“But in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.” - Rene Decartes
Are you good at maths and looking to study it at university?
Maths graduates are very employable since so few people study it at university and there’s both a lack of maths teachers and a lack of skilled mathematicians in the workforce. Maths graduates very quickly find themselves in work.
The average salary isn’t bad, either, but it does depend exactly on the field you move into.
Here’s how to get ready for undergraduate maths degrees.
The A Levels You Need to Study for Maths Degrees
Students looking to apply for a BSc Mathematics degree course at university will need to meet the entry requirements. Generally, this means that your A Level results match what's on your offer from the university.
Before the universities can even make you an offer, you need to make sure that you study the A Levels they'll want. Almost all undergraduate maths degree courses in the UK want students to study maths at A Level and many suggest that you also study further maths. Generally, mathematical sciences like physics are also recommended but not a requirement.
The top universities ask for grades in the A*A*A range with the A* in maths and further maths if the student studies both. If the student has only chosen to study maths, then this must be one of the A*s. Some universities accept lower grade boundaries and the best programme for you may not be the one with the high academic barrier to entry.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you can avoid studying maths. As most undergraduate maths degree courses in the UK build upon the topics and skills studied at A Level, you're going to need these qualifications.
Applying to Maths Degrees
Are you looking to do an undergraduate maths degree after your A Levels?
You’ll need to apply to the course. In the UK, there's pretty much one way to apply to all the universities in the country and that's through UCAS. UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and exists pretty much for students to apply to university.
Students wanting to study maths at university will have to apply to courses through UCAS. As they can only apply to 5 courses, they must look carefully at the entry requirements and make wise choices to ensure that they can get onto a university course.
For example, while you might want to apply to the very best maths courses in the country, if you only apply to courses that require A*A*A, you may end up not getting onto a course despite having excellent grades at A Level.
It's always a good idea to hedge your bets and apply to universities with a range of requirements. Similarly, the universities at the top of the league tables mightn't necessarily be right for you. An undergraduate maths degree is at least 3 years and you'll have to live near to the university so make sure that it's located in a town or city that you'd like to live in!
Applying to a Maths Degree as an International Student
If you're applying for an undergraduate mathematics degree as an international student, you may not have the exact qualifications specified by the university. However, many universities will accept a range of international qualifications.
Generally, it's a good idea to contact the university directly and ask what their entry requirements are for the qualifications you're studying or already have as converting international qualifications isn't always an exact science.
Similarly, if English isn't your mother tongue, then there are usually language requirements to get onto courses. Check what these are and ensure that you have the appropriate qualifications to prove your level in the English language.
Applying to Maths Degrees as a Mature Student
For some, the draw of mathematics hasn't left them since school and if you're looking to enrol on an undergraduate maths degree course at university but aren't coming straight from your A Levels, that isn't a problem, you can apply as a mature student.
Generally, a mature student is someone aged over 20 at the start of the course who's been out of full-time education for at least two years. In most cases, the entry requirements for mature students are the same as students coming straight from school.
However, in some cases, you may not have studied the prerequisite A Levels as you weren't planning on doing a BSc maths degree when you were back at school. Fortunately, there are several "access courses". The Access to HE Diploma courses are usually a one- or two-year courses designed for adults looking to get back into higher education.
Of course, some universities will make exceptions or accept mature students on a case-by-case basis so it never hurts to contact them directly for more information.
Getting Ready for University
Once you've got your offer for a place on a BSc mathematics degree course, you just have to make sure you meet the requirements and get the grades the university wants.
From there, you'll want to sort out your accommodation, finances, and your modules.
More often than not, universities will have accommodation available for students. Generally, these places are cheaper than the average rental prices for the area and much closer to the university campus.
Depending on your university, though, this accommodation can be quite hit-or-miss. There's always the option to rent privately and either get your own place, rent a single room in a property, or rent an entire property with other students.
Again, the university will provide information on sorting out your accommodation and there are usually plenty of groups and communities of students looking for flatmates on social media.
Almost every maths university course in the UK costs around £9k per year. You can either pay for this yourself or look for finance options through Student Finance.
Mature students may also be eligible for finance depending on their family situation or the type of degree course that they're doing. Mature students with children may also get extra help.
International students will usually need to look for student finance options in their home country. There's a good number of finance options for students within the EU, too.
Most undergraduate maths degrees don't allow much or any freedom when it comes to the modules you study. Generally, there will be a certain number of core modules and in later years, students will be given the option to choose some of their modules.
Usually, most modules will be in mathematics but some universities allow you to study modules outside of maths and mathematical science to gain academic credits towards your undergraduate degree.
If you have an interest outside of mathematics, you can always choose a foreign language module or classes from outside of the sciences.
Generally, maths is a good subject to study as research has shown that those with a degree in mathematics or mathematical skills tend to find employment quite easily. Around two-thirds of students graduating from a mathematics degree programme go straight into work and the average wage is higher than that of the average graduate.
Mathematics graduates tend to work skilled jobs including teaching, finance, accounting, science, information technology, and statistical analysis and given there's a shortage of qualified mathematicians, finding work is usually easier for them.
If you need help studying maths or need to improve your grades to get onto the maths course of your dreams, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced tutors on Superprof! There are maths tutors all over the world offering different types of tutorials so choose the one that's right for you.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour for free so you can try a few different tutors out before you decide on which one is right for you. You should also use this time to discuss your learning objectives, your budget, and your preferred learning styles. Thus, you'll be sure that your tutor knows what they need to do and how they need to do it.