Study Maths in Australia

Are you interested in pursuing mathematical studies in Australia?  There are some 35 departments offering undergraduate mathematics majors, and about 25 of these offer many choices for postgraduate research leading to a higher degree.   Most of the universities in Australia are located in suburbs within the states’ capital cities, but if city life is not to your liking you should look at some of the regional universities (such as the University of New England in northern New South Wales).

Study Maths in Australia
Undergraduate mathematics is normally studied within a generalist first degree such as a Bachelor of Science.   Some exceptions are: both the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong offer a dedicated Bachelor of Mathematics degree, the University of Technology in Sydney offers a Bachelor of Mathematics and Finance and the University of South Australia offers a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences degree.   Many universities offer double or “combined” degrees such as Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Commerce, etc.  Combined degrees are a popular choice with capable students, allowing their mathematical training to enhance their work in the other part of their double degree.

Nearly all university mathematics departments in Australia have a good range of undergraduate subjects encompassing pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics, so that a choice of a particular university may depend on your wish be near friends and relations, or even on preferred climate, as much as you might be influenced by the information you may find on the departmental websites.  Of course, some specialised undergraduate studies are restricted to a few locations.   For example, actuarial science is offered only in five universities across Australia: in Canberra at the Australian National University, in Western Australia at Curtin University, at the University of Melbourne and in Sydney at both Macquarie University and at the University of New South Wales.

Choice of a department for postgraduate study is generally governed by availability of research staff.  Nearly all of the departments offering higher degrees by thesis have some applied probability and statistics research staff and some applied mathematics and mathematical modelling research activity.  Similarly, there are many choices of location to undertake postgraduate work in computational mathematics, algebra, analysis, geometry, topology, differential equations and applied mathematics.

Risk Management has been a growth area in Australian mathematics departments in recent years, no doubt partly driven by concerns about possible terrorist activity but also embracing a growth in financial modelling.  For example, Edith Cowan University in Western Australia has an International Centre for Security and Risk Sciences; RMIT University in Melbourne offers a graduate Diploma in Information Assurance; and the University of Queensland has a Financial Mathematics Research Group.

For operations research and control theory you might to like look at Curtin University and the Universities of Adelaide, Melbourne and New South Wales, each of which have substantial research groups.  Others (such as the Universities of Tasmania and Western Australia) engage in some operations research activity.

Currently, the University of Sydney offers perhaps the widest selection of pure mathematics research areas.   But check out the others, particularly the Australian National University, and if you fancy Perth, the University of Western Australia for group theory and Murdoch University for graph theory.

For fluid mechanics and oceanography, you might first look at James Cook University in north Queensland.  (Being on the east coast near the Great Barrier Reef, the climate is great all year round.)   Monash University in Melbourne, the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales also have fluids/oceanography research groups, and the University of Western Australia also has a small group.  There are astronomy and astrophysics groups in the departments at the Australian National University in Canberra, at the University of Sydney and at Monash University.

The preceding paragraphs mention just a few of the mathematics and statistics research groups across Australia.   If your search of the departments’ websites is more persistent, you will discover others, such as the Teletraffic Research Centre at the University of Adelaide.   Some of the larger departments have ten or more research groups. 

More than a dozen of the universities in Australia have substantial statistical science research groups, some of which are very applications oriented, such as in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Murdoch University in Western Australia.  Stochastic modelling is popular in many universities, and if you have a particular interest, you should seek out particular researchers to contact.  Perhaps you already have an interest in a particular area of applied probability modelling?   For example, if it is epidemiology you might begin by looking at the Australian National University, but do search more widely.

There is no “typical” mathematician’s career.   A sizeable proportion of those who gain a higher degree in mathematics or statistics in Australia move interstate or overseas, and their stories are as varied as their origins.   The Murdoch University Department of Mathematics and Statistics website shows some graduate profiles in a section “Graduate Viewpoints”.   Also see, a website of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s “International Centre of Excellence for Education in Mathematics”.   This latter website has a section containing video-clip profiles.

Going anywhere overseas for some of your tertiary study (postgraduate in particular) is generally held to be a good thing, opening up different opportunities.   Australia has high-quality academic programs in mathematics and statistics, relatively low cost of living and for the most part moderate temperatures, but be warned that “down-under” folk are often a bit parochial and obsessive about sporting events!

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