School of Mathematical Sciences

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Frequently Asked Questions - Undergraduate programmes

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Can you tell me a bit about how your courses are run and how often examinations take place?

For all our courses, students normally study 8 modules per year as 4 modules per semester. The precise choice of modules is determined partly by the course and partly by students' own preferences. Most of our lower-level modules are assessed by a combination of 10% mid-term test and 90% written examination whereas most of our higher-level modules are assessed entirely by a written examination, with the main examinations held in May/June each year. The overall degree classification is based on all modules with a first : second : final year weighting of 1 : 3 : 6 for BSc degrees.

Can you provide me with a bit more information about your degree courses?

There is information about each of our degree courses in our printed prospectus. More complete information, including all the information that we provide for our current undergraduates, is available via QMplus, our Online Learning Environment. In particular, you can access the study programmes for all current Mathematical Sciences degree courses and details of the individual modules in each study programme. (Over the summer, beware that information may be in transition between two academic years, so details may change.) See also the more general Queen Mary information for prospective students.

Do you have a masters degree that can be done after a first degree?

We offer several MSc degrees for graduate students and several 4-year MSci degrees for undergraduate students. The final year of an MSci is similar to a one-year MSc, but an MSc has more taught modules and a longer project.

At the successful completion of the 4-year MSci course, is the student granted a masters degree or is the MSci an equivalent?

On successful completion of our 4-year MSci course a student graduates with an MSci or "Master in Science" (rather than "Master of Science") degree, which is similar to a BSc plus an MSc but is a single integrated degree. An MSci is classified in a similar way to a BSc and students graduate with an MSci in summer, whereas students do not graduate with an MSc until autumn. This is because our MSc includes a 60-credit project that is completed over the summer, whereas our MSci includes a 30-credit project that is completed during the normal academic year in place of taught modules. Hence, an MSc consists of 180 credits, whereas the final year of an MSci consists of 120 credits, as do each of the three previous years.

Is it possible to leave the MSci course after the 3rd year of study? If so, what qualification will be awarded and are there ramifications?

It is possible to leave our MSci course after the 3rd year of study, in which case we would classify the student for a BSc. The only ramification is that if the student leaves the MSci course after our June examination board meeting we would normally not classify them until the following year, when they would have been classified for their MSci if they had not left.

What kind of offer do you give for your degree courses?

We offer most applicants our standard entry requirement; for current details please see our entry requirements web page. If you narrowly miss our offer then we may still confirm your place in August if we have places available.

Does a single or joint honours course have higher workload?

Our modular degree courses mean that all students take 8 modules per year, so the workload is nominally the same for all courses. However, modules in the same discipline reinforce each other, which may make a single honours course slightly easier than a joint honours course.

How do your degree courses involving different combinations of Mathematics, Statistics, Finance, Business Management and Economics compare?

Please see our study programmes for full details, but the main difference is the number of modules taught by another School and which School that is:

  • G1N3 Mathematics with Actuarial Science includes 3 compulsory modules taught by the School of Business and Management;
  • G1N4 Mathematics with Finance and Accounting includes 5 compulsory modules taught by the School of Business and Management;
  • G1N1 Mathematics with Business Management includes 6 compulsory modules taught by the School of Business and Management;
  • GN13 Mathematics, Business Management and Finance includes 8 compulsory modules taught by the School of Business and Management;
  • GL11 Mathematics, Statistics and Financial Economics includes 9 compulsory and other optional modules taught by the School of Economics and Finance.

What are the key differences between GN13 Mathematics, Business Management and Finance and G1N4 Mathematics with Finance and Accounting, and are they single or joint honours courses?

They are both joint honours courses in the sense that they both involve modules taught by the School of Business and Management, but in different proportions; see the previous question.

Is the course GN13 Financial Mathematics offered at another university the same as your course GN13 Mathematics, Business Management and Finance?

