Department of Mathematics

Department of Mathematics

About the Department

Our goal is a balanced program of pure and applied mathematics, covering the three major aspects of modern mathematics – analysis, modelling and computation. Our department is active in research, focusing on our strengths in:

  • Analysis 
  • Category Theory
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Waves and Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Optimisation

We offer one PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) unit in Mathematics, and students can select from one of two Planet units in Mathematics available for students outside of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. More information on these units can be found in the Macquarie Course Handbook.

Vacation scholarships are also available during the summer holidays and are typically awarded for five weeks in January and February. Check back here regularly for announcements of topics for the 2017/2018 vacation scholarships.

Information for undergraduate students

Frequently Asked Questions


Is attending lectures compulsory?

Lectures are very important in supporting your learning in Mathematics. They are your first point of contact with the new mathematics that you will learn at University. A lecture is structured in such a way to allow the lecturer to present and explain the material in the course, supplementing the explanations with solved examples. Not all lecturers have the same style, but all of them are there to explain the material to you in an accessible and engaging way.

How do I get the best out of lectures?

For the majority of the Department’s first year units, notes will be provided to you well before the lecture. You should have a copy of these, either hard or soft, with you during the lecture. The lecturer will spend time expanding on these notes, and often working through some specific examples. In many of our later year units, notes are not provided and you should make sure you take detailed notes during the lecture. If you miss a lecture it is always good to ask to see a friend’s notes so that you can fill in any material you may have missed.

What if I am working and cannot make it to a lecture?

Be sure you watch the ECHO recording as soon after the lecture is delivered as possible. If you get behind with the lecture material and out of sync with the tutorials, then catching up becomes difficult.

I need to work at a paid job so how many units should I be enrolled in so I can still succeed at University?

On average we'd expect you to spend around 48 hours per week on your studies during teaching periods for a full-time load (i.e. 4 units in each semester). This includes formal contact hours (attending lectures and tutorials), time spent studying, doing assignments, preparing for class tests and doing homework. You should factor this in when thinking about part-time work.


Must I attend tutorials?

            Yes, tutorials are compulsory. They are also where you will have the opportunity to delve into some of the subject material presented in lectures, work through problems and get additional support from your tutor. Tutorials are also where you will get more practice in setting out structured mathematical arguments.

What if I cannot attend my registered tutorial?

             If it is a one-off you should ask permission of the tutor whether you can sit in their class. You may not change your registered tutorial permanently unless you have a clash with other classes. Remember that any homework exercises that you are required to hand-in must be handed in to your normal tutor.

            How do I change my tutorials?

            You should first email the Department of Mathematics, to get approval and then, once you have approval change your class in eStudent. This will ensure your changes are recorded and reflected next time you generate an assessment coversheet, thus allowing your work to be returned to the class you are attending.

Can I attend a second tutorial?

No, you must attend the tutorial you are enrolled in.

Echo Recordings

Can I learn everything from the ECHO recordings?

            No, but ECHO is a useful secondary source of learning.  

What is the best learning technique with ECHO?

Treat the recording as though you are in the lecture by taking notes and ensuring you are clear on all the material presented by the lecturer. Rewind the recording whenever it is necessary to clarify something you may not have understood first time through.


What is the best way to study Maths?

            There is no best way to study mathematics. However, we’ve put together some helpful hints in our “How to Succeed in Maths ” document, that will help you in your mathematics study at University.

How many hours of study should I do each week for Maths?

            We suggest at least 12 hours/week for your Maths unit including lectures & tutorials.

Where do I find solutions to past exam papers?          

            The Department does not provide solutions to past exam papers.

Learning Support

Where can I go to get help with my Maths 

It is very important when learning mathematics that you think about the problem first before seeking help, you might even answer your own question. If this doesn’t work then there are many places where you can get help. You can approach your lecturer (they will have an office hour when you can drop in). You can ask questions, and get help with specific problems, during your tutorial. If you need more help, then the University’s Numeracy Centre runs as a drop-in centre, where you can ask questions.

Who do I contact if I have health or life problems that are affecting my study?

You should contact Campus Wellbeing (Ph: 9850 7497) or go to Level 2, 16 Wally’s Walk (above the Cashier’s office).  You can view their website for all the services they offer.

Where do I go if I need help with issues of time management, learning strategies, motivation or engagement with my Maths work?

The Mathematics Department has a Student Support Officer, Mr Garry Lawson. You can contact him on 9850 4175 or via email ( His office is room 606, 12 Wally’s Walk.

What if I have a medical problem that prevents me submitting an assignment or miss a test (Disruption to Studies)?

Click here for details and links.

What date must I withdraw from a unit by, in order to avoid penalties?

Withdrawing before Census Day (end of Week 4) means you avoid academic and financial penalties. Thereafter you will avoid academic penalty only if you withdraw by 28th of the following month.


Must I download a coversheet for all my assessments?

Yes, all assessment tasks in the Department must be accompanied by a cover sheet. The coversheet contains a unique barcode which we use for recording your mark, and also allows us to return your work to you during your tutorial. Also, by generating a coversheet you are agreeing that you have read and understand the University’s policy on plagiarism. Assessment tasks not accompanied by a coversheet will not be marked.

Where do I submit my assignments?

