An overview of the department
The Mathematics Institute was founded in 1965 by Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman, since when it has gone on to become one of the leading research and teaching departments in the country.
The Institute has approximately 75 permanent academic staff plus about 50 research fellows and junior and temporary staff along with a large and vibrant postgraduate community. A distinguishing feature of the department is the number of Professors and Readers - among the highest proportion of any UK mathematics department. Academic staff are all active research mathematicians and many are international leaders in their field. There is a lively, informal research atmosphere and the Institute hosts many conferences and workshops involving visiting mathematicians from all over the world. This strong and lively research culture informs and stimulates exciting teaching.
The Institute's research has received excellent scores in all the national research assessment exercises conducted over the last 20 years. In the last such exercise, the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework) exercise, Warwick Statistics and the Warwick Mathematics Institute together were ranked 3rd in the UK with more than 90% of our research activity assessed as either internationally excellent or world leading. Our research environment at Warwick was rated by REF 2014 as the very best in the UK for mathematical sciences (achieving the maximum possible score of 100% at 4*). In 2014 one of our previous staff, Prof. Martin Hairer, won a Fields Medal for his work in Stochastic Analysis.
The undergraduate Mathematics programme at Warwick is distinguished for its ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE and FLEXIBILITY and CHOICE. The course is demanding, challenging and exciting. The large size of the department means that it can offer a rich and varied diet of mathematics modules. Many options from other departments are also available.
A summary of the research interests in Statistics, including many of the staff in Mathematics can be found at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/research/paw.
Aims of the BSc and MMath courses
All our courses aim to
- attract well-qualified students;
- provide an intellectually stimulating environment;
- help students develop key intellectual skills;
- provide a challenging education, with flexibility and breadth, in mathematics and its applications;
- produce high quality graduates who are well prepared for the next step of their professional lives, whether this involves further research training or moving directly into a career.
The MMath course aims additionally to
- enable students to study mathematics in greater depth and/or breadth;
The joint BSc courses aim additionally to
- allow students to add a coherent body of specialist knowledge in another discipline to their core mathematical knowledge.
Both degrees are very strong mathematically, and both are extremely well valued by employers. (For most careers, doing well in either one is a good basis for a strong application, and many employers do not distinguish between the two.) They each have their own advantages. The BSc allows one to take more options other than Mathematics modules. So, for example, one could develop a major second discipline in some depth (such as Statistics or Computing or Physics or spoken languages or many others) or one could add a broad selection of one-off topics from around the university (perhaps a bit of Business Studies together with some Economics and Philosophy) to add a range of different skills and knowledge to your CV. Or of course one could stick to Mathematics modules entirely.
The MMath takes a year longer and so allows one to dive deeper into extremely advanced mathematics. This leaves less room for taking modules outside Mathematics than on the BSc, though it is still possible. So if you are thinking of further study in Mathematics after your degree, or looking at careers in industry that involve mathematical research, or just want to study as much mathematics as possible, then the MMath is a good option.
It is easy to switch between the two courses in the first year (and even in the second), so it doesn’t matter which you pick to start on. There are always highly successful students who graduate on both courses, and all students on both courses take lectures and classes together and can work together on the same mathematical problems.
An outline of the course
The 3 year BSc degree course
The bachelor degree course lasts three years, leading to a BSc for which honours will usually be awarded. Flexibility is the keynote of the mathematics courses. While you remain in the Mathematics Department, you will study a central core of mathematics. To this core you add optional modules in mathematics, other science subjects or in any of the arts or social science subjects taught at Warwick. Within limits, proportions may be varied to suit individual tastes. The Mathematics Department tries to make as many options as possible available to students; as the University has grown, so has the choice, and we intend this to continue. Joint degree courses with a number of other subjects are available. It is also possible to spend a year abroad or in industry on the so-called Intercalated Year course.
Roughly speaking, the core consists of several basic modules in modern pure mathematics, some differential equations including their use in modelling a variety of simplified real-life problems and calculus in two and three dimensions. The core comprises approximately 75% of the first year and 45-65% of the second year. More detail on the proportions of core and optional modules allowed in each year can be found in the "Regulations" section.
The Department caters (among others) for students in the following categories:
- Those whose main interest is pure mathematics.
- Those who intend to specialise in applied mathematics.
- Those who want to combine some pure or applied mathematics courses (perhaps as little as 50%) with a selection from a wide area of studies, not necessarily related to mathematics.
If, as you read this, you don't know which category you will fit in, don't worry. You will have plenty of time to decide. We hope to provide you with enough guidance while at Warwick so that you can understand the system and apply it to your own purposes.
The 4 year MMath degree course
The Master of Mathematics (MMath) course is a 4-year degree course that was set up following an initiative of the London Mathematical Society. The rationale for the 4-year degree is that there is a national need for more graduates in mathematics with a qualification higher than that provided by a 3-year degree, and comparable with the 4- or 5-year first degree courses common in Europe.
The first two years of the degree are in common with those of the BSc course although more mathematics is required in Year 2. The MMath course replaces Year 3 of the BSc with two years of more substantial and specialised mathematics.
You may enrol in the MMath course through UCAS. In addition, students on the BSc course may apply to transfer to the MMath any time during their first two years. If you are at all interested in transferring to the MMath course, you are strongly encouraged to apply before starting Year 2. Transfer from the MMath to the 3 year BSc course is straightforward before the end of Year 2, and is permitted during Year 3, Term 1.
To remain on the MMath course after Year 2, a student must average good 2.1 marks from the best 90 CATS from Core and List A maths modules in the 2nd Year examinations. Analysis of marks from previous years has shown that MMath students who obtain less than 65% in year one rarely achieve this target in year two. In addition they make life difficult for themselves in trying to meet the MMath target since they have a larger load of math modules. MMath students who achieve less than 65% in year one are strongly encouraged to switch to the three year bachelors degree. However students on the bachelor degree who achieve this target at the end of Year 2 are invited to transfer to the MMath if they have studied the appropriate modules in Year 2.
MMath students with adequate language skills may be allowed to replace the third year of the MMath degree by an equivalent year of study at a European university (see information on MMath with Study in Europe).
An MMath student whose Year 3 mark is under 55%, or whose best 90 CATS of MA3 or MA4 modules is less than 55%, can be required to graduate with a BSc by the Exam Board. Such marks suggest that they would almost certainly find Year 4 too hard.
Since funding for UK students to take a non-vocational MSc was phased out, the MMath has become the standard route to follow for students interested in studying for a PhD degree.
There are also a number of Joint Degrees within the Mathematics Department as well as courses run by other departments which have a large overlap with ours. Transfer between courses is possible with the agreement of the departments concerned and necessary prerequisites having been taken.
What Can You Gain From A Mathematics Degree?
During your Mathematics Degree, you will be given opportunities to develop many skills. Some of these are specifically related to mathematics, and some have relevance outside it. Those skills that can be used in other contexts - such as the ability to solve problems, communicate well, learn quickly, organise your time - are called transferable skills.