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Dr Rua Murray, Mathematics lecturer

Dr Rua Murray, Associate Professor in Mathematics and Statistics, was recognised as one of New Zealand’s top tertiary teachers in 2013, receiving an Ako Aotearoa national tertiary teaching excellence award. His research interests lie in pure and applied mathematics, with a focus on the behaviour of complex systems. He has taught thousands of students from foundation to graduate level over the last 18 years.


To fully appreciate mathematics you must transcend beyond bare formulae to understand the ideas that lie behind them. Mathematical thought is one of the greatest human achievements and has been around for over 4,000 years.

Mathematics is a living subject with new processes, techniques and theories constantly being devised, tested and explored. The extensive use of computers in a wide range of academic areas has led to an increasing demand for statistical and mathematical analysis in many new fields.

Modern mathematicians and statisticians are being asked to develop new tools and techniques to deal with problems in areas from business management to biology. New insights are also being opened up in the more traditional areas of physical science and engineering. All this activity leads to new applications of mathematics and statistics, as well as new theoretical work on the structure of the mathematics involved.

Mathematics provides skills in independent thinking and problem solving, which are of use in many fields of employment and in Science, Engineering, and Commerce.

Why study Mathematics at UC?

  • UC is known internationally for its involvement in Mathematics and Statistics education. Several members of staff have awards for their work in this area.
  • Every year the School of Mathematics and Statistics welcomes visiting scholars on the Erskine Fellowship Programme. Students benefit greatly from their teaching and the alternative perspectives they offer.
  • The School is active in supporting and promoting undergraduate research through summer projects and honours dissertations, with some of our recent budding scholars heading to Oxford, Harvard and Yale for postgraduate work.
  • UC also has a thriving culture that encourages meeting up with like-minded students through clubs, including MATHSOC.

Entry into most 100-level Mathematics courses is open to all students with entry to the University. The School of Mathematics and Statistics offers a choice of courses designed to cater for students with a range of backgrounds and interests. Detailed entry recommendations are available on the School's website.

Students who have performed very well in NCEA Level 3 statistics and/or calculus (or IB/Cambridge equivalent) may be eligible for direct entry into a 200-level Mathematics course.

UC also offers Headstart summer preparatory courses in January/February for students who have not studied mathematics or statistics for some time or who lack confidence in their skills.


See all Mathematics courses

100-level courses

Core courses

The core of the 100-level programme consists of linear algebra and calculus:

Together, these courses will let you into almost any 200-level Mathematics course and are necessary for those wishing to major in Mathematics.

MATH102 is also required or recommended for people intending to major in any of several subjects, including EconomicsStatistics and Physics. Anyone planning to study Engineering will require the Engineering Mathematics courses EMTH118 Engineering Mathematics 1A and EMTH119 Engineering Mathematics 1B.

* Note: Students who have not passed a substantial amount of Year 13 mathematics, or its equivalent, are strongly advised to enrol in MATH101 Methods of Mathematics before advancing to MATH102.

Other first-year courses

200-level and beyond

UC offers a wide variety of courses at 200 and 300-level. These include courses in discrete mathematics, linear algebra, calculus, differential equations, mathematical modelling and statistics. If you are majoring in Mathematics, you need 45 points from selected MATH 200-level courses and at least 60 points from MATH 302–394. If you are unsure which courses best suit your needs, contact a student advisor.

It is good to include other subjects at 200-level. Popular choices include ChemistryComputer ScienceEconomicsManagement, Physics, and Statistics.

Further study

Higher level study can be in Mathematics, Statistics, Mathematics and Statistics, Computational and Applied Mathematical Sciences, Economics and Mathematics, Finance and Mathematics, Finance and Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy, and Mathematical Physics.

Career opportunities

Perhaps the most important quality that a Mathematics graduate develops is the ability to reason logically and in-depth. Vocational courses provide expertise with an immediate usefulness, but technological change is rapid and what is learnt one year may be superseded within a decade. On the other hand, the habits of thought promoted by a study of Mathematics are of permanent value.

Many Mathematics graduates move into teaching and significant numbers are absorbed by computing, finance, commerce, insurance and scientific establishments, such as the Crown Research Institutes.

Employment opportunities are particularly good for people who combine qualifications in Mathematics with qualifications in other disciplines such as the Physical Sciences, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, Management and Economics.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Mathematics.

More information

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Phone +64 3 364 2600

Erskine Building - see School website for up-to-date location details

Postal address
University of Canterbury
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand
Tom Logan

Tom Logan

'Many of UC’s courses are very relevant to operations research and are world class...'

Simon todd

Simon Todd

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