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Thread: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

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    UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    I'm having trouble deciding on which degree to choose.

    The usyd degree allows you to choose non-math science electives, which would be more interesting, I'd also major in financial maths and stats(science major), and economics(arts major). I also wouldn't have to take compulsory commerce courses. The double degree is also only 4 years.

    The UNSW commerce/science(advanced math)(honours) takes 5 years, and from what I've been told you can't take any other science electives, only commerce electives. I can apparently drop to the 4 year commerce/science degree if I decide that I don't want to take honours and I also won't be required to take the higher level courses sometimes. I'd probably major in finance (for commerce major) and stats(for science major).

    Which degree would be better? Also do employers care whether your degree says advanced math or science(with a math major)?
    MX2 - ADV - BUS - ECO - SOR1

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    I feel as though the main determinant of your degree is whether you want to major in economics or finance. The two disciplines are very different and lead to typically unrelated careers. For this reason, neither degree is necessarily better, but rather that they gear towards completely different directions. You need to decide which direction you'd like to pursue, in order to assess which degree would be more appropriate for you.

    The "advanced mathematics" is really just a name. It sounds cool, but ultimately employers don't really care (and if they do, they probably aren't good at their jobs). If it really matters to you, you can achieve the same title at USYD by maintaining a distinction WAM (i.e. at least 75, which to be honest isn't that difficult for first-year) then applying for a stream transfer. (Note that if you were trying to enrol into B Science (Advanced mathematics)/B Arts in the first place, you'd still have to enrol into normal science then apply, as I did.) At UNSW, to maintain the "Advanced Mathematics" title, you must complete an honours year for it, whereas at USYD, you just need to completely 4 third-year advanced stats or maths units (or a combination of the two).

    Good luck.

    (I should also add that you don't need to be enrolled into advanced science or advanced mathematics degree at USYD to enrol into advanced mathematics units [or any other advanced science units for that matter], meaning that if you do plan on going to USYD to transfer into the advanced mathematics degree, it would be in your interest to enrol into the first-year advanced mathematics units.)
    Last edited by sida1049; 21 Dec 2016 at 5:03 PM.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts III, USYD

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    I feel as though the main determinant of your degree is whether you want to major in economics or finance. The two disciplines are very different and lead to typically unrelated careers. For this reason, neither degree is necessarily better, but rather that they gear towards completely different directions. You need to decide which direction you'd like to pursue, in order to assess which degree would be more appropriate for you.

    The "advanced mathematics" is really just a name. It sounds cool, but ultimately employers don't really care (and if they do, they probably aren't good at their jobs). If it really matters to you, you can achieve the same title at USYD by maintaining a distinction WAM (i.e. at least 75, which to be honest isn't that difficult for first-year) then applying for a stream transfer. (Note that if you were trying to enrol into B Science (Advanced mathematics)/B Arts in the first place, you'd still have to enrol into normal science then apply, as I did.) At UNSW, to maintain the "Advanced Mathematics" title, you must complete an honours year for it, whereas at USYD, you just need to completely 4 third-year advanced stats or maths units (or a combination of the two).

    Good luck.

    (I should also add that you don't need to be enrolled into advanced science or advanced mathematics degree at USYD to enrol into advanced mathematics units [or any other advanced science units for that matter], meaning that if you do plan on going to USYD to transfer into the advanced mathematics degree, it would be in your interest to enrol into the first-year advanced mathematics units.)
    Hi, I noticed that you do Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts at Usyd. Have you enjoyed the degree so far?

    Also why would taking economics as opposed to commerce lead you in different directions? If I wanted could I still apply for the same jobs as I would probably major in "financial maths and stats", which I thought would give me some finance understanding, or would that put me at a disadvantage to com/math kids?
    MX2 - ADV - BUS - ECO - SOR1

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert73 View Post
    Hi, I noticed that you do Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts at Usyd. Have you enjoyed the degree so far?
    I'm triple majoring in mathematics, statistics and economics, and planning to do an honours in economics.

    I love it!

