My Undergraduate Degree

Recent changes
Table of contents
Links to this page

From 1980 to 1982 I took my undergraduate degree at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It was somewhat complicated by the fact that I was a Faculty of Science Scholar, which meant that I had the freedom to study any subjects and/or modules that I chose, but for which I had to obey the rules:

  • Scholars must undertake more than a year's work every year, and

  • Scholars must maintain a standard of work that is consistent with their status as a scholar.

Based on the first of these some scholars chose to do extra modules each year, while some (such as myself) chose to do a standard degree, but to accelerate it. I know one chap who actually took two entire honours degrees in the usual span required for one (four years), whereas I did my four year degree in three calendar years.

The wording of the second rule is carefully chosen to allow that when doing very large amounts of work, it's not always possible to get 95% or more in each exam. The chap who did two full degrees only got 70% or so in his exams, but that was consistent with his status, given his workload.

The composition of my degree was largely standard. For my first year subjects I took Maths, Math Methods, Physics, and Computer Science, each 25% of a year's work.

For my second year subjects I took Pure Maths (40%), "Maths" (40%), and first year philosophy (25%), adopted as a second year minor (which would normally be 20%).

The subject "Maths" was made up of 3 applied maths units, 2 statistics units, and a Pure Maths unit that was new, and therefore which I hadn't covered in Pure Maths the year before. This was only possible because of the chronological skew of my timetable.

For my third and fourth years I simply did Pure Maths. The third year course consisted of 10 units.

Chronologically, in my first year of attendance I took the first year subjects (of course) and the complete Pure Maths module, thus undertaking 140% of a year's work. In my second year I did the other maths module, first year philosophy, and 8 of the 10 third year pure maths modules, making a total of 145% of a year's work.

For my third chronological year I took the remaining two third year modules, all of the Honours year, and a Science German reading course, which was about 20% of a year's work. Again, this then totalled 140% of a year's work.

Level Subject Load Year

1st year Mathematical Methods 25% 1980
Mathematics 25%
Physics 25%
Computer Science 25%

2nd year 2nd Year Pure Maths 40%

1st Year philosophy 25% 1981
"Mathematics" 40%

3rd year 80% of 3rd Year Pure 80%

20% of 3rd Year Pure 20% 1982

4th year Mathematics: Honours 100%
Science German 20%

If you care about any of this (and I really do see no reason why you should!) then you can read some of the Essays In Philosophy what I wrote.


There were no headings
in the main text so there
is no table of contents.

Links on this page

Site hosted by Colin and Rachel Wright:
  • Maths, Design, Juggling, Computing,
  • Embroidery, Proof-reading,
  • and other clever stuff.

Suggest a change ( <-- What does this mean?) / Send me email
Front Page / All pages by date / Site overview / Top of page

Universally Browser Friendly     Quotation from
Tim Berners-Lee
    Valid HTML 3.2!