of this is taken into consideration by the examiners.) You should plan your report carefully in consultation with your supervisor: it can take longer than you might think to do the actual writing. You are also welcome to talk to the honours coordinator at any stage.
Students who wish to take Combined Honours should consult advisers in the relevant subjects at an early stage, so that an appropriate three-year degree can be planned. (This will probably require more than the standard twenty 18-point papers.) Double Honours is no longer available, though students who are qualified for admission in two subjects will be able to gain separate Honours degrees in those subjects.
See the Honours page