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Mathematics course advice

23 November 2023

Choosing the right courses for you can significantly impact your academic journey and future career prospects. This content should help you make informed decisions about the mathematics, statistics, or data science courses you select. If you need more guidance feel free to get some mathematics course advice.


Choosing the right courses can significantly impact your academic journey and future career prospects. That’s why we have a dedicated webpage to help guide you in making informed decisions about your mathematics, statistics, or data science course selections.

When choosing a course, it’s important to think about which subjects interest you, the type of qualification you want and which style of studying best suits you. The subject is what you will study, e.g. mathematics, whilst the course is the area of that subject you’d like to study, e.g., MATH240 – Analysis and Groups or MATH353 – Computational Mathematics and Applications. There are a wide range of subjects and courses available which can help you reach your new career. 

Below is some advice that may help you as you choose your courses:

  • Look carefully at the difference between courses within your subject before deciding which to apply for; look beyond the course title because courses with similar titles can have vastly different content. 
  • Be aware of the entry requirements of courses, which may vary. 
  • Think about the style of learning that will best suit you – full-time, part-time, or flexible learning routes like distance learning courses 
  • If there is a subject that you particularly enjoy, but you want to follow a career in a different area, you may want to consider doing a ‘conjoint degree’ (is this the right term?) 
  • Don’t just choose a course because your friends are taking it or because you think it’s the right thing to do. 

Course selection

First year Mathematics courses explained

Core Mathematics courses

The core of the 100-level (first-year) programme consists of linear algebra and calculus, contained in the two courses MATH102 and MATH103. MATH102 is required for students majoring in mathematics, statistics, data science, physics, astronomy, financial engineering and computer science, and strongly recommended for students intending to major in economics and finance (required if majoring in finance under a BSc).

MATH103 follows on from MATH102 and has MATH102 as a prerequisite. Anyone wanting to do a significant amount of Mathematics in their degree should take both MATH102 and MATH103. This includes students aiming to major in subjects like mathematics, astronomy, physics or statistics.

Other first-year courses

MATH101 is designed for students who have some mathematics background but do not meet the prerequisites for MATH102. It is also helpful as a refresher for students who have not studied mathematics for some time. MATH101 aims to raise the technical and understanding levels of students who lack confidence in their mathematical skills. It can be taken as a stand-alone course or as preparation for MATH102 or EMTH118.

MATH120 is designed as an additional course for students who are interested in the structure and logic of mathematics. It is required for students studying computer science and strongly recommended for students majoring in mathematics.

First year Statistics courses explained

Many students need statistics to support their studies in other subject areas, such as computer science, economics, finance, forestry, the life sciences, management, the physical sciences and the social sciences. Others will wish to do a substantial amount of statistics in their undergraduate programme.

STAT101 is our first-year course in statistics. It will give you a sound basic knowledge of the subject and a good grounding in how statistics is applied to tackle genuine problems. You can enter our 200-level statistics courses from STAT101.

Engineering Mathematics

The School also offers a range of 100-level Engineering Mathematics (EMTH) courses. These are intended for students pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering and are a prerequisite for enrolling in a professional Engineering programme. Contact the Faculty of Engineering for course advice for your 1st and 2nd year.

Direct entry

Students who have achieved very highly in NCEA Level 3 mathematics with calculus (for example, gaining a scholarship) or at the Cambridge A-level examinations should consider direct entry into MATH103 (or EMTH119 for Engineering intermediate year students) or 200-level mathematics and statistics courses. For more information on these options, please contact the 100-level Mathematics Course Advisor.

Students who have been credited with the STAR course MATH199 are eligible for direct entry into 200-level mathematics courses, and should typically take a mixture of 100-level and 200-level courses in their first year at university.

Need further advice?

Finally, if you feel you need further advice on which are the best courses for you, we are always happy to help out. Please call into reception on Level 4 of the Jack Erskine building, or email, and you will be directed to a staff member who can advise you.

Students who have Year 13 mathematics with calculus (or an equivalent qualification) would normally begin with MATH102. Students who do not have the prerequisites for MATH102 should take MATH101: Methods of Mathematics. See the recommended background for this course below.