Check in iLearn for details of whether you submit electronically or hardcopy. If hardcopy you should submit in the Science and Engineering Assignment Box outside the Faculty Student Centre on the Ground Floor of 12 Wally’s Walk.

Must I pass the final exam in this unit, ie is there a “hurdle” requirement?

No, your final grade will be determined by the simple addition of your coursework and final exam marks.

If your question doesn’t appear above then please contact the Department of Mathematics with details of your enquiry. It will be passed on to the most appropriate person who will respond as soon as possible.

How to succeed in your Maths studies

There are things that will help you succeed with your Maths studies; here are some tips that might prove helpful

Attend all lectures

If you miss a lecture, you should use the ECHO recording to catch up as soon as possible. These recordings are not an equivalent experience to attending a lecture, and should only be used as a secondary source. If you miss a lecture for any reason, ECHO recordings are most helpful if you take notes as though you were in a lecture. They can also be used to revise particular points from a lecture if you feel you need clarification. Many students who rely solely on the ECHO recordings often get out of sync with tutorials and end up falling behind.

Understanding and memory

The only resource available to you in exams is your own knowledge. This cannot be crammed in the last few weeks – it requires consistent study and problem solving throughout the semester.

Committing information to memory, and making it readily retrievable at test and exam time, is somewhat different to entering data into a computer. The best way to embed mathematical learning into a readily accessible memory, is to take an active consistent learning approach.

Active learning means:-

  1. Reading up on the topic to be presented at your next lecture so you will have a better understanding of what your lecturer is explaining. 
  2. Focussing intently on the lectures and taking notes.
  3. Reading over those notes as soon as possible after the lecture and filling in the gaps from your short-term memory. 
  4. Attempting the tutorial exercises as soon as possible after the lecture, then discussing any questions you found problematic in your tutorial. You then need to go away and work on those problems yourself, having learnt how to solve them. This again helps with your understanding and strengthens your memory.

Studying Maths

Make a Study Timetable and place it above your study area; include your classes, study time, exercise time, sleeping, and social activities. It will help you to develop a study routine. Reward yourself after study time by doing things you enjoy, including regular exercise. Try to keep to the hours you have designated for each subject. Each Maths unit requires a commitment of around 12 hours per week, including time for lectures, tutorials and study.

Study Maths in small sessions – 1 to 2 hours at a time then go for a swim, walk, or do something else you enjoy. Study Maths when you are fresh and able to focus intently on the work. Of course, more hours may be necessary when you have an assessment task due, but spread these hours out over the days, well before the due date. Do not leave starting assignments to the last few days before they are due. Spread your assignment out so you have time to think about the problems and how to solve them.


You will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses simply by working on the tutorial questions - you will soon find what you can and cannot do. Ask your tutor to help you with the problems with which you are having difficulty. Do not be shy about putting up your hand in class and requesting particular problems to be discussed. Other people in your class may be having the same problem. Having addressed these particular problems, it is good to go away and solve these questions again, by yourself, using what you remember of the class discussion.

Other resources available to you are the Numeracy Centre (The Atrium, Lower Ground Floor, 12 Wally's Walk), the weekly workshops and your lecturers during their consultation hours. However, do work on the problems yourself first before requesting assistance by going over your lecture notes and consulting the recommended textbook. This will focus your mind on this type of problem and will help to reinforce your understanding.


Assignments are a very important component of Maths study as they give you the opportunity to use the mathematics you have learned in lectures and practiced in tutorials. They are not intended to be worked on in one sitting, rather they should be thought about and understood over time, so download your assignment questions early. You will be advised in lectures, and possibly an iLearn announcement when an assignment is available to download. You should download it as soon as possible and start thinking about the problems. If you need assistance you can go to the Numeracy Centre. However, when it comes to writing up your assignment solutions, they must come from your understanding of the problems, not someone else’s. We encourage you to discuss problems as you can learn a lot from your fellow students, and you can be helpful to them as well. Once this learning interaction has finished you should write your solutions alone as you understand them and not as dictated by, or copied from, someone else. The Department has a process for identifying plagiarism, and the penalties for this can be severe, from zero marks for both students to expulsion from the unit.

Check your student email & the announcements in iLearn

You will be notified in your student email when there are Announcements posted to iLearn. It is very important that you keep up with the information posted by your units, as we may wish to advise you that a due date has changed, or offer helpful advice, or advise you that assessment tasks are available for download.

If you have any questions about this, about time management, motivation, organising your study, please contact our Student Support Officer, Mr Garry Lawson ( or phone 9850 4175) to make an appointment (room 606, 12 Wally’s Walk).

Interested in further study and research?

Opportunities for higher degree research

Our department offers programs leading to the following postgraduate research degrees:

In Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2015, research in mathematical sciences received a rating of 4 out of 5 – ‘performance above world standard’ – for the discipline overall. Macquarie also received the top rating of 5 – ‘outstanding performance well above world standard’ – for the sub-discipline of pure mathematics.

This places Macquarie among the Australian universities for research in Mathematics. Discover more about the research work undertaken by researchers within this department.

If you are interested in doing research at Macquarie University, please contact a researcher in your field of interest to discuss your ideas before applying. Contact the Higher Degree Research Office to find out more about applying or look for a supervisor.

How to contact us 

Send us an email or contact us on (+61) 02 9850 8114. A full listing of staff contact details can be found here.

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