Mathematics and Statistics
The skills that Mathematics and Statistics students develop are critical to work in growth areas such as data science, artificial intelligence or security.
Students who study Mathematics can study both pure maths and applied maths. Pure maths focuses on foundational concepts that lead to a more advanced study of maths as an abstract science, which helps us stretch the boundaries of knowledge. Disciplines within pure maths include geometry, trigonometry, algebra, calculus, set theory, group theory and metamathematics. Applied mathematics are those concepts used in other sciences and disciplines from engineering or computer science through to health, philosophy and our understandings of the universe.
Mathematics can be studied for its own sake and is also a key component of studies in Actuarial Science and Data Science. Mathematics and Statistics also provide a knowledge base for the study of subjects such as Physics, Geophysics, Chemistry, Economics (particularly Econometrics) and Finance and complement and support any other subject.
Statistics students also learn how to use mathematical skills to make meaningful insights from data. In studying Data Science, students learn about a combination of statistics and applied mathematics with computer programming and business concepts.
Actuarial Science combines mathematical and statistical methods with specialised business knowledge for the purpose of modelling and quantifying risk. Along with using mathematical models, students also develop a knowledge of financial theory, economics and commercial law.
Roles and career pathways
Maths and Statistics graduates can follow diverse pathways.
Data science and statistics
Studying either a Mathematics or Statistics major can lead to a role as a data analyst in government organisations, data companies or in organisations from management consultancies through to product and service providers. Studying a second major in another science or conjoint degree in Health Sciences or Economics can lead to roles in biometrics, health informatics or econometrics.
A postgraduate qualification in Maths or Statistics can lead to roles such as data scientist, policy analyst or economist in government or as management consultants in finance, insurance, social enterprise or business.
Meteorology and climate science
Mathematics graduates can work in meteorology (the study of weather and climate) as meteorologists. Undergraduate Maths students can apply for the Meteorologist training programme at MetService NZ. This includes an internship component and completing a sponsored Master of Meteorology.
A relevant postgraduate qualification can lead to research roles in areas such as climate or environmental science. Graduates in these areas have usually also studied Physics, Geophysics, Geology or Ecology and Biodiversity.
Mathematics graduates can also be found in IT roles often as back-end developers, focussing on security, structure or content management. Others may start out as test analysts or client support analysts, progressing into roles such as business analysts and implementation consultants. It can be useful to study subjects such as Computer Science or a second degree such as Commerce, with an Information Systems major.
Finance and insurance
Graduates with an Actuarial Science major may start as a graduate actuary or actuarial analyst, progressing to registered actuary after completing the requirements of the Actuaries Institute including an education programme and continuing professional development. Students can cover some of the Actuaries Institute exams with academic coursework.
Completing a postgraduate qualification in secondary teaching (limited entry) may lead to roles teaching Maths and Statistics. See Teaching and check with the Faculty of Education for entry requirements.
Where Mathematics and Statistics graduates work
Studying Mathematics or Statistics can lead to jobs in government organisations and research institutes, specialist social and economic research organisations, banks and investment companies, health research institutes, primary industries, manufacturing, IT, engineering, market research and management consulting. Recent Maths and Statistics graduates work in organisations such as:
Build relevant skills and experience
Part-time work and volunteering during study all increase job prospects. Several statistics and data science organisations offer internships, either informally or though established programmes.The Analytics and Research in Government internship programme places interns alongside data analysts in a range of government organisations and offers an opportunity to gain an insight into how data supports government policy and programmes.The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop leadership skills and provides practical workplace experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.
Make career connections
The School of Maths and Statistics holds activities throughout the year, including a Maths and Statistics Careers in Focus event with the opportunity to connect with alumni and employers. The New Zealand Statistical Association and New Zealand Mathematical Society host regular events and offer professional development opportunities. Both organisations offer student membership. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also enhances your connections and employability in a range of fields while studying.