Mathematics is becoming one of the premiere subjects to study in the UK at university – it is highly regarded by employers and requires a lot of patience and work.
The result? An unemployment rate that is less than 10%, a full-time employment rate of nearly 45% and 1,000 graduates in further study – of which 20% got into a PhD level course. Not bad for something you probably hated at school as a kid.
Part of the success behind maths graduates comes from the universities out there that teach the degrees – not taking anything away from the students who actually study or anything, but there is definitely something in the course material that makes certain universities a stand out place to go.
We’ve taken a look at the Complete University Guide and their list of the best maths universities out there, then taking what we’ve found on various websites and material. In theory, this ought to give us a great list of universities and what you might expect
With this in mind, here are the UK’s Top 10 universities for mathematics – we’ll start at 10 and go down to 1…
- #10 (previous year: #6) – London School of Economics (LSE) – Two courses available, both with economics as a minor unit or as half of the degree. Standard entry requirements is A*AA and Further Mathematics to A2 is considered highly advantageous. If you haven’t studied it to A2 then a grade A at AS Further Maths is normally required. Generally, LSE take on 10% of applicants to the course.
For Mathematics with Economics (major/minor course) you study many different areas of mathematics including statistical theory, abstract mathematics, discrete mathematics and number theory, alongside microeconomics and general economic study.
For Mathematics and Economics (the balanced course) the course is similar, but with expanded options in the final year of study.
- #9 (#9) – Bristol University – Bristol offers mathematics with a wide range of minor units (ranging from physics to statistics and even philosophy) and even a compulsory European placement experience, though pure mathematics is a possible option also. The standard offer for student entry is A*AA, with the A* in Mathematics and then at least one of their preferred subjects, which range from Physics to Chemistry or Economics. However, students who have studied both Maths and Further Mathematics could be given an AAA offer too.
During your first year, you’ll be studying anything from algebra and statistics to calculus and mechanics. In your second and third year, you’ll also have the chance to pick from over 35 different options.
There is also an option for students to take a four-year course in order to gain a Master’s degree in Mathematics, rather than just a Bachelor’s degree.
- #8 (#11) – University College London (UCL) –UCL offers both a major/minor split and evenly-split courses, much like LSE. With a pure maths-based course, the entry requirement stands at A*A*A, with both Maths and Further Maths as your two A*s – oh, and a separate pass at AS Level too. Quite the tall order for most students, but the result is a high quality course that teaches a great deal of core mathematics and applied mathematics, including Newtonian mathematics and even electromagnetism.
- #7 (#8) – University of Saint Andrews – Saint Andrews has a somewhat different set-up as it’s a Scottish university. For the first two years of your four year program, you must study a broad range of subjects before you specialise in the last two years. You study three subjects (including your chosen degree subject) for the first year, then two or three of them in your second. For the final two years, you’ll specialise in Mathematics and follow the advanced modules in that programme. The entry requirements are generally ABB to AAA for Saint Andrews, though they will consider applications with A*s present on an individual basis.
- #6 (#7) – University of Bath – The university famous for sport and exercise also has one of the top student unions in the nation, though they also excel at maths. Whilst it cannot be studied as a single subject as such, their main degree is Mathematics and Physics, an equally-balanced joint honours degree which focuses on mathematical analysis, algebra and a large variety of physics-based theory. The degree is three years long by default, though there are options to do a placement after your second year to complete a four-year course and even a direct route through to a Master’s degree.
The standard entry standard for the programme is A*AA – where Maths and Physics are essential at A2 level. Further Mathematics is also highly desirable too.
- #5 (#5) – Durham University –Durham University offer a pure mathematics course as well as joint honours and Master’s Degrees. One of the rare things about Durham’s programme is that you are free to pick options from the first year – though of course there are compulsory core modules that you will need to follow also. Alongside calculus and probabilities and algebra, there are options in statistics and mathematical physics.
The standard entry requirements for entry into Durham are A*AA at A Level, with the A* in either Maths or Further Mathematics, though you need to have studied both ideally.
- #4 (#4) – The University of Warwick – Like many on this list, Warwick offers pure mathematics as a course, the potential to go to a four-year course and joint honours classifications for multi-discipline study. The course is structured so that students can make choices right from the first year and can also choose to have more or less mathematical content in there, alongside physics-based and computer-based modules. All of this gives a great deal of personality to the course, explaining the high satisfaction rate among students.
The standard entry requirements for Warwick are around the A*AA or A*A*A mark, including an A* in maths and a similar mark in Further Mathematics. There will also be the requirement to pass the STEP exam also.
- #3 (#3) – Imperial College London –Imperial College London offers Mathematics with several distinct options, including placements and joint honours for those who wish to.
The course is quite unusual in that you can allow yourself a more well-rounded education – there are options to study anything from creative writing to philosophy, all counting towards your degree.
The standard entry requirement is A*A*A, with the A*s in both Maths and Further Maths. The other subject is of your choice, but the ICL argues that the best will have done Chemistry or Physics.
- #2 (#2#) – University of Oxford –Coming in at our runner-up spot is Oxford. The course is purely maths-based (though there’s a few joint honours out there) and covers everything from algebra to quantum theory and relativity. The course is three years, though in your final year you will be given the option and conditions of entry into a fourth year to gain a Master’s Degree.
Candidates need to have an A*A*A to apply, at least with Maths to A* standard. If you took Further Maths (highly recommended) then you need to have an A* in that as well.
- #1 – University of Cambridge –Sitting right at the top of the board is of course Cambridge, long considered one of the best universities anywhere in the world. The chance to learn maths at the university where Sir Isaac Newton once taught is one that is rarely missed by those who are deemed the best – indeed, the course boasts Nobel Prize winners in the staffing.
There are two routes through a maths degree at Cambridge – you can either focus purely on maths or can integrate elements of physics into your education too. Levels 2 and 3 build on what you’ve learnt in the first year and gives you the opportunity for more specialism. Like Oxford, you will eventually be given the option of studying for a Master’s in a fourth year.
Entry into Cambridge requires A*A*A at A Level. Individual subjects will vary in each college, but generally you must have Maths and Further Maths will be highly desirable.
And there’s your lot – the best places in the UK to study maths at university. Does it seem like a bit of an elitist list? Somewhat, but the best seem to gravitate towards the best out there. If you want to aim even higher than you already are, then… this might be the place to look.
All information was correct at the time of writing, as per university websites.