Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Mathematics

UCAS code: G102

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing MA Mathematics

Mathematics at university encourages you to think in an entirely different way.

You will develop a rigorous mindset and be introduced to new mathematical concepts not explored at school level.

By the end of your programme, you will specialise in an area of your particular mathematical interest.

This new way of approaching and analysing complex problems is a particularly valuable skill, applicable to many exciting career paths. This makes mathematics graduates extremely employable.

The MA Mathematics programme combines the study of mathematics with an art or humanities subject, of your choice, selected from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.

In Years 1 and 2, you will spend up to half of your time studying your chosen arts or humanities subject; you will spend the rest of your time on mathematics.

From Year 3 onwards, you will study mathematics only. You can choose to specialise in a particular aspect of mathematics or study courses across the broad range offered by our School.

Why study MA Mathematics?

Whilst very similar to our BSc Mathematics programme, there are some subtle differences:

  • your outside subject must be selected from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • your outside subject should be the same in Years 1 and 2

If you would prefer more flexibility and variety with your outside subjects, you may prefer the BSc Mathematics programme.

Flexibility between BSc and MA

Provided you take the appropriate outside subjects, it is easy to switch between the BSc and the MA programmes once you are enrolled at the University.

From Year 3 onwards, our BSc and MA programmes are the same.

Note: this degree is an undergraduate degree and not a masters degree.

If you would like to study for a masters degree, please see our MMath integrated masters programme. Or you may consider completing an MSc degree after your undergraduate degree.

(Revised 15 April 2024 to remove the ‘Only apply to one Mathematics programme’ section from the introduction)

This is a four-year programme.

In your first two years, you will study mathematics alongside your chosen arts, humanities or social sciences subject. At this stage, the mathematics courses are compulsory. This allows you to develop as a well-rounded mathematician and widens your options for specialisation later on.

In the final two years of your programme, you will study mathematics only.

Year 3 is where you can begin to specialise in an area of mathematics, while still taking some core compulsory courses. This gives you free choice of courses in Year 4 when you can specialise in your particular area of interest.

Please note: the courses below may be subject to change.

Year 1

You will take a number of compulsory mathematics courses. These have previously included:

  • Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • Calculus and its Applications
  • Proofs and Problem Solving

These are common to all our mathematics programmes and will take up half of your timetable.

They build on your knowledge of pure mathematics and introduce you to the more rigorous ways of mathematical thinking required at university level.

Optional courses

The remainder of your timetable will mostly be made up of your chosen subject from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

We also offer optional mathematics courses, such as:

  • Introduction to Data Science, where you will learn to collect and explore data, before using models and predictions to make rigorous conclusions.

  • Fundamentals of Algebra and Calculus, an online, introductory course that provides extra preparation in key topics from advanced high school level mathematics and supports your transition to university.

Year 2

In Year 2, you will spend between half and two-thirds of your time on mathematics.

You will study a number of compulsory courses that will extend your knowledge of calculus, probability and analysis and introduce you to the abstract ideas of group theory. They also cover topics in statistics and applied mathematics. Compulsory courses have previously included:

  • Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics
  • Several Variable Calculus and Differential Equations
  • Statistics
  • Computing and Numerics
  • Probability

Optional and outside courses

You will spend the rest of your time studying your chosen outside subject.

You may also choose to study Facets of Mathematics, our optional Year 2 course. In this course, you will explore the wide range of applications of mathematics, and develop your skills in teamwork and presenting mathematics. It is assessed by coursework only.

Year 3

From this year onwards, you will focus on the main subjects of your programme.

You will study a number of compulsory mathematics courses. These have previously included:

  • Honours Algebra
  • Honours Analysis
  • Honours Complex Variables
  • Honours Differential Equations

These courses provide an excellent grounding in advanced mathematics and prepare you for the options available later on.

Each honours course contains a skills component. This enables you to develop valuable employability skills such as:

  • programming
  • group work
  • presentation skills

Optional courses

The rest of your time will be spent studying other courses from the School of Mathematics. This is when you will begin to specialise and narrow your mathematical focus.

Previous optional courses have included:

  • Financial Mathematics
  • Introduction to Number Theory
  • Statistical Computing

Year 4

In Year 4, you will complete at least one of the following:

  • a research project
  • our Mathematical Education course
  • our Statistical Case Studies course

Research project

Completing the project allows you to research a topic in-depth. You can do this as a group or individually.

Mathematical Education course

You will learn about the theories of learning and teaching mathematics. Then you will put your knowledge into practice; complete short placements at local primary schools or organise revision sessions for local Advanced Higher students.

Statistical Case Studies course

This course allows you to undertake consultancy-style projects as part of a team. Projects will focus on data analysis problems that use complex, real-world data.

Optional courses

You will also choose from a wide range of mathematics courses to create a programme that suits your particular interests and career aspirations.

