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MORSE and MathStat: Frequently asked questions

Here we give brief answers to some of the questions that are commonly asked by prospective students who are considering MORSE or Mathematics and Statistics. (These are two rather different degree programmes! But many of the most commonly asked questions have essentially the same answer for each.)


What is the 'OR' in MORSE?

In a nutshell: Operational Research (O.R.) is about applying advanced analytic methods to help make better decisions. O.R. is a science that is very much in demand in industry, health service provision, and many other areas; it is a mathematical discipline that draws upon methods from statistics and various parts of pure mathematics. For more information, please see our pamphlet, What is Operational Research? (PDF Document)

Do I need A-level Economics?

No. We do not require or assume any previous training in Economics. If you have read some Economics, though, it will probably help you a bit with some of the first-year work. (Note that you don't need A-level Economics even if you want to study straight Economics at most top universities, including Warwick.)

Will employers know about MORSE?

Yes. The MORSE degree programme has been enormously successful ever since it began in the mid 1970s — attracting very able students, and producing graduates who are in strong demand among major employers worldwide. The Warwick MORSE "brand" benefits from the general strength of Warwick's Mathematics, Statistics and Economics Departments and of Warwick Business School, and is also by now very well established in its own right. Companies in the actuarial, management consultancy, investment banking and other finance-related sectors are among the major employers of MORSE graduates; but the breadth of MORSE and the fact that it has Mathematics at its core means that the range of graduate opportunities is exceptionally wide.

Are MORSE and MMORSE recognised by leading graduate schools?

Yes. Graduates from MORSE and (especially) MMORSE are very much in demand for Masters and PhD programmes at top universities in Europe, North America and more widely. Around 30% of recent MORSE/MMORSE graduates have gone on to postgraduate study. Feedback on our graduates is exceptionally positive — here's a recent example, which also indicates the continuing strong demand:

  "I am wondering how we can attract more MMORSE students to our PhD in Management 
Science and Operations here at Cambridge. One of my own students --- (name
deleted) --- is an MMORSE alumnus and has just finished his first PhD year. It
is clear that your programme is an excellent preparation for our PhD in
operations. It would be great to get more students like him to apply to our

(from Professor Stefan Scholtes, Director of the PhD Programme, Judge Business School, Cambridge, August 2012.)


Why would I choose MathStat rather than MORSE or straight Mathematics?

The range of opportunities for graduates with high levels of skill in statistical methods continues to be enormous (for example, in medical and other scientific research, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, information technology companies, government, education, etc. — as well as the actuarial, banking and finance sectors). For students who wish to master probability and statistics but without MORSE's clear emphasis (from the outset) on economics/business/finance, Mathematics and Statistics is the ideal course. Few if any other universities in the UK, indeed in the world, offer such a deep and varied undergraduate degree course specializing in these most highly sought-after areas of mathematical science. As well as having very strong employment prospects, MathStat and MMathStat graduates — like their MORSE and MMORSE counterparts — are also in great demand in the world's top graduate schools.


I am interested in both Mathematics and Statistics and MORSE. And the new Data Science course is also a consideration. Should I apply for all?

No. Admission criteria are similar for all our courses, and it is possible to change your registration at any time up to arrival at Warwick. You can only get an offer for one of our courses. You do not increase your chances for getting an offer by applying for several courses. (Because we have a cap on the total number of offers, not on the numbers for the individual degrees.) It is usually straight forward for offer-holder to transfer between the courses. If you are still unsure when you get here, this is a good question to discuss with your personal tutor, as changes between our degrees are relatively easy during the first year as long as you plan ahead in terms of module choices. Overseas students need to be aware that they have to make their final choice already on their visa application, though.

I am unsure whether to apply for the 3-year BSc course or the 4-year Integrated Masters. Should I apply for both?

No. Admission criteria are the same, and it is possible to change your registration. Our advice if you are in doubt is to apply for the 4-year course, largely because that usually makes life easier (for you!) in regard to applications for funding.

For EU students, considerations around the consequences of the planned Brexit and its implication on tuition fees and the potential introduction of visa processes may also be relevant for the decision whether to apply for a 3- or a 4-year degree. The University of Warwick has a page on tuition fees updates for EU students. In the past, they have guaranteed tuition fees for the entire time of the degree the student enrolled for, but updates need to be monitored. We also have no information what happens if an EU student who started under these conditions on a 3 year degree course was to extend their course from 3 to 4 years at a later stage. This may concern both tuition fees and and residency rights, most of which is not under the control of the Universities but under the control of the UK government. It is therefore advisable for EU-students to take the implications of this into consideration when deciding between 3 or 4 years, and that they think carefully about postponed entry and gap years or anythings else that may affect their starting time and length of stay at a UK university.

Can I change between the 3-year and the 4-year versions of a course?

Changes between the three-year and four-year version of the MORSE and of the MathStat degree are possible up to the beginning of the third year. Progression to the integrated master’s is subject to academic performance, and a transfer from the third to fourth year versions may additionally require appropriate module choice, in particular in the second year.