UCAS course codes are intended to group broadly similar courses at different universities, but they will never be identical, regardless of whether they have the same course code and/or title.

Is A-level Statistics a suitable entry qualification?

A-level Statistics is not acceptable in place of A-level Mathematics because it does not contain enough pure maths. We require applicants to pass all of the modules C1 to C4 and this range is normally provided only by a full A-level in Mathematics or equivalent. All our courses involve a significant amount of general mathematics although no statistics background is required for any of our courses.

I want to study further to become an actuary after I graduate. Which degrees would you recommend me to study at Queen Mary?

The obvious choice is G1N3 Mathematics with Actuarial Science. However, the main requirement is a good background in mathematics, probability and statistics. Any of our BSc degrees G100 Mathematics, GG31 Mathematics and Statistics, G1N4 Mathematics with Finance and Accounting and GL11 Mathematics, Statistics and Financial Economics, or either of our MSci degrees G1G3 Mathematics with Statistics or GN1H Financial Mathematics would be suitable.

I want to study chartered accountancy after I graduate. Which degrees would you recommend me to study at Queen Mary?

Chartered accountants tell us that they just want bright mathematicians; it is not too important exactly what they study at university. Nevertheless, we offer several modules on Financial Accounting, Actuarial Mathematics and Mathematical Finance, and a large number of modules in probability and statistics, all of which are relevant to accountancy. These modules can be taken within several degree courses, although the most suitable are probably our BSc courses GG31 Mathematics and Statistics, G1N3 Mathematics with Actuarial Science, G1N4 Mathematics with Finance and Accounting and GL11 Mathematics, Statistics and Financial Economics, and our MSci courses G1G3 Mathematics with Statistics and GN1H Financial Mathematics.

What proportion of Queen Mary Mathematical Sciences students graduate with each class of degree?

Recent proportions (per cent) were as follows:

Academic YearProgrammeFirst ClassUpper SecondLower SecondThird/PassTotal
2014/15 Joint/Combined 20.8% 38.3% 32.2% 8.8% 100%
Single 35.9% 19.4% 20.4% 24.3% 100%
2014/15 Total   29.8% 27.1% 25.2% 18.% 100%
2013/14 Joint/Combined 22.6% 28.6% 32.% 16.8% 100%
Single 27.5% 26.6% 20.2% 25.7% 100%
2013/14 Total   25.5% 27.4% 25.1% 22.% 100%
2012/13 Joint/Combined 22.9% 32.5% 18.1% 26.4% 100%
Single 31.6% 27.8% 17.7% 22.8% 100%
2012/13 Total   27.1% 30.3% 17.9% 24.7% 100%

A small proportion of students in each cohort do not graduate immediately, perhaps because they have missed examinations due to extenuating circumstances such as illness or bereavement, but opportunities to sit or resit examinations later allow most such students to graduate the following year, often with good degree classes.

What sort of jobs do Queen Mary Mathematical Sciences students do immediately after graduating?

Queen Mary Mathematical Sciences graduates get interesting and well paid jobs. Here are some examples for recent graduates: banking advisor with American Express; risk analyst with Commerzbank; data analyst with Superdrug; management trainee with Watson Wyatt; general merchandiser with John Lewis. Students sometimes use their degrees to get promotion in an area or business they have worked in on a part-time basis during their studies.

Many graduates go on to study for a PGCE or MSc. The PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education) is the route for a mathematics graduate to follow to become a teacher in primary or secondary education. About half the graduates taking a PGCE did it at the University of London Institute of Education, which is a world-renowned centre for educational research. We currently offer a final-year module intended for students interested in teaching – "Communicating and Teaching Mathematics: the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme".

Why should I take my degree at Queen Mary?