MATH101 (Semester 1, Semester 2)

This course is aimed at students who do not reach the criteria for MATH102 or EMTH118. It is a course that may be taken to support other subjects areas or as a preparation for MATH102 or EMTH118. Students should have the equivalent of at least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics, including the algebra and calculus external standards.

Students who take MATH101 in Semester 1 can  then take MATH102 in Semester 2 followed by MATH103 in Semester 1 the following year.  Engineering intermediate students can take EMTH118 in Semester 2 followed by EMTH119 in the summer semester (or a two-year intermediate pathway). 

Am I ready?

You may want to consider enrolling in a preparatory mathematics course. See the Transition Programmes webpage for further information or contact Transition Programmes.

 (Semester 1, Semester 2)


  • MATH101; or
  • 14 credits of Level 3 NCEA Mathematics (no distinction between Calculus and Statistics and Modelling); or
  • Cambridge: D at A level or an A at AS level in Mathematics; or
  • IB: 4 at HL or 6 at SL in Mathematics; or
  • Approval of the Head of School based on alternative prior learning.

Am I ready?

 (Semester 1, Semester 2)

Prerequisite: MATH102

MATH120 (Semester 2)

  • MATH101 or MATH102 or EMTH118 or COSC121 or STAT101, or
  • NCEA 14 Credits (18 strongly recommended) at level 3 Mathematics, or
  • Cambridge: D at A level or an A at AS level in Mathematics, or
  • IB: 4 at HL or 6 at SL in Mathematics, or
  • Approval of the Head of School based on alternative prior learning.

 (Semester 1, Semester 2)

There are no entrance criteria for STAT101, but any of the following NCEA Level 3 Achievement Standards would be useful preparation for the course:

  • 3.9 "Investigate bivariate data",
  • 3.10 "Use statistical methods to make a formal inference",
  • 3.13 "Apply probability concepts in solving problems" and
  • 3.14 "Apply probability distributions in solving problems".

If your background in Statistics is weak, you may want to consider enrolling in a preparatory statistics course. See the Transition Programmes webpage for further information or contact Transition Programmes.

We offer a wide variety of courses in mathematics and statistics at 200-level and 300-level.

The mathematics course range from abstract pure mathematics through to computer-oriented applied courses. If you are unsure which ones best suit your needs, contact one of the course advisers or the lecturer in charge of the course you are thinking of taking.

Second year

You will need at least 60 points at the 200-level. The courses MATH201MATH202 and MATH203, are excellent choices for anyone majoring in mathematics or statistics. For a degree in statistics, STAT213 is highly recommended. Choose from our other second year courses according to what you are most interested in. In the three main areas, consider:



At this level, you may wish to leave your options open regarding your preferred subject and take courses in two subjects. Common combinations are mathematics and physics, mathematics and statistics, mathematics and computer science, mathematics and economics, mathematics and chemistry, but other combinations are possible. No matter in which subject you want to graduate, you should seriously consider taking one of these programmes if you enjoy mathematics.

Third year

You now become more specialised because you are normally concentrating on one subject. Typically you take 60-points of 300-level mathematics or statistics. For an honours degree, a further 30 points of 300-level mathematics or statistics is required.


Those interested in pure mathematics are encouraged to take MATH321MATH343, and MATH365.

Those interested in applied mathematics are encouraged to take MATH302MATH303MATH353 and MATH363.

Many other pathways are possible. You should contact our course coordinators or course planner advisors if you have question.


You should normally take five or six courses from 300-level Statistics depending on your interests. Papers from Mathematics and/or other schools/departments can be substituted and will increase your options in your fourth year.

Course Planning Advisors

Our course advisors can help you select the courses that best suit your needs.

100-level Mathematics & Engineering Mathematics
100-level Data Science & Statistics
200 and 300-level Mathematics
200-level Engineering Mathematics
200 and 300-level Statistics & Data Science
400-level (Honours)
Postgraduate Mathematics & Statistics
Postgraduate Data Science
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