Mathematics and Statistics | University of Oxford
Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematical formulas.
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Mathematics and Statistics

All over the world, human beings create an immense and ever-increasing volume of data, with new kinds of data regularly emerging from science and industry. A new understanding of the value of these data to society has emerged, and, with it, a new and leading role for Statistics. In order to produce sensible theories and draw accurate conclusions from data, cutting-edge statistical methods are needed. These methods use advanced mathematical ideas combined with modern computational techniques, which require expert knowledge and experience to apply. A degree in Mathematics and Statistics equips you with the skills required for developing and implementing these methods, and provides a fascinating combination of deep and mathematically well-grounded method-building and wide-ranging applied work with data.

The Department of Statistics at Oxford is an exciting and dynamic place to study, with teaching and research strengths in a wide range of modern areas of statistical science. Many of its academic staff work in the development of fundamental statistical methodology and probability. There is a strong new research group working on statistical machine learning and scalable methods for Big Data. The department’s world-leading team working on population genetics and evolution applied new statistical methods to huge genetic data sets to unlock the secrets of human genetic variation and disease. Other groups work on applied probability, network analysis, and medical, actuarial and financial applications. These interests are reflected in the lecture courses available to undergraduates in their third and fourth years.

M&S Careers

In recent years, 96% of Mathematics and Statistics graduates were in work or study six months after graduation. The majority have joined the insurance and financial services professions, but there are a wide range of options for graduates whose studies have included a substantial amount of statistics and applied probability. There is great demand for those wishing to work in the relatively new area of data science, whilst careers in fields as diverse as health, technology, education and industry are all possible.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other Mathematics courses or Computer Science.

Course structure

The first year of this course is identical to Mathematics, and the core mathematics part of the degree is completed in the first term of the second year. Mathematics and Statistics students also follow second-year courses in probability and statistics, and the remainder of the second year allows for some choice of topics in preparation for the greater selectivity of the third and fourth years. In the first two years it is usually straightforward to move between the Mathematics course and the Mathematics and Statistics course, subject to the availability of space on the course and to the consent of your college.

There are two Mathematics and Statistics degrees, the three-year BA and the four-year MMath. You will not be asked to choose between the degrees until you are in your third year. All third-and fourth-year mathematical topics available in the Mathematics course are also available to Mathematics and Statistics students. The fourth year is, naturally, more challenging and it provides an opportunity for more in-depth study, including a substantial Statistics project.

A typical weekly timetable

The typical week of a student in Mathematics and Statistics is similar to that for Mathematics:

  • Years 1 and 2: around ten lectures and 2–3 tutorials or classes a week
  • Years 3 and 4: 8–12 lectures and 2–4 classes a week, depending on options taken
  • Courses involving statistical software packages have some lecture hours replaced by teaching sessions in labs.
1st year

Courses

Compulsory 1st year includes:

  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Probability and statistics
  • Geometry and dynamics
  • Multivariate calculus and mathematical models

Assessment

First University examinations:
Five compulsory papers

2nd year

Courses

Current core courses:

  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Algebra and differential equations
  • Metric spaces and complex analysis

Current options:

  • Statistical programming and simulation
  • Selection from a menu of other options in Mathematics

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part A:
Five core papers and four or five optional papers

3rd year

Courses

Current options include:
  • Applied statistics
  • Statistical inference
  • Applied probability
  • Statistical lifetime models
  • Actuarial science
  • Mathematical finance
  • Wide range of other options in Mathematics

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part B:
The equivalent of eight written papers including assessed practicals

4th year (extended terms)

Research

  • Statistics project
  • Advanced options ranging across probability and statistics, pure and applied mathematics, and statistical genetics
The options listed above are illustrative and may change. A full list of current options is available on the Mathematics and Statistics websites.

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part C: Project and papers (or equivalent) in ratio 3:5
Upper second required to progress to Part C.

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Candidates are expected to have Mathematics to A-level (A* grade), Advanced Higher (A grade), Higher Level in the IB (score 7) or another equivalent. Further Mathematics is highly recommended.

All candidates must also take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) as part of their application. Please see how to apply for further details.  

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2016.

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU£9,000£0£9,000
Islands
(Channel Islands
& Isle of Man)
£9,000£0£9,000
Overseas£16,280£7,135£23,415

For more information please refer to our tuition fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for 2016/17 are estimated to be between £970 and £1,433 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A full loan is available from the UK government to cover tuition fees for students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your tuition fees up front.

In 2016 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less.  This support is available in addition to the government grants and loans.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford support page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Mathematics and Statistics

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Written work

You do not need to submit any written work when you apply for this course.

