Mathematics | University of Oxford
Mathematics Institute
Inside the Mathematics Institute.
(Credit: Alain Goriely)

Mathematics

UCAS codeG100Duration

3 years (BA)
4 years (MMath)

Entrance requirements

A*A*A with the A*s in Maths and Further Maths if taken

Subject requirements  Maths
  Further Maths
Admissions test(s)ox.ac.uk/matcrossWritten workNone
Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 40%
Successful: 13%
Intake: 182
*3-year average 2016-18

Contact

+44 (0) 1865 615205
Email Maths

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

Mathematicians have always been fascinated by numbers. One of the most famous problems is Fermat’s Last Theorem: if n≥3, the equation xn+yn=zhas no solutions with x, y, z all nonzero integers. An older problem is to show that one cannot construct a line of length 3√2 with ruler and compass, starting with a unit length.

Often the solution to a problem will require you to think outside its original framing. This is true here, and while you will see the second problem solved in your course, the first is far too deep and was famously solved by Andrew Wiles.

In applied mathematics we use mathematics to explain phenomena that occur in the real world. You can learn how a leopard gets its spots, explore quantum theory and relativity, or study the mathematics of stock markets.


We will encourage you to ask questions and find solutions for yourself. We will begin by teaching you careful definitions so that you can construct theorems and proofs. Above all, mathematics is a logical subject, and you will need to think mathematically, arguing clearly and concisely as you solve problems. For some of you, this way of thinking or solving problems will be your goal. Others will want to see what else can be discovered. Either way, it is a subject to be enjoyed.

There are two Mathematics degrees, the three-year BA and the four-year MMath. Decisions regarding continuation to the fourth year do not have to be made until the third year. The first year consists of core courses in pure and applied mathematics (including statistics). Options start in the second year, with the third and fourth years offering a large variety of courses, including options from outside mathematics.

Mathematics Institute students socializing
“The Mathematics course is absolutely fantastic and is essentially problem-solving on a daily basis, which I love. You attend lectures to learn the material and then complete problem sheets on the topics. Certainly, for me, the most rewarding aspect of mathematics is solving problems, especially when they have been initially unyielding, or seemingly unapproachable; and this is right at the core of the course. I chose to read mathematics at university because I have a real passion for the subject, and wanted to gain a deeper understanding of some of the beauty it holds. I’ve found the course has really pushed the boundaries of what I thought I could achieve, which is extremely rewarding.”
CHRIS
 “Studying Mathematics at Oxford has been a massive change from A-Level but I have been really enjoying it, I especially love having tutorials as they are a fantastic opportunity to have work though problems that specifically you and your tutorial partner are having difficulties with and ask questions that allow you to improve yourself as a mathematician.”
BETH

A typical week (Years 1 and 2)

  • Around ten lectures and two-three tutorials or classes a week
  • Additional practicals in computing (first year) and numerical analysis (if taken)

A typical week (Years 3 and 4)

  • Six-ten lectures and two-four classes each week, depending on options taken
  • Compulsory dissertation in the fourth year

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students and a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose. There would usually be around 8-12 students though classes for some of the more popular papers may be larger. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are usually studying at doctorate level. To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure

There are two Mathematics degrees, the three-year BA and the four-year MMath. Decisions regarding continuation to the fourth year do not have to be made until the third year. The first year consists of core courses in pure and applied mathematics (including statistics). Options start in the second year, with the third and fourth years offering a large variety of courses, including options from outside mathematics.

YEAR 1

COURSES

Compulsory Year 1 includes:
  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Probability and statistics
  • Geometry and dynamics
  • Multivariate calculus and mathematical models

ASSESSMENT

First University examinations: five compulsory papers; Computational mathematics projects

YEAR 2

COURSES

  • Compulsory core:
    • Algebra
    • Complex analysis
    • Metric spaces
    • Differential equations
  • Selection from topics including: Algebra; Number theory; Analysis; Applied analysis; Geometry; Topology; Fluid dynamics; Probability; Statistics; Numerical analysis; Graph theory; Special relativity; Quantum theory

ASSESSMENT

Final University examinations, Part A: three core papers and six or seven optional papers

YEARS 3 AND 4

COURSES

  • Large variety, ranging across: Algebra; Applied and numerical analysis; Algebraic and differential geometry; Algebraic and analytic topology; Logic and set theory; Number theory; Applied probability; Statistics; Theoretical and statistical mechanics; Mathematical physics; Mathematical biology; Mathematical geoscience; Networks; Combinatorics; Information theory; Actuarial mathematics; Undergraduate ambassadors scheme; Mathematical philosophy; Computer Science options; History of mathematics
  • A dissertation in Year 4 is compulsory

The options listed above are illustrative and may change. A full list of current options is available on the Maths website.

ASSESSMENT

Year 3: Final University examinations, Part B: eight papers or equivalent

Year 4: Final University examinations, Part C: eight, nine or ten papers or equivalent, including a dissertation

Classification on Parts A and B: currently a 2:1 over Parts A and B, as well as a 2:1 in Part B alone, is required to progress to Part C.

MMathPhys Year 4
The Physics and Mathematics Departments jointly offer an integrated master’s level course in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics. Mathematics students are able to apply for transfer to a fourth year studying entirely mathematical and theoretical physics, completing their degree with an MMathPhys. The course offers research-level training in: Particle physics, Condensed matter physics, Astrophysics, Plasma physics and Continuous media. 
mmathphys.physics.ox.ac.uk

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

Academic requirements 

A-levels:A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken). For those whom Further Mathematics is not available: either A*AAa with A* in Mathematics and a in AS-level Further Mathematics or A*AA with A* in Mathematics.
Advanced Highers:AA/AAB
IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL (the 7 must be in Higher Level Mathematics)
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements

  Essential: 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. 
  Recommended:Further Mathematics is highly recommended.

The majority of those who read Mathematics will have taken both Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A-level (or the equivalent). However, Further Mathematics at A-level is not essential. It is far more important that you have the drive and desire to understand the subject. Our courses have limited formal prerequisites, so it is the experience rather than outright knowledge which needs to be made up. If you gain a place under these circumstances, your college will normally recommend suitable extra preparatory reading for the summer before you start your course.

While AEA and STEP papers are not part of our entry requirements, we encourage applicants to take these or similar extension material, if they are available.

If, and only if, you have chosen to take any science A-levels, we expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

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.

Admissions test

Test: MAT
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:                   6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates must take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for each test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for these tests. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the MAT page

Written work

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

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for a candidate’s potential to succeed on the course. We recommend that candidates challenge themselves with Mathematics beyond their curriculum, question their own understanding, and take advantage of any available extension material. Ultimately, we are most interested in a candidate’s potential to think imaginatively, deeply and in a structured manner about the patterns of mathematics. For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Maths Department website.

Careers

Quantitative skills are highly valued, and this degree prepares students for employment in a wide variety of occupations in the public and private sectors. Around 30% of our graduates go on to further study, but for those who go into a profession, typical careers include finance, consultancy and IT.

Nathan, an engineer, says: ‘During my degree I developed my ability to solve complex problems – a fundamental skill set to tackle challenges I encounter on a day-to-day basis as an engineer. The application of mathematics in engineering and manufacturing is ever increasing, meaning there will be more and more opportunities to find interesting roles in which I can apply my skills.’

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 2019.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£27,240

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

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

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 the academic year starting in 2019 are estimated to be between £1,058 and £1,643 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 tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2019 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of around £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 living costs support.  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 Bursaries and Scholarships 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

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

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose

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