Syd Uni Is Dropping Maths Prerequisites For Heaps Of Degrees So More Kids Can Apply For Them


Starting from next year, the University of Sydney will no longer require advanced mathematics for dozens of degrees including science and medicine, in direct response to less kids taking the subject during high school. The news comes as less students are studying at university altogether.

Between 2018 and 2023, there were almost 10% less students taking advanced maths, despite the fact that the University of Sydney introduced advanced mathematics as a prerequisite for 62 degrees in 2019 specifically to encourage students to take the subject.

Vice chancellor Mark Scott said the university will be making the changes (or rather, reversing the 2019 changes) so it can become more accessible to disadvantaged students who might not have the resources to study advanced mathematics.

“Mathematical skills and knowledge are vital for students to succeed at university and thrive in the workplaces of the future,” he said, per The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Yet through no fault of their own, many students don’t have the opportunity to take advanced mathematics at school, a situation exacerbated by ongoing maths teacher shortages that affect some schools more than others.”

The university’s deputy vice chancellor Professor Joanne Wright said the changes were also being made to accomodate regional students whose schools do not offer advanced mathematics, so they still have a shot at studying the degrees they want to.

Medicine, veterinary science, psychology, economics, science and commerce degrees will all ditch the advanced maths prerequisite starting from 2025.

Engineering, advanced computing and pharmacy will still need the subject, however, the university will provide support and bridging courses for students who want to enrol in them but couldn’t study advanced maths in high school.

While this is great news for disadvantaged high schoolers, it’s also worth noting that these changes come off the back of data that suggests young people are choosing not to enrol in university at increasing rates.

In 2022, the number of first-year university students fell by 8.2% — the lowest level in nearly a decade — with similar projections for 2024. The report by the Department of Education sparked concerns that universities would struggle financially — or, well, have less young people to extort with exorbitant university fees.

So, while these changes are absolutely helpful to disadvantaged students who face barriers to studying certain degrees, they don’t necessarily address all the other reasons young people might be avoiding university.

You know, like the cost-of-living crisis, trying to find housing as a student, and the debt that comes with getting an education.