Mathematical Sciences courses at Queen Mary are constructed from fairly small modules (normally 8 per year), which gives great flexibility. We offer a number of different programmes involving mathematics, so you can pick the one that most closely matches your interests, and if your interests change during your studies then you may be able to change your programme. In fact, the first years of many of our degree courses (most of those that do not involve other Schools) are identical. In the second and later years of our courses you have increasing flexibility to choose the modules you take, subject to following a well-defined overall study programme. We are very friendly and supportive of our students. We don't require Further Maths for any of our courses, although it's a good idea to take it if you can. (In fact, we collaborate with the MEI Further Mathematics Support Programme to boost the teaching of Further Maths within the London East region.

What should I read over the summer before starting my degree course?

We don't expect students to buy or read any specific books before the start of the course, although the general interest maths books by authors such as Simon Singh, Martin Gardner, Janna Levin and Ian Stewart are worth reading. You might also like to browse the excellent Plus magazine. (One of the editors, Marianne Freiberger, was a PhD student and then a research fellow in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary.) However, if you want to do some more specific reading then look at the reading lists for our level-4 semester-A modules by clicking on the module codes in our online module list and then clicking on the "Reading list" link at the bottom of each module details page. Our main recommended module texts should be available in the Queen Mary bookshop at the start of each academic year, which is where and when we normally expect most students to obtain their books, although of course you are free to shop elsewhere. We expect all our new students to buy a specific text book (Thomas' Calculus) that covers our calculus courses (Calculus I and II in the first year, and part of Calculus III in the second year) and is tied to an interactive maths web site (MyMathLab). We offer the latest edition of this book plus an access code for the web site at a discount price in September, so it is not advisable to buy it in advance (or secondhand).

Schaum's Outline series of text books are good, and usually available very cheaply from Amazon. The following should be relevant, depending on your chosen course, and should provide useful optional background.

A-level revision (and beyond):

First-year university (and beyond):

Another relevant book is A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics.

What should I revise over the summer before starting my degree course?

If you want to "brush up" your maths before starting at Queen Mary then we suggest you focus on the A-level core maths modules C1–C4, which are all that we really assume, and if you have time continue with some of your other A- or AS-level maths modules. Mechanics is probably the least relevant because none of our first-year mathematics modules involves any mechanics. However, the A-level mechanics modules (M1 and M2) do a very good job of consolidating and reinforcing some core maths such as vectors, differentiation and integration.
There are several revision texts on the market and we suggest you work through some of those, ideally ones that you didn't use for A-level, so that you get a different perspective. You should also be able to access model exam papers from the web sites of the various A-level examining boards together with model solutions. You could work through the exam papers and then check your solutions.
If you want to get some idea of what your first maths modules at Queen Mary will involve then take a look at our online module list, but note that our modules are often revised from one year to the next, so some details may change. The first semester modules Calculus I, Mathematical Structures and Introduction to Probability are compulsory modules taken by all our students. There are links that you can follow to the current lecturers' web sites for each module, which are intended for our current students and usually provide a lot of useful information.

Is all teaching on the Mile End campus?

Currently, all teaching for Mathematical Sciences modules is on the Mile End campus, although some final exams are held off campus nearby. However, it is possible in future that some teaching will be elsewhere.

I'd like a list of all the books that I'm going to need in Year 1 plus the syllabus.

You can access current information online. Look at the study programmes for your course, which will list the 8 modules in the first year. Then look up each module. But we don't expect you to buy all the books listed. It's probably best to wait until the course has started before you buy any books, because recommendations may change from year to year and lecturers normally give advice in their first lecture.

What is your induction programme for new students?

Please look at our undergraduate start of year information in mid September for details of our welcome programme.

Where can I find details of modules that appear in Mathematical Sciences study programmes but are not listed on this web site?

These modules are taught by other Schools and you should be able to find details on the web site for the appropriate School. Most details are also available in the Queen Mary directory of modules.

How many stars did the School of Mathematical Sciences get in the last RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) and how renowned is it world-wide?

You can find answers to questions such as this on our main School web site. In particular, please take a look at our research web pages.

What additional costs are there?

Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences students will normally have to meet these additional costs.