Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Undergraduate major in Applied Mathematics

Subject description

Modern science relies absolutely on applied mathematics. It is the job of an applied mathematician to show how mathematical techniques can be applied to science and technology to answer interesting questions. Our goal is to use mathematical equations to study real-world problems rather than to study equations for their own sake.

The Department of Mathematics uses mathematics to study such diverse areas as physiology, ice flow, floating runways, astronomy, quantum chemistry, nonlinear systems, the human genome and many other areas. Elements of these research areas are incorporated into our courses wherever possible.

Each of the courses in the Applied Mathematics programme deals with some aspect of the "Mathematical Models" that are used for describing problems from a variety of areas within Science and Technology. The core skills taught in these courses are:

  • How to build mathematical models.
  • The mathematical ideas most useful for modeling
  • Solution of models, often by computation.

Studying Applied Mathematics from 2019*

From 2019 we'll be offering Applied Mathematics as a pathway within the Mathematics major. This means that you'll study a Bachelor of Science majoring in Mathematics, and you can choose to take a group of courses with a focus on Applied Mathematics.

Pathway: a group of courses within a major that is focused on a particular area of study.

*subject to approval

FoS infographic - Mathematics is ranked in the top 100 worldwide (QS World University Rankings by subject 2016)


Bachelor of Science (BSc) – Studying a Mathematics major from 2019*

Your BSc programme will consist of a number of courses worth 15 points each, totalling 360 points. For your general Mathematics major you must complete the following courses plus the Mathematics capstone course, MATHS 399.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) Mathematics – Applied Mathematics pathway from 2019*

*subject to approval


Bachelor of Science (BSc) – Applied Mathematics major

Single or first major must include:

Second major must include:


Stage I courses

Stage I courses are designed to provide you with a range of concepts, theoretical results and analytical, computational and modelling skills that may be applied in a wide variety of areas - in biological, information and physical sciences, economics, engineering and finance for example, as well as other branches of mathematical science. Stage II and III courses build on these, covering more advanced topics, with the aim of helping you to acquire a broader base of skills and a deeper understanding of the concepts involved.

There are several Stage I courses available, entry to which is guided by your preparation, ability and goals.

Functioning in Mathematics (MATHS 102) is for students with little mathematical experience.

General Mathematics I (MATHS 108) is intended for students with broad interests and majors other than Mathematics.

Students who intend to major in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics should take MATHS 150 and MATHS 162 to ensure the greatest range of options at later stages.


Plan your degree with our Applied Mathematics planner.


Career opportunities

With a good degree in quantitative methods (mathematics, statistics, operations research and computing), career opportunities may include industry or government, computer development, insurance, meteorology, traffic engineering, systems analysis, computing programming, statistics, biometrics or operations research, and many other fields.

There is also currently a strong demand for mathematics teachers. You should aim for a balanced mathematics programme and bear in mind that versatility may be of more value to an employer than deep knowledge of one or two specialised topics.

Recent University of Auckland graduates work as/in:

  • Actuaries or actuarial associates
  • NIWA scientists
  • AgResearch
  • Investment Banks
  • Financial, Business and Risk Analysts
  • National Institute of Health, USA
  • Biotech companies
  • Academic careers

A useful introduction to career opportunities in Applied Mathematics can be found on the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics website.


Help and advice

For further information, refer to the Applied Mathematics undergraduate handbook.

Alternatively, staff at the Department of Mathematics can help you with general enquiries and refer you on to the relevant academic advisors.

Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85886
Email: ugadvice@math.auckland.ac.nz
Web: www.math.auckland.ac.nz

Undergraduate Advisers Mathematics

Padraic Bartlett
Level 4, Building 303, 38 Princes Street
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 82448; direct dial +64 9 923 2448
Email: ugadvice@math.auckland.ac.nz

Tanya Evans
Level 4, Building 303, 38 Princes Street
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88783; direct dial +64 9 923 8783
Email: ugadvice@math.auckland.ac.nz


Student profile


Evelingi Tupou is studying for a Bachelor of Science (Applied Mathematics and Statistics)

“Mathematics was always my favourite subject at school and I knew studying it at university would be challenging and provide a sense of achievement.

“I enjoy the huge variety Science offers and the way subjects intertwine – yet I can still specialise. The lecturers are all approachable and there is an overwhelming amount of help offered, including one-on-one tutoring. I’ve also enjoyed meeting new people – many of whom challenge and motivate me. There are so many clubs and activities to join in and I’ve been a part of the UniGuide and Ambassadors programmes.

“Recently I did a project where I worked on how mathematics was applied in computer graphics. I saw how matrices were used to draw and manipulate objects.

“I hope to continue my studies until at least masters, and then work in the financial sector in finance and banking, or the actuarial profession.