Planning Your Degree: Mathematics

The BSc and BA in Mathematics are three-year qualifications. You may specialise in pure or applied branches of the subject within the majors. The degree is essential if you wish to go on to graduate study or research in Mathematics, and if you want to combine mathematics with other science (BSc) or arts and humanities (BA) subjects. Employers in a wide variety of work environments place a high value on a Mathematics major.



Bachelor of Arts (BA) / Bachelor of Science (BSc)

The structure of the courses in Mathematics is to change progressively over the next three years, to conform with the revised BSc regulations (which will make it easier to do two Science majors, and also make it possible to have a second major from outside the Science Faculty included in a BSc).

Students beginning at 100 level in 2009 should read the first-year advice in "Planning your Programme" below. Students who have already passed the requisite 100-level courses, or who enter directly at 200 level, and wish to complete the major under the old regulations, should aim to satisfy the following requirements.
  1. MATH 113 [no longer offered] or MATH 206.
  2. MATH 114 [no longer offered] or MATH 207 or MATH 214.
  3. A further 18 points from COMP 102, STAT 131, STAT 193, or QUAN 102 [note that the points values of these courses will be reduced to only 15 points in 2009. If you have not already satisfied this requirement, you should discuss what to do with the Programme Director in Mathematics].
  4. At least 48 points in MATH at the 300 level.
  5. 44 more points of 200 or 300-level MATH courses.

HELP To complete the degree you need an additional 24 points at 300 level, enough 200 and 300-level courses to make a total of 180 points at 200 and 300 level, and sufficient courses at all levels to total at least 360 points.

Planning Your Programme

The advice on first-year planning which follows is intended for students who are beginning their studies at 100-level in 2009 (that is, under the new regulations).

First Year

The core first year courses, passes in which are compulsory for a Mathematics major, are MATH 142, MATH 151, and MATH 161. They require a good mathematics background (see NCEA entry requirements, or equivalent).

To enrol in MATH 142 (Calculus 1B) you should have at least 18 NCEA Level 3 Mathematics credits, preferably with some at Merit or Excellence level (and including the differentiation, integration and trigonometry achievement standards). Otherwise, you have two possibilities.

  1. You may enrol in MATH 103 (Introductory Calculus) which will be offered for the last time in the summer trimester 2008-2009; if you pass it with a B grade or better, you can be accepted into MATH 142. Very roughly speaking, MATH 103 is intended as a substitute for Year 13 Calculus.
  2. You may enrol in MATH 141 (Calculus 1A). A pass in MATH 141 qualifies you to enrol in MATH 142.

To enrol in MATH 151 (Algebra), or MATH 161 (Discrete Mathematics and Logic) you should have at least 16 NCEA Level 3 Mathematics credits. Otherwise, you have two possibilities.

  1. You may enrol in MATH 104 (Introductory Algebra and Discrete Mathematics) (offered for the last time in the summer trimester 2008-2009); or
  2. You may enrol in MATH 132 (Introduction to Mathematical Thinking) which will be offered for the first time in Trimester 1, 2009 (and then in the summer trimester 2009-2010). Very roughly speaking, MATH 132 is a transitional course to our other first-year courses, and is intended primarily as a substitute for Year 13 Mathematics.

A pass in either MATH 104 or MATH 132 will allow you to enrol in MATH 151 and MATH 161.

[If you have an outstanding record in Mathematics you may, with the permission of the School, directly enter 200-level Mathematics courses, or take 100-level courses while completing secondary school qualifications. Please discuss these options with the School (and with your secondary school, if appropriate) so that arrangements can be made.]

Typical First Year

BSc/BA in Mathematics
Course Course name Points
ALERT! MATH142 Calculus 1B 15
ALERT! MATH151 Algebra 15
ALERT! MATH161 Discrete Mathematics and Logic 15
  Five other courses, including at least one of COMP 102, STAT 131, STAT 193 or QUAN 102 75
  Total points 120

ALERT! See details on NCEA entry requirements or equivalent.

[A Mathematics major under the new regulations will require passes in

(a) MATH142, MATH151, MATH161;

(b) 60 points from MATH 300-399, provided that 15 points may be replaced by an approved* 300-level course from another subject; and

(c) 60 further points from MATH 200-399, provided that 15 points may be replaced by an approved* 200- or 300-level course from another subject.

* Information about possible "approved" courses will be available in future in the Mathematics Undergraduate Prospectus.]

Second Year

This advice pertains for the most part to students who are returning for their second year of study towards a Mathematics major in 2009. The courses offered at 200-level will change to some extent in 2010.

MATH 206 and MATH 207 are the core Mathematics courses at 200 level. If you have an interest in discrete mathematics, logic/philosophy, or theoretical computer science, you should also consider taking MATH 214, and PHIL 234 (Logic and Computation) or PHIL 235 (Logic). If you are interested in computational techniques, fractals, chaos, and applied mathematics, you will find MATH 223 useful.

HELP PHIL234/334 and PHIL235/335 are taught in alternate years.

Third Year

Many more options arise in 300-level mathematics, providing opportunities to specialise into areas of particular interest, and in general you should seek academic advice before making a final selection. You need to take at least 72 300-level points for your BA or BSc degree, with at least 48 of these from MATH. You can make up the balance with more MATH courses, or with courses from another discipline.

Other courses that may complement those described in this prospectus include FINM 371 (Financial Mathematics), PHIL 334 (Logic and Computation) or PHIL 335 (Logic), and a number of the QUAN, MOFI, GPHS, and MGMT courses. Keep in mind the requirements of your chosen major subjects, and whether you might want to go on to Honours or a Graduate Diploma in Science, Arts, Computer Science, Financial Mathematics, Applied Mathematics (e.g. Meteorology), or Statistics and Operations Research.

HELP PHIL 234/334 and 235/335 are taught in alternate years.

HELP Note: The 300 level mathematics courses will all be revised in 2011. Here is a list of the new courses.

Equipment and Computing Facilities

Calculators are frequently valuable for Mathematics courses. You are advised to have at least a basic scientific calculator. Though they are not required, you may prefer one with graphic or symbolic capabilities - these are permitted in most examinations, so long as they do not have user-stored material in their memories. Many courses make use of mathematical software packages, particularly Maple and Matlab, which are available in the School's computing laboratories. Student editions of Maple for Windows and Matlab for Windows are available through Vic Books or other retail outlets.


A number of MATH courses in the prospectus show one or more Restrictions against other courses. This means that the listed course may not be credited to a degree if any of the restricted courses have already been passed and credited or are being taken at the same time. For example, MATH 141 is restricted against MATH 113, MATH 142 and QUAN 111. So you cannot enrol in MATH 141 this year at the same time as, say, QUAN 111 or if you have already passed QUAN 111 or MATH 113. Likewise you could not take MATH 141 the following year if you pass MATH 142 this year. However MATH 141 is not in the Restrictions list for MATH 142 so you can, of course, proceed from MATH 141 to MATH 142.