Our course offering is influenced by our School's varied research interests. We offer a large selection of courses in:

  • pure mathematics
  • applied mathematics
  • statistics
  • operational research
  • financial mathematics
  • mathematical biology
  • mathematical education

To find out more about the School of Mathematics' broad ranging research interests, take a look at our Researchers on Record video series.

Researchers on Record | School of Mathematics (YouTube video)

Previous course options have included:

  • General Topology
  • Numerical Ordinary Differential Equations and Applications
  • Stochastic Modelling
  • Entrepreneurship in the Mathematical Sciences

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

The School of Mathematics is based in the James Clerk Maxwell Building at the King's Buildings campus. Your mathematics teaching will take place at the King's Buildings campus throughout your degree.

Note: your outside subject in Years 1 and 2 may be taught on another campus, and so you may need to travel between campuses for classes.

Take a virtual tour of our School

You can take a closer look at the School of Mathematics and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Virtual visit – School of Mathematics

Study abroad

You will have opportunities to study abroad through exchange programmes. Our students have recently completed placements in:

  • California
  • Sydney
  • British Columbia

Exchanges are typically taken in Year 3, before returning to Edinburgh to complete Year 4.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Mathematics is taught through a mixture of lectures and workshops.

You will have about 15 hours of teaching each week. However, this varies depending on your year of study and your chosen outside subjects.


In Year 1, lectures are usually interactive; lecturers use online voting systems and encourage small-group discussions to improve your understanding of core material.

These lectures are linked to your subject reading, so you will be familiar with the content before you attend.

Lectures in later years follow a more 'traditional' lecturing style but occasionally include the voting system.


Lectures are supported by small-group workshops. These sessions give you the opportunity to apply the concepts you have learned in lectures and to develop your understanding. You will work with five to six other students, with a tutor on hand to answer questions and support you.


You will have access to broad-ranging support from within the School of Mathematics, including:

  • drop-in Year 1 mathematics support
  • option to take part in our peer-assisted learning scheme, MathPALS
  • Mathematics Student Services team

How will I be assessed?

Mathematics courses are mostly assessed through exams.

In your first and second year, these exams are primarily 'open book' exams, where you can use your textbook and notes. This allows you to concentrate on understanding and using the ideas and concepts involved, rather than memorising procedures.

In later years, there is a mixture of open and closed book exams, depending on the course.

Most mathematics courses have regular assessments throughout the year, both written and online, so you can get feedback on your progress. These typically count for a small part of your course grade.

Later in the degree, there are some courses available which are entirely assessed by coursework, usually in the form of reports, posters, projects or presentations.

Depending on your choice of arts, humanities or social sciences subject, you may complete other types of assessments, such as essays.

As a mathematics graduate, you will have a wide range of careers open to you.

You will develop skills that are highly sought-after by employers:

  • logical and analytic abilities
  • programming
  • data analysis
  • presentation skills
  • practical problem-solving

You will gain complementary skills from your arts subject in Years 1 and 2. This gives you a broader skill set to draw on in the world of work.

Our graduates

Many recent graduates have been employed by large firms in the financial sector. Others have gone into fields including:

  • software engineering
  • logistics
  • education
  • the civil service

Further study is also a popular option. You can progress from this programme into masters or PhD level study in mathematics, or apply your mathematical training to postgraduate study in another subject.

We regularly invite alumni back to share their experiences and showcase the range of careers available to you.

Enhance your CV

Within the School of Mathematics, you will have many opportunities to develop your skills and enhance your CV. For example:

  • Share your love of mathematics by working with the wider community as a member of our Outreach Team.
  • Join our team of Student Ambassadors and enthuse prospective students.
  • Become a MathPALS leader and support Year 1 students.
  • Apply for a project scholarship and work with a lecturer during the summer.

Employability support

You will also be able to access the School’s weekly employability events including:

  • presentations from industry employers
  • alumni careers showcases
  • useful workshops to help you prepare for applying to internships, jobs and further study

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*AA - A*AB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 38 points with 766 at HL - 34 points with 765 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*AB.
  • IB: 32 points with 765 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at A. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. Advanced Higher Mathematics is recommended. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at A*. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (Analysis and approaches only) at 7. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)


We normally make offers to the highest qualified applicants. If competition for places is high this may mean that offers will only be made to applicants who are predicted, or who have achieved, above the single set of grades or the upper grade level in a range. Any conditional offer made may require you to achieve grades above the upper grade level. Therefore, achieving the top of our standard entry requirements does not guarantee a place on the relevant degree.

Please apply for only one degree in the School of Mathematics as we are only able to consider one application to this subject area. You will have the opportunity to switch between programmes in later years provided the required courses have been passed.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Mathematics

Additional costs

You should expect to buy the necessary textbooks for some components of your programme.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering