MATH380-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Mathematics in Perspective

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


Topics in the history, philosophy, directions and culture of mathematics including significant results from the past and an outline of some major areas of progress in the 20th century.

What is mathematics? Where did it come from, and was it discovered or invented?  What are some of the key moments in the history of mathematics? What kinds of mathematical results are considered important, and why? How does being human affect the mathematics we do?

Explore the questions, challenges, and crises that mathematicians have faced throughout history and the ways in which they tackled and resolved them.  Reflect upon the features and foundations of contemporary mathematics.

This course is about the history, philosophy, people and major results of mathematics over the centuries. The course is aimed not just at students with a 200-level mathematics background, but also at intellectually mature students in philosophy and the sciences. Our emphasis on the `big picture' of mathematics should also appeal to current or intending mathematics teachers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students who have succeeded in this course will:

  • be able to access information about the history and philosophy of mathematics from a variety of sources, and to critically evaluate that information,
  • know about some major developments in the history and philosophy of mathematics,
  • understand these developments in terms of the historical context in which they occurred and in terms of their relationship to modern mathematics,
  • be able to communicate with peers and with lay people about developments and themes in the history and philosophy of mathematics.


30 points in Mathematics or Statistics or Engineering Mathematics at 100 level. 45 points from the BA or BSc Schedule at 200 level in Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering Mathematics, related subjects, or
other subjects with good grades, as approved by the Head of School.


MATH301, MATH433, HAPS405

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 225
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00 Meremere 526
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 10:00 Jack Erskine 315
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator

Clemency Montelle


Jeanette McLeod

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Fauvel, John. , Gray, Jeremy, Open University (Great Britain); The History of mathematics : a reader ; Macmillan Education in association with the Open University, 1987.

Merzbach, Uta C. , Boyer, Carl B; A history of mathematics ; 3rd ed; Wiley, 2011.

Copies of these books will be held on restricted loan in the Engineering and Physical Science Library.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $847.00

International fee $4,988.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Mathematics and Statistics .

All MATH380 Occurrences

  • MATH380-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024