University Of Kwazulu Natal Mathematics Department

by Israel Boafo Bansah

University Of Kwazulu Natal Mathematics Department, Historically, Mathematics arises out of a human need to develop general techniques for solving practical problems. For this reason, high-school pupils are exposed largely to the kind of mathematics that lends itself to application in physics, elementary statistics, biology, engineering, computer science and other disciplines
Over the last 300 years, however, it has become clear that mathematics is an important subject in its own right, and not just a slave to other disciplines. Scientists have become aware that in order to develop powerful problem-solving tools, one needs quite ‘abstract’ mathematics; a body of pure mathematics is required which can be studied independently of physics, biology and other user-disciplines.
Pure and Applied Mathematics are therefore offered as different subjects, although there is much interdependence between them and each serves as an inspiration to the other.
Our first year Mathematics modules (Math 110/120) attempt to bridge the gap between ‘maths for use in other subjects’ and ‘maths as a discipline in its own right’. Applicable topics such as calculus, linear algebra and introductory combinatorics are taught, but as the course progresses, there is a gradual increase in the rigour with which these topics are treated, thereby ensuring that the students have exposure both to the activities of the pure mathematician and to the techniques required by the applied mathematician and other scientists.

Thus at second year level, the student is in a reasonable position to select either pure or applied mathematical courses for specialization or as a background to other major subjects.
A student who chooses to proceed to level 2 and/or level 3 Mathematics modules will study such topics as advanced calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra mathematical analysis and topology.

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School Brochure
Mathematics and Applied Mathematics Majors [M-stream]
We offer Mathematics and Applied Mathematics as a major or double major for the BSc degree. For students majoring in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics and another discipline, common choices for the second discipline are: Computer Science, Physics, Statistics, Physics or Economics.
In the first years, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics students do the same core modules (64 credits). Students are however encouraged to take other mathematics or applied mathematics modules as electives. For further details please consult the College handbook.
Astrophysics and Cosmology Major

The major in Astrophysics and Cosmology is offered on the Westville campus only.
Undergraduate Prospectus
Undergraduate Application Form
Prospective students with a major in applied mathematics or mathematics may apply for acceptance to the honours degree in applied mathematics or mathematics at either the Pietermaritzburg or Westville campuses.
Opportunities are available for study towards the postgraduate MSc and PhD degrees by research in the following areas:

  • Astrophysics & Cosmology (Westville campus)
  • Differential Geometry (Pietermaritzburg campus)
  • Fluid Dynamics (Pietermaritzburg campus)
  • Graph Theory and Combinatorics (Westville campus)
  • Group Theory and Computational Algebra (Westville campus)
  • Mathematical biology (Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses)
  • Mathematics of Finance (Westville campus)
  • Numerical Analysis (Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses)
  • Topology (Westville campus)

Applicants for admission to the MSc programme should possess an Honours degree in Mathematics/ Applied Mathematics or an equivalent qualification. The normal requirement for entry to the PhD is a relevant MSc degree. Applicants with insufficient background may be asked to attend Honours lectures on relevant topics.
South African students may seek funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) – a limited amount of funding is also available to non-South Africans. Candidates requiring financial support should apply as early as possible.

Postgraduate Application Guide
Postgrad Brochure
Postgraduate Application Form
College Handbook
The School offers a vibrant environment for postdoctoral research in all areas of applied mathematics and mathematics. To be accepted as a postdoctoral fellow you must possess a recent PhD in a relevant area with a good publication record and be self-motivated. Interested postdoctoral fellows must first discuss their proposal with a potential supervisor within the School.

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