Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2014 Contents 176 GOOD UNIVERSITIES GUIDE
What majors can I study?
The following are just some of the majors you can study in this
What you’re in for
If you are considering studying mathematics at university you’ve
probably studied it throughout school and are reasonably
proficient. You may also know of its main subdivisions: pure
mathematics (subjects like differential and integral calculus,
mathematical logic and linear programming, as well as areas like
environmental or financial mathematics); applied mathematics
(such as vector calculus, dynamics and probability); and statistics
and operations research (including sampling theory,
nonparametric statistical inference and stochastic processes).
See www.mathscareers.org.au for more information about
careers in mathematics and statistics.
If you are interested in mathematics, you should also
consider some of the specialisations within accounting, business
and management, computing and information technology,
economics, education and training, and engineering and
technology, which might make life easier when the time comes to
find a job.
Courses and specialisations
Mathematics courses are more readily available than you might
expect considering it is such a specialised field. Student numbers
are quite small though, despite countless reports suggesting that
mathematics teachers are in dire shortage and that there are few
mathematics practitioners (statisticians and mathematical
scientists, for instance) to undertake future research and
technology efforts. Of course, if you are contemplating university-
level mathematics you might also be interested in this subject in
its own right, not as a means to an occupational end.
Where to study
If you think you might want to go on to do postgraduate research,
it is an advantage to do your first degree at one of the universities
with an established research track record. Courses at the newer
universities are usually at the more ‘applied’ end of the spectrum.
While cut-offs vary, entry is not all that easy in this field
overall, and you can expect to find mathematics as a prerequisite.
To compare entry difficulty and the cost of Commonwealth
Supported Places (CSPs) at different institutions, see ‘What’s on
offer and who’s there’. Note that while public universities only
offer CSPs, private higher education providers may offer full-fee
places in this field.
There is currently a serious shortage of secondary mathematics
teachers in Australia and a decline in tertiary students completing
degrees in these areas. A number of programs have been
introduced to address the problem. Mentoring programs such as
the federal government’s Mathematicians in Schools aim to
engage students at a young age to encourage them to consider a
career in mathematics. The program pairs scientists with
teachers and students to provide students with a fresh, applied
approach to maths education. University programs, such as the
University of Sydney’s Institute for Innovation in Science and
Mathematics Education (IISME), also promote new ways to learn
mathematics. Other initiatives include the New South Wales
Government’s teaching scholarships, which provide students with
a $23,000 financial incentive to train as a maths teacher.
To find out which higher education providers have courses with these
specialisations, use the Index on page 562.
What’s on offer and who’s there
over 25 yrs
For an explanation of abbreviations, see page 587
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