Written test

All candidates must take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), normally at their own school or college on 2 November 2016. Candidates must make sure they are available to take the test at this time. Separate registration for this test is required and the final deadline for entries is 15 October 2016. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. See www.matoxford.org.uk for further details.

What are tutors looking for?

In order to succeed in the Mathematics and Statistics degree, students need to have a strong aptitude for mathematics. The criteria applied at admissions are entirely comparable to those applied to the Mathematics degree, and we refer you to the Mathematics entry.

Selection criteria

Candidates may wish to refer to the selection criteria for Mathematics.

Suggested reading

Reading lists for prospective Mathematics and Statistics applicants can be found in the departmental prospectus, available to download from the Maths Department website.

Apply

Aletta Warne, 2nd year

Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.

Henry, 1st year

'I find the range of practical applications for statistics really appealing. I heard a talk about the uses of statistics at a Maths open day, and immediately knew that this would be the right course for me.

I have lectures in both pure and applied maths each week, and then have problem sheets that I have to prepare for my tutorials. It’s great fun to try and solve a variety of different problems using newly learnt skills. I have a tutor for each of the five subjects that I’m studying this term, and about three tutorials a week, so the work is pretty intense. As the groups are so small, each tutorial can be tailored precisely to what you don’t understand, making it a very efficient way of learning.

I love being part of a friendly college because belonging to a relatively small community makes the University seem less daunting. Each college has its own character and you soon get to know the people in your college. As everyone is studying different subjects, it certainly makes for some varied conversations over dinner!

I play the trumpet with two different orchestras, which is a great way to meet people outside my college, and a good chance to relax. I’m also a member of the Maths Society. It organises talks every week, and it's a good opportunity to see where the various courses we are studying can lead.'

Ellis, who graduated in 2008

He is now a strategist for Macquarie Capital Securities Limited. He says:   

‘I have been working as a strategist in Hong Kong since June 2008 where I am involved in equity index sales, portfolio trading and trading models. The invaluable educational background from my degree gives a fair justification for my strong analytical and quantitative skills.’

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provide a lot of numbers about the Oxford experience – but there is so much about what you get here that numbers can’t convey. It’s not just the quantity of the Oxford education that you need to consider, there is also the quality – let us tell you more.

Oxford’s tutorial system

Regular tutorials, which are the responsibility of the colleges, are the focal point of teaching and learning at Oxford. The tutorial system is one of the most distinctive features of an Oxford education: it ensures that students work closely with tutors throughout their undergraduate careers, and offers a learning experience which is second to none.

A typical tutorial is a one-hour meeting between a tutor and one, two, or three students to discuss reading and written work that the students have prepared in advance. It gives students the chance to interact directly with tutors, to engage with them in debate, to exchange ideas and argue, to ask questions, and of course to learn through the discussion of the prepared work. Many tutors are world-leaders in their fields of research, and Oxford undergraduates frequently learn of new discoveries before they are published.

Each student also receives teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. But the tutorial is the place where all the elements of the course come together and make sense. Meeting regularly with the same tutor – often weekly throughout the term – ensures a high level of individual attention and enables the process of learning and teaching to take place in the context of a student’s individual needs.

The tutorial system also offers the sustained commitment of one or more senior academics – as college tutors – to each student’s progress. It helps students to grow in confidence, to develop their skills in analysis and persuasive argument, and to flourish as independent learners and thinkers.

More information about tutorials

The benefits of the college system

  • Every Oxford student is a member of a college. The college system is at the heart of the Oxford experience, giving students the benefits of belonging to both a large and internationally renowned university and a much smaller, interdisciplinary, college community.
  • Each college brings together academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and college staff. The college gives its members the chance to be part of a close and friendly community made up of both leading academics and students from different subjects, year groups, cultures and countries. The relatively small size of each college means that it is easy to make friends and contribute to college life. There is a sense of belonging, which can be harder to achieve in a larger setting, and a supportive environment for study and all sorts of other activities.
  • Colleges organise tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and one or more college tutors will oversee and guide each student’s progress throughout his or her career at Oxford. The college system fosters a sense of community between tutors and students, and among students themselves, allowing for close and supportive personal attention to each student’s academic development.

It is the norm that undergraduates live in college accommodation in their first year, and in many cases they will continue to be accommodated by their college for the majority or the entire duration of their course. Colleges invest heavily in providing an extensive range of services for their students, and as well as accommodation colleges provide food, library and IT resources, sports facilities and clubs, drama and music, social spaces and societies, access to travel or project grants, and extensive welfare support. For students the college often becomes the hub of their social, sporting and cultural life.

More about Oxford’s unique college system and how to choose a college