Overseas students will need to make changes to their visa when changing their degree course and in some cases (e.g. changing from a three-year to a four-year course), apply for a new visa from their home country. For updates and details on the process and deadlines, consult the Immigration Office.

For EU students, after Brexit, changes from the 3- to the 4-year version of a course may have implications for fees and for the right to reside in the UK - see previsous question for more information.

Where can I find lists of modules I would be able to take in the course?

See under "Study" on our Undergrad course page.

What about actuarial exemptions?

We have an agreement with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries whereby our students may gain exemptions from the Institutes professional examinations by taking the relevant modules and performing well enough. Students who take all the modules we offer that lead to an exemption and do well enough would gain 7 exemptions (possibly increasing to 8 next year). All students in the Statistics department are eligible for exemptions, but only students on the four year MMORSE will have the opportunity to take the full range of modules and thereby potentially gain all 7 exemptions. Exemptions from the professional actuarial examinations are not given automatically. The actuarial profession only awards exemptions if a student has achieved a satisfactory overall performance as well as a satisfactory performances in the relevant University modules.

I am wondering how best to present my UCAS Personal Statement, because some/most of the other courses I'm considering are straight Maths. What advice can you give?

Don't worry! Both Mathematics and Statistics and MORSE are fundamentally mathematical degree courses (but carefully designed for students who wish to learn the kind of mathematics that is directly relevant to the wider world of commerce, science, government, etc.). Interest in probability and statistical methods is highly desirable of course, but a key quality found in our most successful students is general ability in Mathematics. If your personal statement emphasizes mainly or exclusively your mathematical interests and achievements, that is likely to count positively.

Will I get an interview?

No. If you are offered a place you will be invited to take part in one of our offer-holder visit days. (Most likely to take place in March).

What kind of conditional offer can I expect?

We aim to make conditional offers that can be met in a variety of ways, but all with clearly demonstrated ability in Mathematics as a core element. The precise offer made will depend on the qualifications being taken by each applicant. Information about typical current offers

Does it matter whether I apply before or after October 15th?

Not to us: we treat each application on its merits. Date of application is not one of our criteria. Applying very late in the UCAS season, though — close to the January deadline — is likely to be stressful for you!

Why should I do a STEP or an AEA paper?

Students planning on entering any of our degrees are strongly encouraged to take a STEP paper or an AEA paper, for reasons quite separate from our conditional offers. Mathematics at university is more complex and rigorous than mathematics in most schools. Any time that you spend preparing for such papers will help you with this transition. At the same time, after having practiced these harder questions, you should feel even more confident in answering standard A-level questions, thereby boosting your A-level performance. Last but not least, if you do very well on one or more of the STEP papers you may receive a Warwick Statistics Undergraduate Entrance Prize.

What is a STEP and how can I prepare for it?

STEP, or Sixth Term Examination Papers, are usually required for admission to the University of Cambridge and set by Cambridge Assessment. There are 3 papers: STEP I, STEP II and STEP III. STEP I is regarded as easier than STEP II, and STEP III requires knowledge of the Further Mathematics syllabus. We recommend you find out more about these papers and use available material to study for it. Whether you take the paper or not, the preparation for it gives you valuable experience for studying mathematics at university. A good place to start is the STEP Support Programme page, and for more links see our STEP, AEA and Entrance Prizes website. If your school is unable to help you to enter for STEP, or if you are outside the UK, here is where you can find an examination centre for STEP.

What is an AEA paper and how can I prepare for it?

The Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics is a 3-hour examination paper on the pure mathematics syllabus of the single A level in Mathematics. It contains harder questions than those in the A level mathematics examination. The AEA paper in Mathematics is set by the Edexcel examination board on behalf of all the A-level examination boards. It should be available in all examination centres. Further details about the examination and a specimen paper can be found at To help students prepare for the AEA in Mathematics, Warwick Statistics has prepared some extended solutions to past AEA papers.

What is the recommended preparatory reading?

Many new students find that the mathematical parts of these degrees are surprisingly different from the sort of maths they have done previously at school. Reading through this book will help you make the transition to university level mathematics by gently (and humorously) introducing you to rigour and abstraction:

Is it possible to take an intercalated year?

Yes. Many students have enjoyed this option. If you opt for an intercalated year it takes place after your penultimate year, so when you come back you will be in your final year at Warwick. This applies to both MORSE and MathStat degrees and it can be done with either the three-year and the four-year degree option. The benefits of spending an intercalated year in industry include the opportunity to gather in-depth experience which helps making decisions about later career choices and provides the opportunity to build up contacts and open doors for finding a job after graduation. The Careers Office offers support in planning such a year. Spending a year at an overseas university provides a unique opportunity to get to know a different education system and to widen your horizons by living in a different culture and acquiring a foreign language. ERASMUS, a European Union educational scheme, supports Warwick students to participate in such a program; for more information see the university's Study Abroad webpage.