Information about Studying Pure Mathematics

Are you interested in honing your logical and analytical skills while learning about the latest developments in new mathematics?

Then study Pure Mathematics at UNSW.

How to study Pure Mathematics at UNSW

Major in Mathematics within the Science or Advanced Science Degree Programs or choose the Pure Mathematics study plan in the Advanced Mathematics Degree Program.

Administered by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, these Mathematics degrees are for people who will require a thorough understanding of Mathematics in their careers, and who need to gain an insight into the essence of mathematical thought.

The Science Degree Program is a three-year program with an opportunity for students with excellent results to enrol in the BSc Honours Program (an additional year) and obtain an Honours degree. The Advanced Mathematics and Advanced Science Degree Programs are four-year programs where the final Honours year is compulsory.

What kind of jobs can I obtain when I graduate?

Mathematicians are trained to think logically and to approach problems in analytical and creative ways. They have a grasp both of conceptual ways of thinking and of specific techniques which can be applied to solve a variety of quantitative problems. 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. You will be sought-after in areas as diverse as finance, banking, insurance and investment, environmental modelling, oceanography, meteorology, computing, information technology, government, education or research.

The majority of our honours graduates are working in the finance industry, where advanced mathematical techniques such as the Black-Scholes formula for option pricing have become crucial. Many other areas also use the mathematics which you will learn in a Pure Mathematics study plan: for example, did you know that mathematicians are employed to develop image reconstruction technology? This technology is used in medical imaging and mineral exploration to allow us to explore the structure of hidden objects. Please see Careers for more information.

Studying Pure Mathematics enables you to master a broad range of mathematical techniques that will lead to a mastery of the fundamental processes of mathematical science and the capacity for innovative applications in any area.

You might also like to look at the Pure Mathematics web page.

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, such as calculus, linear algebra and discrete mathematics. You may choose your elective courses from several other Schools so that you can follow or cultivate other interests.

In later years you have the opportunity to sharpen your mathematical skills in a particular area, with specialist courses in analysis, algebra, geometry, topology, mathematical physics and mathematical computing. We also offer a program which allows prospective high school teachers to gain the background necessary to teach mathematics to HSC Extension 2 level.

To find out the formal requirements (in terms of courses that you have to study), see Mathematics and Statistics Majors in Science for the Mathematics Major in the Science degree program and Mathematics and Statistics Plans in Advanced Mathematics and Advanced Science for the Pure Mathematics plan in the Advanced Mathematics program and the Maths plan in Advanced Science.

For more details of individual courses, see Mathematics and Statistics courses.

Mathematics and Statistics 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 generally required if you are enrolled in the Advanced Mathematics or Advanced Science programs, and may be necessary for certain courses in later years.

In the final year of the Advanced Mathematics or Advanced Science program, or if you do the Honours Science program (an extra year), you will do some advanced 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. This will prepare you to do a PhD in Australia or overseas, or will give you the chance to hone your research, writing and communication skills in preparation for a high level job in industry or government. You could even discover something new, which happens more often than you might think!

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 Pure Mathematics study plan within the Advanced Mathematics Degree is listed under UAC code 429300 (BSc (Adv Maths) (Hons)).
  • The Mathematics major within the Advanced Science Degree is listed under UAC code 429350 (B Adv Science (Hons)).
  • The Mathematics major within the Science Degree is listed under UAC code 429000 (BSc - Science).

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.

To remain within the Advanced Mathematics Program, you are required to maintain an average of 70 in each year.

Which program should I choose?

It is harder to be accepted into the Advanced Mathematics or Advanced Science Program, but this is highly recommended where possible. Why not achieve your highest potential while at university? It may be possible to transfer to the Science Program further into your studies. On the other hand, transfering from the Science Program to the Advanced Mathematics or Advanced Science Program requires you to re-apply for admission.

How do I get further information about studying Pure Mathematics?

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