Planning minors and majors

When planning which units to complete for a minor or major in an area of mathematics, the choice of level-one and level-two units may affect significantly what can be taken at level three, because most mathematics and statistics units have strict prerequisites from the previous level or semester. Note that most level-two and three units are only offered in one semester each year and that some level-two and three units may not be offered every year.

In all minors and majors there are also compulsory units that must be taken but most have flexibility and allow the selection of some elective units. Care must be taken to ensure that minimum requirements for these minors and majors are followed but by choosing combinations judiciously. Wherever possible, students should aim to leave their options open for study across a range of areas in mathematics and related disciplines in later years.

Before completing re-enrolment it is recommended that you consult the detailed handbook entries for the minors, majors and extended majors of each area of mathematics at

The descriptions above apply to students commencing their science course in 2016, but they are quite similar to those in previous handbooks. Technically, students who commenced their science course prior to that should follow the requirements for the minors and majors in the handbook for the year in which they first enrolled in that course, but it is usually possible to follow the corresponding requirements for any subsequent year in which they were still enrolled. Descriptions of earlier versions for all minors and majors are provided under the 'Area of study' description for 'Mathematics and statistics' in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, or earlier via the Archived handbooks.

Having selected the minor, major or extended major that is closest to your area of interest, it is recommended that you:

  • check the precise requirements for that minor or major via the handbook links above;
  • read the outlines of any compulsory units that you must complete for this;
  • select the most likely other units that you may take from any list of options provided;
  • by clicking on the links provided, note the prerequisites and semester of offering;
  • write down a schedule of the year and semester in which you plan to take all of those units, taking into account prerequisites and semesters;
  • bear in mind the scheduling of any additional elective mathematics or statistics units that you may wish to take beyond those requirements.

The ordered List of units offered on the left-hand menu may also assist you in this selsction process.

Some recommendations on when compulsory units are normally taken, and some advice on which combinations of elective units are appropriate, are provided below. It is strongly recommended that students considering other unit combinations discuss these prior to enrolment with the relevant coordinators (listed below), or ask at Science Student Services.

Coordinators and advisors

Individual course advice on each minor or major can be obtained from the following academic staff in the School:

These staff are all located in the Mathematics building at 9 Rainforest Walk (previously building 28). If they are not available, the staff in the School Enquiries Office (room 401 on level 4) may be able to direct you to another suitable member of staff.

Choosing level-one units

As listed in the handbook entry for Mathematics and Mathematical statistics, all minors and majors in an area of mathematics must include both MTH1030 Techniques for modelling (or MTH1035) and MTH2010 Multivariable calculus (or MTH2015). Students who have not satisfied the prerequisites for MTH1030 will have to complete MTH1020 Analysis of change prior to MTH1030.

It is strongly recommended that students planning to complete a minor, major or extended major in an area of mathematics read their requirements carefully to ensure that their chosen level-one units can be counted towards that minor or major. Level-one units should also be selected to ensure that any prerequisite requirements at levels two and three will have been satisfied, and preferably to allow some flexibility in potentially changing specialisations at a later time. Further advice and assistance on this matter can be obtained from either the relevant coordinator (listed above) or Science Student Services.

Choosing level-two units

It is strongly recommended that students enrolling in any level-two mathematics units read the requirements of their desired major or extended major carefully to ensure that those units can be counted towards that major, and that any prerequisite requirements at level three will have been satisfied. Further advice and assistance on this matter can be obtained from either the relevant coordinator (listed above) or Science Student Services.

All minors and majors include MTH2010 Multivariable calculus (or MTH2015), if one of those has not already been taken, and most include MTH2021 Linear algebra with applications. MTH2025 Linear algebra (advanced) is a more-challenging version of MTH2021 which is targeted at  high-achieving students, and it can replace MTH2021 in any of the minors and majors listed above.

Students intending to undertake a major in applied mathematics are recommended to complete MTH2032 Differential equations with modeling in their second year of enrolment, along with either MTH2010 (if not already completed) or one of MTH2021 or MTH2025 . Several level-three units require MTH2032 as a prequisite so it is best to complete it as early as possible.

The unit MTH2222 Mathematics of uncertainty covers the theoretical material needed to complete a major in mathematical statistics, and it is a prerequisite for some level-three units in mathematical statistics. MTH2222 is only offered in second semester, so students who wish to complete MTH2222 and who have not completed either MTH2010 or MTH2021 (or MTH2025 ) by the end of the first semester will need to take MTH2010 concurrently with MTH2222.

Students planning to take a major in pure mathematics are recommended to try and complete at least one of MTH2121 Algebra and number theory or MTH2140 Real analysis (and perhaps both) in their second year of enrolment, as some level-three pure mathematics units require one of these as a prerequisite.

Choosing level-three units

The School of Mathematical Sciences offers a broad range of mathematics units at level three. Descriptions of all of these are provided via the List of units offered on the left-hand menu. Many of these units are intended for non-specialist third-level studies in mathematics, for example towards a major in Mathematics rather than one of the specialised majors. Specialist areas of mathematics available for study at level three include algebra, analysis and geometry, applied and computational mathematics, mathematical statistics and probability, and fluid dynamics.

It is strongly recommended that students enrolling in any level-three mathematics units read the requirements of their desired major or extended major carefully to ensure that those units can be counted towards that major or extended major, and that all other requirements will have been satisfied in a timely manner. Links to those requirements are provided at the top of this page. Further advice and assistance on choices of units can be obtained from either the relevant coordinator (listed above) or Science Student Services. Note, however, that not every unit offered in the latest handbook will necessarily be offered in every subsequent year.

Students intending to undertake a major in applied mathematics who have not already completed either MTH2021 Linear algebra with applications or MTH2025 Linear algebra (advanced) should normally take one of these units in their third year of enrolment.

MTH3000 Mathematics research project level 3 is only available to students who have completed at least two level-three mathematics (MTH) units with a sufficient level of achievement. Students seeking to enrol in this unit should contact the unit coordinator in the first instance.

Honours in mathematics

Students completing a Bachelor of Science, or the science component of a double degree, may wish to continue their studies at honours (fourth-year) level in the following year. For more details, please contact the honours coordinator Dr Yann Bernard or see Honours on the left-hand menu. Applications for admission to the honours program are usually due in November, prior to the release of results, and the School usually runs an information session in advance of that deadline.