Mathematics – Bachelor of Arts

Advance your analysis and problem-solving abilities within the flexible and critical framework of Massey’s Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics).

Where you can study

Auckland campus
Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand, or studying on-line outside New Zealand

Specialise in Mathematics for your Bachelor of Arts at Massey

A Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics) opens up a world of opportunities. From ranges from securing sensitive communications using cryptography, to calculating the geostationary orbit of a satellite. Maths is a product of human ingenuity that allows our modern world to exist. With a BA (Mathematics) you’ll learn appropriate analytic and numerical methods for problem-solving that can be applied in a range of contexts and industries.

Get the skills you’ll need

Your mathematics major will help you develop a wide variety of skills and techniques, especially in calculus and algebra. You’ll learn to formulate, solve, restate and resolve problems, and interpret results. You’ll also build your knowledge of computational and simulation techniques on computers. You’ll learn to communicate and explain concepts effectively with non-mathematical colleagues. This is a crucial skill, as many careers will take you into a team environment.

Learn from the leaders

Studying the BA (Mathematics) at Massey will give you access to some of the world’s top mathematical minds. Massey lecturers and postgraduate students are researching areas such as:

  • modelling of geothermal processes
  • molecular dynamics
  • epidemiology
  • cell growth
  • celestial mechanics
  • neuroscience
  • phylogenetics and evolutionary trees
  • optimal decompositions of information systems.

These projects show the generality, versatility and variety of problems offered to mathematically skilled scientists. Your BA (Mathematics) will help you build up the skills and techniques you’ll need to be part of projects like these.

A Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics is a good fit if you:

  • like to think through things logically and analytically
  • mathematics
  • seek new solutions to problems.

Planning information

If you study full time, in the first year you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school if you wish.  Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

About this major

A Mathematics major consists of 135 credits (nine courses).

All 100-level Mathematics courses presume that you have some experience in mathematics.

To enrol in 160102 Algebra you are expected to either:

  • have obtained at least 16 credits in NCEA Level 3 Mathematics with Calculus or its equivalent, or
  • have passed one of 160105 Methods of Mathematics, 160103 Introductory University Mathematics or 160132 Concepts in Mathematics.

If you enrol in 160101 Calculus you should have at least 16 externally assessed NCEA Level 3 credits in Mathematics.


Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics) with a minor

You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that qualification will apply.

A mathematics minor (for students who are studying a different degree) 

If you are not studying towards a BA (Mathematics) and wish to complete a minor in mathematics see the BA regulations for requirements.  

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Credit summary

360 credits

  • Core courses – 75 credits
  • Major courses – 135 credits
  • Electives from the BA Schedule – 30 credits
  • Other electives – 120 credits

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • At least 30 credits at 100 level
  • At least 45 credits at 200 level
  • At least 60 credits at 300 level

You could replace electives with a second BA major, or some electives with a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business, or the Bachelor of Science.

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Compulsory courses

Course code: 160101 Calculus 15 credits

A course focusing on the fundamental techniques and applications of calculus including differentiation and integration of functions of one real variable, differential equations, numerical methods, and an introduction to power series with applications to mathematical models. 160.101, alongside 160.102, forms a foundation for further study in mathematics. It is essential for students intending to study Mathematics, Physics, Food Technology or Engineering, or for anyone who wants a strong mathematical component to their degree.

Restrictions: 160112, 160133, 228172

View full course details
Course code: 160102 Algebra 15 credits

A course focusing on the fundamental techniques and applications of linear algebra including vector and matrix algebra, vector representation of lines and planes, projections, Gaussian elimination, eigenvectors and complex numbers. 160.102, alongside 160.101, forms a foundation for further study in mathematics. It is essential for students intending to study Mathematics, Physics, Food Technology or Engineering, or for anyone who wants a strong mathematical component to their degree.

Restrictions: 160112, 160133, 228172

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Course code: 160203 Multivariable Calculus 15 credits

The techniques of 100-level calculus are applied and extended in the study of infinite series, vector-valued functions and functions of two or more variables. Topics include convergence of power series, partial derivatives, double and triple integrals with applications to surface area and volumes, line and surface integrals.

Prerequisites: One of 160101, 160112, 160133 or 228172

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Course code: 160204 Differential Equations I 15 credits

An intermediate level course in the analytical and numerical study of ordinary differential equations, with an emphasis on their applications to the real world. Exact solution methods for ordinary differential equations. Systems of differential equations, matrix methods, phase plane techniques. Applications of differential equations. Numerical methods for differential equations.

Prerequisites: 160101 or 160112 or 160133 or 228172

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Course code: 160212 Discrete Mathematics 15 credits

Sets, logic, mathematical induction, functions and equivalence relations. Partial orderings, algebraic structures and morphisms. Error correcting codes and public key cryptography. Graph theory.

Prerequisites: One of (160101, 160102, 160103, 160105, 160111, 160112, 160132, 160133, 228171 or 228172) and one of (159101, 159171 or 230112)

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Subject courses

Course code: 160301 Real and Complex Analysis 15 credits

Real analysis: inequalities, the continuum property, induction, sequences, functions and limits, continuity, contraction mappings and fixed points, differentiation, mean value theorems and Taylor's theorem. Complex analysis: geometry in the complex plane, limits and continuity, holomorphic functions, line integrals, Cauchy's theorem and some elementary consequences, singularities and Laurent's theorem, the calculus of residues and some applications.

Prerequisites: 160203

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Course code: 160302 Modern Algebra 15 credits

Group theory - basic properties, permutation groups, finite Abelian groups, cosets, normal subgroups, homomorphism theorems, representation. Ring theory - integral domains and fields, ideals, homomorphism theorems, factorisation, extension fields.

Prerequisites: 160211 or 160212

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Course code: 160314 Combinatorics 15 credits

Permutations and combinations, binomial coefficients, the inclusion-exclusion principle, generating functions, recurrence relations, Polya’s theorem, topics in graph theory.

Prerequisites: 160212

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Course code: 160318 Differential Equations II 15 credits

An advanced course in the analytical and numerical study of ordinary and partial differential equations, building on techniques developed in Differential Equations I. Ordinary differential equations: power series and Frobenius series solutions, special functions, Fourier series, Sturm-Liouville problems, qualitative analysis of nonlinear systems. Partial differential equations: classification of second-order equations, separation of variables, Fourier transforms, explicit and implicit numerical schemes.

Prerequisites: 160204

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for Massey’s BA (Mathematics), outside of university admission regulations.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your qualification, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics) you’ll have the analytical and problem-solving skills that employers are looking for. This could lead to a number of career options in areas including:

  • finance and banking
  • market research and big data
  • public and private consultancies
  • government departments
  • research and development agencies
  • manufacturing
  • teaching.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

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