Mathematics

  • UCAS Code: G100 BA/Math
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3-4 years
  • Places per year: 5-6

The Cambridge Mathematics course is one of the most successful in the world for producing mathematicians and theoretical physicists. It is intensive, demands systematic hard work, and is immensely rewarding. The demand for our mathematicians is high in business, commerce and industry, as well as the academic world.

Lecture courses are taught by some of the world’s top mathematicians, and you will receive both unparalleled learning support and outstanding pastoral care.

Course Overview

If you are prepared to work hard on lots of new mathematics and in three years want to be the best mathematician you have the potential to be, then this is the choice for you.

The Cambridge Mathematics course is often considered to be the most demanding undergraduate Mathematics course available in Britain and, correspondingly, one of the most rewarding.

Two aspects of the course that our students greatly appreciate are its flexibility and the breadth of subjects offered. The amount of choice increases each year, and after year 1 the workload isn’t fixed, so you can choose the number of options you study to suit your own work pattern. Some students take as many options as they can; others take fewer and study them very thoroughly.

How You Learn

In Year 1, you typically have 12 lectures and two supervisions each week. In the following years, the greater choice and flexibility means that the pattern of lectures and supervisions is more irregular, but the average load is roughly the same.

You sit four written examination papers each year in the first three years. In addition, there are optional computer projects in Years 2 and 3. In the fourth year, each course is examined individually, and you have the option of submitting an essay on a current research topic.

In the first year, there are two options to choose from:

  • Pure and Applied Mathematics, for students intending to continue with Mathematics
  • Mathematics with Physics, for students who may want to study Physics after the first year

You will be asked to indicate which option you wish to take as part of the application process, though it’s possible to change when you start the course. You can still continue with Mathematics in the second year if you take Mathematics with Physics

A Day in the Life of a Maths Student

I usually get up around 9:30, have some coffee and toast, and get ready for lectures at 10am! In my first year I’ve got two a day, every day except Sundays. They’ve been online for me so far, with lecturers filming in lecture theatres, making handwritten notes, or writing out the content digitally. Although I haven’t yet had the *full university experience* of in person lectures, the ability to pause or put something on 1.5x speed is a blessing!

I then go for lunch around 12:45pm, either cooking something (noodles) myself, or going to get hall food. It’s all really good, but the meal that shines above all the rest is the vegetable ravioli, I am obsessed. I’ll then get back to my staircase to find my friends accumulating in the corridor for a nice lunch chat!

Depending on how much work I have to do, I might then go to the library from 1:30-4:30pm. The Jerwood is probably my favourite place in college! I’m always at my most productive in there, it’s cosy and there’s a lovely view of the Cam! As a mathmo (Cambridge term for a maths student), the work I’m almost always doing is example sheets, and on average, I’ll do two a week corresponding to my two supervisions per week. Supervisions for maths are essentially an hour of going over the example sheet and whichever areas you or the supervisor thinks is useful.

By this point, I’ll still have a bit more work to do for the day so I’ll continue answering example sheet questions from around 5-6pm. Then, at or after 6 is time for dinner: again, usually hall food! Ordering Domino’s is also a frequent occurrence. As long as I’m not behind on work, my evening is then free for hanging out with my staircase and watching Twilight (not my choice!). When we’re not watching Twilight, we might instead go for a late night walk or just gather for a chat and a drink!

Typical Offer Conditions

A-Level:

A*A*A

IB

41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Other:

See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

STEP:

All offers include certain grades in STEP Mathematics – this is most commonly 1,1 in Papers II and III. Depending on individual circumstances, we may make an A Level applicant an offer which will be met if they achieve either A*A*A with at least grade 1 in two STEP papers or A*A*A* with at least grade 1 in one of the two STEP papers taken.

Subject Requirements 

Essential:

A-Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics/IB Higher Level Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches), STEP

Desirable:

A-Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics (or Mathematics and Further Mathematics, including the section on Mechanics)/IB Higher Level Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches) and IB Higher Level Physics, STEP

 

Written Work

None.

Admissions Assessment

None.

STEP Resources

A collection of free online STEP Preparation resources is available to help potential university applicants prepare for sitting STEP Mathematics examinations.

These resources have been designed as a series of linked modules for individual additional study. The programme is aimed at maths students who have completed the first year of A-level or equivalent study: students can start working on them from the summer after the end of Year 12 (past STEP candidates often say they wished they had started preparation early), but equally it is possible to start later and catch up.

Each module consists of problems, articles, worked examples, advice for STEP candidates and much more. By working through these modules, students will learn and practise the problem-solving skills and new mathematical techniques needed for STEP, and have a good idea of what to expect by the time they sit the exam at the end of Year 13.

Free Maths Resource

Stephen Siklos’s Advanced Problems in Mathematics is a useful resource for teachers and students and is free to read online and download. The questions analysed in this book are all based on recent STEP questions selected to address the syllabus for Papers I and II, which is the A-level core (i.e. C1 to C4) with a few additions. Each question is followed by a comment and a full solution. The comments direct the reader’s attention to key points and put the question in its true mathematical context. The solutions point students to the methodology required to address advanced mathematical problems critically and independently. This book is recommended as preparation for any undergraduate mathematics course, even for students who do not plan to take the Sixth Term Examination Paper.