Studying to be a Mathematics Teacher

  • Interested in conveying your enthusiasm for mathematics to others?
  • Like interacting with people?

Then study Mathematics and Education at UNSW.

How to study Mathematics and Education at UNSW

Major in Mathematics in the Science Education Program (BSc/BEd)

Administered by the School of Education and the Faculty of Science, this combined degree in Mathematics and Education is designed to give future mathematics teachers a solid grounding in the essentials of mathematics and education.

The combined Science and Education Degree Program is a four-year course with an opportunity for students with excellent results to continue for another year (total five years) to obtain an Honours degree.

What kind of jobs can I obtain when I graduate?

Having a BSc/BEd will give you a solid grounding in both mathematics and education. Upon graduation, you will most likely have an enjoyable and rewarding career teaching mathematics at a secondary school. Your mathematical knowledge will help you to become a good teacher and therefore assist your career progression. It will also assist you in other areas such as keeping up with constantly changing syllabi.

Teaching will not be your only avenue though, as you will have obtained both a Science Degree and an Education Degree. Studying mathematics prepares you for a wide variety of careers because it provides you with the problem-solving, computing and communication skills that employers want. See Careers for more information on future job prospects.

However, secondary school mathematics teachers are in short supply, both here and overseas. This is a secure career choice relative to other possible options in today's economic climate.

What will I study?

In first year you will study the core mathematical topics that any student at UNSW needs if their degree involves mathematics. You also study some computing as this is a vital skill to have and will increase your employment options. You may choose your elective courses from several other Schools so that you can follow or cultivate other interests.

In later years you will have the opportunity to experience a broad range of mathematics. As a teacher, you should know areas from pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and computing so courses in all these four disciplines are encouraged. You should indulge yourself by following your own particular interest in mathematics since you will pass on to your students, inadvertently or intentionally, your true level of enjoyment and enthusiasm for mathematics.

See the Program and Course Details below to find out more about courses. And for more details of individual Mathematics courses, see the Details of Courses page.

Mathematics can be studied at the Ordinary level or at the Higher level depending on your interests and abilities, but study at the Higher level is recommended and may be necessary for certain courses in later years.

If you do the extra Honours year of the Science Program, you will do some coursework but will also spend time writing a thesis. The aim of the thesis is for you to become involved in an active area of research of your choice. You could even discover something new, which is not as uncommon as you might think!

Program and Course Details

You can check the full rules for the BSc/BEd degree in the UNSW Handbook.

Program 4075 for students who commenced prior to 2012 (Details)

Program 4076 for students who commenced in 2012 onwards (Details

The requirements for the BSc/BEd in Mathematics are as follows (from 2013):

  • 66 UOC in Mathematics. These Mathematics courses must be chosen so as to fulfill the requirements for a Mathematics for Education Major (as listed below)
  • at least 6 UOC of computing courses (e.g. COMP1991, ENGG1811) and 6 UOC of 1st Year Physics.
  • 18 UOC further science from any Science School
  • 96 UOC in Education
  • The balance of 192 UOC may be taken from courses offered by any School that offers either a major or minor in Science.

Major in Mathematics for Education (MATHV14076)

Stage 1
MATH1131 or MATH1141 Mathematics 1A
MATH1231 or MATH1241 Mathematics 1B
MATH1081 Discrete Mathematics

Stage 2
MATH2011 or MATH2111 Several Variable Calculus
MATH2121 or MATH2221 Theory and Applications of Differential Equations (pre-2014: MATH2120/2130)
MATH2501 or MATH2601 Linear Algebra
MATH2521 or MATH2621 Complex Analysis (pre-2014: MATH2520/2620)
MATH2801 or MATH2901 Theory of Statistics

Stage 3
MATH3560 History of Mathematics (3uoc)
MATH3570 Foundations of Calculus (3uoc)
one of 
MATH3531 Topology and Differential Geometry
MATH3511 Geometry and Transformation Groups
MATH3701 Higher Topology and Differential Geometry
plus
6 units of credit from Level III Mathematics

Note: MATH3611 (Higher Analysis) can be used as an alternative to MATH3570, but note that MATH3611 is a 6uoc course.

What are the entry and continuation requirements?

You must meet the appropriate ATAR cut-off. Please see the UAC website where ATAR cut-offs are listed for each program.

  • The Mathematics major within the Science Education Degree is listed under UAC code 422110 (BSc/BEd (Secondary)).

In addition, you will need to have a certain level of prior knowledge of Mathematics. To find out the level of knowledge required for first year Mathematics courses, see Assumed Knowledge.

How do I get further information about the Mathematics and Education plan?

School of Mathematics and Statistics
phone: (02) 9385 7111
fax: (02) 9385 7123
email: ug.MathsStats followed by @unsw.edu.au

Also see the UNSW School of Education.