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert73 View Post
    Also why would taking economics as opposed to commerce lead you in different directions? If I wanted could I still apply for the same jobs as I would probably major in "financial maths and stats", which I thought would give me some finance understanding, or would that put me at a disadvantage to com/math kids?
    The financial mathematics and statistics major at USYD is not equivalent to a commerce finance major at all. The financial maths and stats major is essentially a formal mathematics and statistics major: to complete it, you must take at least two senior statistics units, the senior financial maths unit (which is very much applied maths; see for yourself [the course notes can be found in the page]), and an additional senior maths or statistics unit. You don't learn much about the financial industry, but rather that given a set of financial conditions, you would develop mathematical models to analyse the problems in-depth (far more formal and intense than business finance majors). In essence, the major studies finance in from strict, mathematical perspective. The skills learnt in this major is at least 50% statistics, and the rest being maths. So while this major would make you highly competitive in very specialised roles in the finance industry, you can see how employability isn't as reliable as that of a commerce finance major (but I bet the salary is higher).

    If you want to get into the finance industry, majoring in commerce finance would be the safest way to go (though it should be noted that the competition would probably be a lot higher, since I estimate that for every couple hundred finance majors at USYD, you might get one financial mathematics and statistics major). If you tried to compete against a business finance major for a typical finance role, you may lose out because, for example, you don't really learn anything about mergers or acquisitions or corporate finance in the financial maths and stats major.

    Economics is far more theoretical than commerce finance. It's more mathematical (especially when you get to senior units and postgraduate studies), which is something a lot of people underestimate (probably because of HSC economics or the kind of economics you hear people talking about most of the time). Where finance deals with participating in the market, economics involves studying and analysing markets and behaviour using mathematical models. Fundamentally, commerce finance major is a business major, and economics is a social science major. For that reason, employability is probably somewhat higher for finance majors.
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    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts III, USYD

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    I'm triple majoring in mathematics, statistics and economics, and planning to do an honours in economics.

    I love it!



    The financial mathematics and statistics major at USYD is not equivalent to a commerce finance major at all. The financial maths and stats major is essentially a formal mathematics and statistics major: to complete it, you must take at least two senior statistics units, the senior financial maths unit (which is very much applied maths; see for yourself [the course notes can be found in the page]), and an additional senior maths or statistics unit. You don't learn much about the financial industry, but rather that given a set of financial conditions, you would develop mathematical models to analyse the problems in-depth (far more formal and intense than business finance majors). In essence, the major studies finance in from strict, mathematical perspective. The skills learnt in this major is at least 50% statistics, and the rest being maths. So while this major would make you highly competitive in very specialised roles in the finance industry, you can see how employability isn't as reliable as that of a commerce finance major (but I bet the salary is higher).

    If you want to get into the finance industry, majoring in commerce finance would be the safest way to go (though it should be noted that the competition would probably be a lot higher, since I estimate that for every couple hundred finance majors at USYD, you might get one financial mathematics and statistics major). If you tried to compete against a business finance major for a typical finance role, you may lose out because, for example, you don't really learn anything about mergers or acquisitions or corporate finance in the financial maths and stats major.

    Economics is far more theoretical than commerce finance. It's more mathematical (especially when you get to senior units and postgraduate studies), which is something a lot of people underestimate (probably because of HSC economics or the kind of economics you hear people talking about most of the time). Where finance deals with participating in the market, economics involves studying and analysing markets and behaviour using mathematical models. Fundamentally, commerce finance major is a business major, and economics is a social science major. For that reason, employability is probably somewhat higher for finance majors.
    Thanks so much for the response. I'm not sure whether I would want to go into finance or into data/computing. Do you think you learn enough programming in the course? I've heard that the statistics component requires a fair bit of programming.

    Also what career/job are you planning on getting into after your degree(and honours)?
    MX2 - ADV - BUS - ECO - SOR1

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert73 View Post
    Thanks so much for the response. I'm not sure whether I would want to go into finance or into data/computing. Do you think you learn enough programming in the course? I've heard that the statistics component requires a fair bit of programming.
    No problem!

    I can't speak for UNSW, but for USYD, a Bachelor of Science requires you to complete 24 credit points (4 units) worth of junior science units from at least two different areas of study that aren't mathematics or statistics. I used that to complete two courses on programming (introduction and data structures), and an additional course called computational science (run by the physics faculty) where programming is used to solve scientific and mathematical problems. This gave me some basic programming skill, which I'm sure will be useful in the future. If you would like more computer science, you can actually do a minor in IT (interestingly enough the only minor USYD offers). If you are really thorough in your degree planning, you could probably triple major under B Science/B Arts, with your science majors being financial mathematics and statistics and computer science.

