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Unusual Options

Despite the adjective, "unusual'' options are entirely usual: they are merely modules not in your Option Lists in the University Course Regulations and the lists of usual options.

Unusual options taken by maths students in the past include History of Brazil, Shapes of Molecules, European Revolutions, Electroacoustic Music, Common Law, Contemporary France, Psychopathology, German Language, in addition to many others. You may wish to take as an unusual option a module normally available only to students in another year. This is permitted if there are good educational grounds for it. With the natural restrictions below, and subject to timetabling (see point 11 below), maths students should be able to take practically any module offered by the University as an unusual option. But note that many departments (e.g. most Arts and Humanities) require you to obtain their permission rather before the time of preregistration.

Fourth years should also note that there are some suitable modules in the Statistics Department beginning with module codes ST9xx, in particular ST952 Introduction to Statistical Practice (prerequisite of ST217 Mathematical Statistics A and B or ST220 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics) or ST903 Statistical Methods (only available to students who have not already taken ST217 Mathematical Statistics A and B or ST220 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics).

All modules being taught this year are listed in the University's Module Directory, with their credit in CATS.

You have to obtain the agreement of (1) the module organiser, (2) your personal tutor, and (3) the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Agreement is usually automatic (an exception would be if the module has a significant overlap with mathematics modules, for example mathematical methods courses taken by science students). The form is now online and can be found here. You must get the permission from the department offering the module, and discuss with your Personal Tutor first, and on the form confirm that you have done this. We will then check with the that department and your Personal Tutor that this was done. You do not need to get permission from the DUGS beforehand, that will be done from your submission at a later date.

The form should be submitted as soon as you are sure that you want to take the module, and in any case by the end of Week 2 of the term the module is taught in, to enable registration to proceed smoothly. You will be e-mailed and mailed if there is a problem with permission to take an unusual option. If you do not hear then the option is approved and this will become clear on the online registration.

Please note, you should not assume you will be allowed to take an unusual option, and so do not make your module choices dependent on them until you have been granted permission.

There are some general rules and conventions to be observed regarding unusual options. These may be summarised as follows:

  1. Unusual Options and overcatting are allowed only at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  2. A third year student may not take first year List A or List B modules or any other first year module offered by a department in the Science Faculty (Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine).
  3. Language modules are classed as unusual, but an Unusual Option form for LL module codes is not required (acceptance by the Language Centre is sufficient). Language modules from other departments (e.g. Italian or Classics do need a form completed.
  4. Final year (and 3rd year MMath) students are not permitted to take beginners Language modules for credit.
  5. Once a student has progressed from the first year, they may not take more than 30 CATS of level 1 modules, in total, during their remaining years (including beginner’s language modules).
  6. First year Science modules taken in Year 2 and first year non-Science modules taken in Year 3 will only be allowed at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  7. List C modules (module codes beginning MA4xx) are unusual for third year BSc. students. To be allowed to take such modules, students must have reached the required standard at the end of their second year to have continued on the four year MMath if they had so wished.
  8. A student may not study for credit more than 30 CATS of unusual options from any one department in any one year.
  9. A student may not offer for exam a module in which he or she has been examined in a previous year.
  10. A student is entitled to study unusual options for credit only on the agreement of the module organiser, the personal tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  11. No guarantee can be given on avoidance of clashes with other modules in timetabling for unusual options. We advise you not to take unusual options which clash with core maths modules: you might lose credit, since some modules have assessed tests during the lecture period.
  12. In the event of unusual options causing unavoidable clashes in the timetabling of exams, special exam arrangements may be arranged, including an exam in the evening.
  13. Students following the same course but on different years of study may have different examination papers, where it involves a combination of finalists and second years (including third year of four) on a Summer paper in which the overall number of candidates is greater than twelve and the number of nonfinalists is greater than six; any other combination is granted exemption.