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A Guide to Postgraduate Maths

Thinking about taking a degree in mathematics at the postgraduate level? Not sure where to start? Then you're in the right place – we have created this subject guide to mathematics to help students achieve their postgraduate education goals in the topic.

This subject offers up a wealth of fascinating areas or study as well as a variety of job opportunities for sucessful graduates. The skills developed on these courses can also be used in a wide range of industries and sectors, making it a value degree to pursue. 

Read on to find out more about postgraduate mathematics programmes, the opportunities the degree can offer and how you can expect to be taught on a course.


Why do a mathematics degree? 

Mathematics is a highly popular subject for postgraduate study, as it has a lot of scope for development and offers to build knowledge that will be relevant to a wide variety of sectors for decades to come.  

Alongside the mathematical intelligence that the course will develop, you’ll strengthen a host of other skills during a mathematics degree. You’ll learn how to be more analytical and interpret difficult data, which will improve your decision making and problem-solving skills. Time management, organisation, communication and teamwork competency will also play a part. 

The combination of transferable skills and mathematical expertise will make you an attractive prospect for companies looking to hire proficient employees in related and unrelated careers.  

What qualifications can you get? 

There are a variety of qualifications that students can get in mathematics, depending on previous experience in the subject and the desired career route they are looking to take. 

Students wanting to take a traditional style of course will be to get a taught master’s degree in mathematics. These can cover a general selection of topics within the subject or can be more specific on certain topics if a student has a particular interest in data science or statistics, for example. These courses are mostly MSc degrees, though some MA degrees are available. 

Research-based degrees are also available for mathematics, including Mres, PhD and doctorate programmes. These will offer students the chance to make developments in their chosen field and operate with a stronger sense of independence compared to other qualifications. 

Students looking to quickly gain knowledge and experience in mathematics should look to take a PGDip or PGCert, as these courses are much shorter than others. 

What jobs can you do with a mathematics degree? 

Mathematics graduates are highly valued in a number of industries. Many students go on to work in the financial sector, taking advantage of their skill and understanding of numbers and data. Graduates from PhD courses could use their expertise to aim for a career in scientific research. A host of IT companies are always looking for accomplished mathematicians to help develop the latest technology.  

There is also the option for students to help create the next generation of mathematics specialists by becoming a teacher. There are many incentives available for primary and secondary school mathematics teachers, which can make it an attractive opportunity. 

What are the mathematics degree entry requirements? 

Although the requirements change based on the university and the type of course you want to do, ideally you need some sort of mathematical background to do join a mathematics postgraduate programme. This could include qualifications in subjects like physics, engineering or computer science. It’s likely that you’ll need a 2:1 degree to get a place on a mathematics master’s or PhD course in a related field. 

What mathematics courses are there? 

When looking for a mathematics degree, you will find there are several different types of course you can take. These can range from generic mathematics programmes to ones that focus on particular areas of the field. Here are a few examples of the courses you could take... 

  • Mathematics MSc 
  • MSc Applied Mathematical Sciences 
  • Mathematical Trading and Finance MSc 
  • Mathematical Modelling (Fluid Dynamics) MSc 
  • Data Analytics MSc 

What topics does a mathematics degree cover? 

The topics covered on a mathematics postgraduate degree can vary from university to university. To give you an idea of what you could be study, take a look at these modules below... 

  • Mathematical Ecology 
  • Statistical Modelling in Space and Time 
  • Stochastic Calculus and Pricing Derivatives 
  • Partial Differential Equations 
  • Quantitative Data Analysis 

How will you be taught and assessed? 

Many mathematics postgraduate courses will rely on lectures and coursework to help develop skills and knowledge in the subject. Students can also expect to do their own research into different areas of mathematics, particularly those doing a PhD or doctorate. Some courses will feature placements in different industries to help students get an idea for how their work can be applied across sectors and in businesses. Assessments can take the form of coursework, examinations and dissertations. 

How long is a mathematics degree? 

The length of a mathematics degree will vary depending on the qualification it awards as well as whether it’s being studied full-time or part-time. Master’s degrees can take one or two years, while PhDs can take four or more years. If studied part-time, it is likely to take double the amount of time to complete the course. 

Where can you study mathematics? 

Mathematics is a popular subject at the postgraduate level, so there are many universities which offer courses in it. To browse all the available universities and courses, please use our handy University Search tool or Course Search tool. 

What similar subjects are there to mathematics? 

If mathematics isn’t quite the right subject for you, but you’d still like to study in the same sort of area, take a look at these subjects instead... 

  • Finance 
  • Physics 
  • Computer Science 
  • Engineering 
  • Accountancy 

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