    That's correct, statistics involves some programming, but not a lot. You don't need any courses in programming to do well in statistics, since some training is provided in statistics (though not much, I think), as well as the fact that you're learning a high-level, specialised language. That said, if you do have an interest in programming, it would help as learning one programming language makes you more fluent in picking up other languages. Data scientists usually study both computer science and statistics in depth.

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert73 View Post
    Also what career/job are you planning on getting into after your degree(and honours)?
    For now, I'm looking at the economics route. After I finish my honours, depending on my marks, I'll either do a doctorate in economics, or go enter the workforce (perhaps the RBA or something) for several years before continue studying.

    Alternatively, I may pursue a career as a statistician, or mathematical modelling, et cetera.

    But yeah, it's still quite early for me and you. For now you should evaluate on your strengths and what you're interested in. E.g. if you enjoy business subjects, commerce may be more suitable, or if you're more into theory, then economics would be more interesting.

    (One of the reasons why I avoided commerce was because I can't stand the idea of doing compulsory business subjects lol.)

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts III, USYD

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    At UNSW, to maintain the "Advanced Mathematics" title, you must complete an honours year for it, whereas at USYD, you just need to completely 4 third-year advanced stats or maths units (or a combination of the two).
    Which makes the two degrees different from each other, based on the Australian Qualifications Framework (2013 update). This can lead to different remunerations in some industries.

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    No problem!

    I can't speak for UNSW, but for USYD, a Bachelor of Science requires you to complete 24 credit points (4 units) worth of junior science units from at least two different areas of study that aren't mathematics or statistics. I used that to complete two courses on programming (introduction and data structures), and an additional course called computational science (run by the physics faculty) where programming is used to solve scientific and mathematical problems. This gave me some basic programming skill, which I'm sure will be useful in the future. If you would like more computer science, you can actually do a minor in IT (interestingly enough the only minor USYD offers). If you are really thorough in your degree planning, you could probably triple major under B Science/B Arts, with your science majors being financial mathematics and statistics and computer science.

    That's correct, statistics involves some programming, but not a lot. You don't need any courses in programming to do well in statistics, since some training is provided in statistics (though not much, I think), as well as the fact that you're learning a high-level, specialised language. That said, if you do have an interest in programming, it would help as learning one programming language makes you more fluent in picking up other languages. Data scientists usually study both computer science and statistics in depth.



    For now, I'm looking at the economics route. After I finish my honours, depending on my marks, I'll either do a doctorate in economics, or go enter the workforce (perhaps the RBA or something) for several years before continue studying.

    Alternatively, I may pursue a career as a statistician, or mathematical modelling, et cetera.

    But yeah, it's still quite early for me and you. For now you should evaluate on your strengths and what you're interested in. E.g. if you enjoy business subjects, commerce may be more suitable, or if you're more into theory, then economics would be more interesting.

    (One of the reasons why I avoided commerce was because I can't stand the idea of doing compulsory business subjects lol.)
    Thanks again for the awesome response, they have been really helpful. If you don't mind, why did you choose Usyd over UNSW for maths?
    MX2 - ADV - BUS - ECO - SOR1

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    Re: UNSW commerce/advanced math(honours) vs USYD advanced math/arts

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert73 View Post
    Thanks again for the awesome response, they have been really helpful. If you don't mind, why did you choose Usyd over UNSW for maths?
    Hahah no problem man.

    One of the reasons why I choose USYD over UNSW Advanced Mathematics degree is because I'm not required to do an honours year for it, though that's actually a fairly trivial reason.

    The main reason I chose USYD over UNSW is because of economics: USYD runs a pre-honours program for economics students aspiring to do an honours year. This program starts from second year, and it involves taking more advanced, more mathematically rigorous honours stream counterparts of mainstream economics units.

    But strictly regarding maths between the two universities, I'm fairly sure both universities have quite good maths faculties. USYD has Special Studies Program (and TSP) for maths, which ended up being one of the biggest highlights of my first year of university (where else in undergrad will you learn that fractals may have noninteger dimensions?).

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts III, USYD

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