Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Mathematics

Why choose Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the UK's top 10 universities for mathematics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Our broad-ranging research supports advanced courses including analysis, algebra and geometry, and applied topics such as statistics, operational research, finance, data science and mathematical biology.

  • We invest greatly in our learning community. You will be supported by MathPALs, higher-year students who will provide help and advice. Our MathsBase and Maths Hub provide common areas for socialising and study.

  • Our teaching focuses on fostering interactive engagement that promotes long-term understanding. In early years particularly, you will engage in small group discussion on problems that are answered via online voting systems. We actively encourage collaborative working and use open book exams in early years to emphasise understanding.

  • There are many opportunities to develop your skills and CV alongside academic work. Our outreach team leads projects such as building a fractal from 40,000 business cards and assembling mathematical artwork for an exhibition. You can become a MathsPal or Student Ambassador, or apply for one of our project scholarships to work with a lecturer during the summer or get involved with external projects such as Hyperloop One.

Study abroad

The programme helps you develop time management, problem solving, communication and teamworking skills. The University has links with many graduate employers and offers ways to help you prepare for a career.

Thomas Gant 2nd year MMath
Thomas Gant 2nd year MMath

Mathematics is central to everyday life and to the way we see the world. It is an intellectual adventure in its own right but it is also used to understand the physical world - from gravitational waves to global warming - and to find solutions in business and industry.

All of our students take the same compulsory courses in their early years and it is normally possible to switch between our different programmes in Years 1 and 2. Due to this flexibility, we recommend applying for only one of our programmes.

In later years you can choose from our wide range of courses in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, operational research and financial mathematics.

Broad and accelerated programmes

All of our programmes can be taken in broad form, where you will also study other subjects in Years 1 and 2. These may be in related areas such as physics or informatics, or from the wide range offered across the University. On a broad programme, the BSc and MA take four years and the MMath takes five.

For some programmes, well-prepared applicants can choose Year 2 entry and follow an accelerated programme which concentrates on mathematics from the outset. We support this with extra mathematics courses covering the key ideas from the Year 1 programme.

Year 1

You will take the compulsory courses Linear Algebra, Calculus and Proofs & Problem-Solving. These are common to all our programmes and will take up half of your timetable.

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

You will also take courses in subjects other than mathematics.

You will receive support from MathsBase, our popular walk-in help centre, and from our Student Learning Advisor.

Year 2

You will spend between half and two thirds of your time on mathematics.

You will take compulsory courses in pure mathematics, extending your knowledge of calculus, probability and analysis, and will be introduced to the abstract ideas of group theory. Other topics include statistics and applied mathematics.

From this year onwards you can use the Maths Hub, our student-run facility that is both a social centre and a work space.

Year 3

You will focus on the main subjects of your programme. You will receive an excellent grounding in advanced mathematics, preparing you for the options available later in your programme.

Year 4

You will have a wide range of mathematics courses to choose from and you can follow a programme that suits your particular interests and career aspirations. We offer a large selection of courses in pure and applied mathematics, statistics and operational research.

You can take options in areas such as mathematical education, financial mathematics and mathematical biology. Current course titles include Fundamentals of Optimization, Algebraic Geometry and Multivariate Data Analysis. You will have the opportunity to complete a project that will allow you to research a topic in depth.

Year 5

During this year you will take courses at masters level. You will also complete a substantial project. (MMath only)

Are there additional costs?

You should expect to purchase necessary textbooks for some compulsory and option components of your programme.

Our facilities

In Year 1, classes typically take place in the University's Central Area. In subsequent years, teaching will take place at the School of Mathematics, located at the University's King's Buildings.

You will have access to the University's extensive libraries and computer facilities.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad through University-wide exchange programmes. Students have recently completed placements in California, Miami and Hong Kong.

How will I learn?

You will be taught mainly through lectures, workshops and tutorials. In Year 1 lectures are usually interactive; lecturers use online voting systems and encourage small group discussion to improve your understanding of core material. You can also work with other students in the MathsBase, with tutors on hand to answer questions, and there are also regular MathPALs study sessions led by higher-year students.

We encourage students to work together throughout their studies and to engage with lecturers and tutors outside of timetabled classes. Our Student Learning Adviser will offer advice on study skills throughout your programme.

How will I be assessed?

Most courses involve regular coursework as well as a final exam, while some will involve producing a group report or giving a presentation. Some will be assessed entirely by coursework.

Our graduates have a range of careers open to them. The logical and analytical abilities, together with the presentation and practical problem-solving skills you will develop, are sought by employers.

Many recent graduates have been employed by large firms in the financial sector. Others have gone into fields including software engineering, logistics, education and civil service.

We regularly invite alumni back to the School to share their experiences with students and to showcase the breadth of careers available to maths graduates.

There are many opportunities within the School for you to develop your skills and enhance your CV. 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 MathsPAL and support Year 1 students; or apply for a project scholarship and work with a lecturer during the summer.