MATHEMATICSMathematics is one of the most enduring fields of study, and is essential in an expanding number of disciplines and professions. Many mathematicians continue to develop new mathematics for its own sake. Today, however, mathematicians also combine their knowledge of mathematics and statistics with modelling and computational skills and use the latest computer technology to solve problems in the physical and biological sciences, engineering, information technology, economics, and business.
This major is administered by the School of Mathematics and Physics. For further information please contact the Science Faculty.


What will I study?UQ offers a wide range of courses in mathematics and its applications. In their first year, students study essential topics in calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. In later years students select from more specialised courses. These emphasise new ideas in mathematics, and include recent applications in coding and cryptology, mathematical physics, mathematical biology, bioinformatics, and finance.
Pure Mathematics (Algebra & Discrete Mathematics) Algebra studies abstract mathematical structures beginning with vector spaces, groups, and rings. It leads on to the study of number theory and to applications in mathematical physics, coding, and cryptology. Discrete mathematics studies the ways objects can be rearranged and linked together, and includes combinatorics and graph theory. These subjects are basic to many of the large problems arising in information technology and bioinformatics. The department has a particularly strong research program in combinatorics, covering a wide variety of subdisciplines including algebraic combinatorics, bioinformatics, combinatorial group theory, design theory, and graph theory. Mathematical analysis is the area of mathematics that most appeals to people who like calculus. It provides a rigorous foundation for differentiation and integration, and its ideas are basic in the understanding of many fields of contemporary mathematics, including differential equations, probability theory, stochastic processes, and control theory. Current research in this area includes nonlinear differential equations arising from physical and biological models, dynamical systems, control theory and economics, stochastic processes, and applications to financial mathematics and biology. Applied mathematicians use mathematics to understand the world around us. The applied mathematics courses develop the mathematical methods that have proved particularly useful, and apply these methods to physical and biological systems. The department has significant research strengths in material science and mathematical ecology. Today, advanced mathematical models are used routinely in finance. Mathematics is used to monitor and direct the investments of superannuation funds and investment managers. Partial differential equations are used to price options. The new Basel 2 accord on international bank regulation requires sophisticated modeling of a bank’s overall risk. The core courses in financial mathematics provide a background in finance and an introduction to the basic techniques of stochastic processes, statistics, and computational methods. These can be combined with further courses in finance, statistics, or computational mathematics. The mathematics department hosts an interdisciplinary group of statisticians, mathematical analysts, and computational mathematicians interested in financial mathematics and its application in the energy markets. Many breakthroughs in the development of physical theories, particularly in the realm of quantum physics, have been underpinned by the application of novel mathematical techniques. Research in mathematical physics at UQ covers a broad spectrum from areas of pure mathematics (Lie and quantum algebras, supersymmetry, low dimensional topology) through to applications in areas such as BoseEinstein condensates, superconductivity, and condensed matter systems.


Study PlansMathematics is available as a Single Major or an Extended Major. For the Single Major you are required to complete #14 (#6 at Level 2 and #8 at Level 3) and for the Extended Major you are required to complete #22 (#10 at Level 2 and #12 at Level 3) from the Mathematics course list. The following are suggested study plans for this major and should be used as a guide to planning your program.
Please refer to the course list below to ensure you complete the major requirements. How do I use the Study Plans?
What do the different columns mean?
Mathematics (Single Major)  Pure (Algebra and Discrete Mathematics)You can find details about the first year of the program here.
Mathematics (Single Major)  Pure (Analysis)You can find details about the first year of the program here.
Mathematics (Single Major)  Applied MathematicsYou can find details about the first year of the program here.
Mathematics (Single Major)  Mathematical PhysicsYou can find details about the first year of the program here.
Mathematics (Single Major)  Financial MathematicsYou can find details about the first year of the program here.
1. These courses are not listed in Part B of the BSc list. It cannot count towards the #12 of Late Year courses required for Part B. Mathematics (Extended Major)You can find details about the first year of the program here.


Major ConvenorDr Tony RobertsWhat I do I apply mathematical methods to predict or optimize the properties of complex materials using models of their microstructure. I have studied numerous materials including foams, ceramics and gasbarrier films, which involve the development of suitable statistical structural models. Recently I have used mathematical techniques to design optimal bone implants, and predict the diffusive and electrical properties of fractal networks. The two areas of mathematics that I use most frequently are partial differential equations and probability theory. What I teach I teach a number of courses which develop mathematical and computational techniques to solve physical, engineering and biological problems. This includes second year courses on calculus and linear algebra as well as specialized advanced courses on partial differential equations and asymptotic analysis. Partial differential equations are the one of the most important concepts in applied mathematics, describing, for example, heat and mass transfer, motions of electrons, deformation of solids, flow in liquids, and prices of options on the stockmarket.


CareersMathematics graduates are respected for their excellent quantitative skills and problem solving abilities. They win a wide range of rewarding positions in the public and private sectors. The latest figures from the Graduate Careers Australia (www.graduatecareers.com.au) show 87 per cent of young (<25) mathematics graduates had found jobs by the April following their graduation or were undertaking further study. These figures compare well with those for the related professional degrees of engineering (91 per cent), accounting (86 per cent), and computer science (78 per cent). People who are enthusiastic about doing mathematics can confidently look forward to a rewarding career. Students with a strong interest and ability in mathematics should consider doing an honours degree. This is an extra year of advanced courses and work on an individual research project. This gives students experience in reading the mathematics research literature and applying recent results and methods to solve problems. An honours degree is the usual path for students who wish to continue doing research and go on to a do a PhD Mathematics graduates use their quantitative problem solving skills to successfully compete with graduates in other disciplines for a range of jobs in the private and public sector. The areas of mathematics that are most often used in industry in Australia are operations research, statistics, and financial mathematics. Mathematicians are also employed in research organisations such as the CSIRO, DSTO and the Bureau of Meteorology, universities and in industry. Mathematicians at The University of Queensland have established a careers web site for the Australian Mathematical society (www.austms.org.au/Careers). This now gives listings of current job advertisements for mathematics graduates throughout Australia, and gives examples of the diverse career paths of many past mathematics graduates.
