“‘Obvious’ is the most dangerous word in mathematics.” - Eric Temple Bell
Do you love maths so much that you want to study it at university? Would you like to get a degree in it?
Maths is one of those subjects where there’s a good number of jobs available for graduates.
Mathematical sciences are one of the least popular subject groups at university in the UK while business, medicine, biological sciences, and social studies remain some of the most popular.
Despite that, maths degrees are commonly offered at universities across the country.
Here’s everything you need to know about studying them.
Getting Onto A Maths Degree
If you're interested in studying mathematics beyond school, you'll probably want to study a university maths course or something related to mathematical sciences. For many students, the most stressful part is applying to university, studying for your A Levels, and awaiting the results to see if you got enough UCAS points to get onto your desired course.
As for requirements, most university courses will require at least an A Level in maths. Of course, some exceptions will be made if you're an international student with different qualifications or a mature student. In these cases, you'll have to check with the university.
In addition to an A Level in maths, a lot of universities like to see subjects related to maths like statistics, physics, or further maths. Of course, you won't be completely ruled out if you've studied a foreign language or any of the social sciences but it'll increase your chances if you look like you're interested in specialising in mathematics and have exam results to back that up.
Universities also like to see students who are interested in maths outside of school so if you're a member of any maths-related clubs or have any hobbies that relate to mathematics, they'll help you with your application.
What You Study on a Maths Degree
No two degree courses will be the same but generally, most maths courses will include a lot of the same modules or at least teach a lot of the same skills.
- Data analysis
- Algorithms and applications
- Differential calculus
- Probabilities and statistics
- Structured programming
- Regression and anova
- Problem-solving methods
- Analytical and computational foundations
Depending on the university, you also have the option to study maths alongside accounting, finance, engineering, or another related subject.
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Some subjects offer a year of study abroad in a partner university or as part of the ERASMUS programme. Not only does this allow students to see the world, but it also allows them the opportunity to learn a foreign language.
Here’s an example of what you’d study on a university maths course taken from the University of Oxford, which was ranked the best university in the UK for maths:
The first year of study includes algebra, analysis, probability and statistics, geometry and dynamics, and multivariate calculus and mathematical models.
Students are assessed through a combination of exams and projects.
In the second year of study, students have to study algebra, complex analysis, metric spaces, and differential equations.
They also get to choose modules in algebra, number theory, analysis, applied analysis, geometry, topology, fluid dynamics, probability, statistics, numerical analysis, graph theory, special relativity, and quantum theory.
In the 3rd and final year of their degree, students have a variety of subjects to choose from including algebra, applied and numerical analysis, algebraic and differential geometry, algebraic and analytic topology, logic and set theory, number theory, applied probability, statistics, theoretical and statistical mechanics, mathematical physics, mathematical biology, mathematical geoscience, networks, combinatorics, information theory, actuarial mathematics, mathematical philosophy, computer science modules, and a history of mathematics.
While every course is a little different, a lot of universities will include the majority of these modules. Whether or not you get the choice or opportunity to study them all will depend on the university and if there are certain combinations that you're desperate to study, you should ask the university before applying.
Usually, students will have certain modules they have to study and others they can choose from. Modules are usually counted in terms of credits and in addition to the requirements, students will be expected to have a given number of credits for their degree.c
Applying to a Maths Degree
To get onto a degree course in the UK, you'll have to do so through UCAS. UK students can apply to up to 5 different courses. These 5 courses don't need to be at 5 different universities and you can apply to different courses at the same university.
As we mentioned, the requirements for studying a BSc in Mathematics at most universities include A Level maths and related subjects. Check each university for the entry requirements for their courses.
For more information on how to apply to courses, you should check the UCAS website. For information regarding the entry requirements to a particular course, fees, the modules taught, and the course programme, look at the university website.
What Can You Do with a Maths Degree?
After you graduate from your maths degree, you'll have quite a few options when it comes to your career. Fortunately for you, there's a demand for maths teachers in the UK and also a lack of employees with mathematics skills.
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Generally, most maths graduates tend to move into careers in finance, accounting, or banking. In accounting or finance, you can work as an auditor or accountant, for example. You'll need more professional qualifications after your degree to become a chartered accountant but generally, the maths degree is the first step.
There are also a number of options for those interested in statistics, statistical analysis, data analysis, etc. Generally, in this line of work, you'll be given data from experiments, research, or surveys, for example, and be expected to provide insights, reveal trends, or offer advice on which actions to take based on your findings.
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.
Face-to-face tutorials are a tailored service where you're the only student in the class. As a result, you can learn what you want, when you want, and how you want. This is especially good if you need to spend time focusing on a particular maths concept that you're struggling to grasp or topics that you know are going to be on your exam. Of course, for this bespoke service, you often have to pay a premium, which is why these types of tutorial are usually the most costly.
If you can't find any suitable tutors working near you, you can always learn from tutors via the internet. With a webcam and a decent internet connection, anyone can study with a private tutor from anywhere in the world. If you're studying GCSE or A Level, for example, you might want to ensure that your tutor is from the UK or at least familiar with the exams but if you're studying maths, the concepts are pretty universal.
For those on a budget, group tutorials are a great way to enjoy smaller class sizes and tailored lessons. Of course, the lessons won't be tailored to just you but they are usually cheaper per student per hour than the other types of tutorials as all the students are sharing the cost of the tutor's time.
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.
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