School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Mathematics

Exploring the beauty of mathematics trains you to think systematically and creatively, so you're valuable in today’s economy. Choose the direction you want on our highly flexible course, culminating in a final-year project of your choice. Employers want graduates with work experience, so when you arrive here, ask about our placements programme. Science, engineering, finance, government and medicine – as a mathematics graduate you stand to enter a rewarding career in a sector that interests you.

We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2017 return showing overall satisfaction for 100 per cent of our students. 98 per cent of students said our staff are good at explaining things, with 97 per cent finding the course intellectually stimulating, well organised and run smoothly.*

Mathematics, the queen of the sciences, explores some of the most profound ideas developed by humanity. The nautilus shell above is related to the golden ratio, which appears in many areas of science. Mathematics is also extremely important for many applications in the natural sciences and engineering, for example, weather forecasting and cryptography.

Key features

  • This course offers modules in all key areas of mathematics, statistics and theoretical physics, including a wide choice of final year options allowing you to follow your interests and shape your future career. In the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS), 100 per cent of our final year students were satisfied with the quality of the course.*
  • You will acquire skills which are highly sought after by employers: problem solving skills, knowledge of industry software packages as well as presentation and communication skills. In the 2017 NSS, 100 per cent of our final year students said that 'I have had the right opportunities to work with other students as part of my course'.*
  • Our graduates find a wide range of interesting jobs jobs or progress to postgraduate study, often winning funded places on highly contested MSc courses. Recent employers include Ernst & Young, PAREXEL, Glory Global Solutions, KPMG, PWC, GCHQ, Lloyds Banking Group, the Met Office, Towers Watson, Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit, BT Retail.
    Modules are taught by lecturers who are outstanding as both teachers and researchers. In the 2017 NSS, 98 per cent of our final year students said that 'Staff are good at explaining things'. In the last UK Research Excellence Framework (2014), 68 per cent of our research papers were classified as 'World Leading' or 'Internationally Excellent’.*
  • Our generous contact hours, our open door policy and small group tutorial sessions are designed to enhance and support your learning experience. Both peer-assisted learning activities and dedicated study space are provided. We use the latest technology in class and you will be equipped with a tablet PC so that you can access Podcasts and eBooks which form part of our extensive suite of online support materials.
  • A paid placement year primes you for the career you want. Previous placement providers for our maths students have included the Department for Communities and Local Government, Eli Lilly, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline and Liberty Living. This placement year is optional but highly recommended.
  • Our course is accredited by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and your degree sets you on a path to Chartered Mathematician (CMath) status.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In Year 1 you'll acquire a solid foundation through mastering calculus, linear algebra, numerical methods and programming, plus probability and statistical inference. New material includes an introduction to logic and methods of proof and the number theory underlying public key cryptography, which you use every time you purchase something online. You'll also study branches of pure mathematics such as group theory and graph theory.
    Core modules
    • BPIE113 Stage 1 Mathematics Placement Preparation

      The route to graduate-level employment is found easier with experience. These sessions are designed to assist students in their search for a year-long placement and in their preparation for the placement itself. Such placements are optional but strongly recommended.

    • MATH1601 Mathematical Reasoning

      This module introduces the basic reasoning skills needed to develop and apply mathematical ideas. Clear logical thinking is central to the understanding of mathematics. The module explores fundamental properties of prime numbers, their random generation and use in modern cryptography.

    • MATH1602 Calculus and Analysis

      This module covers key topics in calculus and analysis and prepares students for the rest of their degree. It has an emphasis on proof and rigour and introduces some multi-dimensional calculus together with the reasoning skills needed for the development of modern mathematics. Analysis is the rigorous underpinning of calculus and these key ideas are developed and applied to limits of sequences, series and functions.

    • MATH1603 Linear Algebra and Complex Numbers

      This module explores the concepts and applications of vectors, matrices and complex numbers. The deep connection between algebra and geometry is explored. The techniques that are presented in this module are at the foundation of many areas of mathematics, statistics, physics, and several other applications.

    • MATH1604PP Symmetry and Space

      This module introduces the foundations of the study of symmetries - group theory, and the study of the characteristics of shapes and spaces - topology and geometry. The topics covered are placed in the context of the wider discipline of mathematics, introducing their historical development and their relationship with (for example) art and physics.

    • MATH1605 Probability with Applications

      An understanding of uncertainty and random phenomena is becoming increasingly important nowadays in daily life and for a variety of fields. The aim of this module in probability is to develop the concept of chance in a mathematical framework. Random variables are also introduced, with examples involving most of the common distributions and the concepts of expectation and variance of a random variable.

    • MATH1606 Numerical and Computational Methods

      This module provides an introduction to computational mathematics using the Matlab software to create simple computer programs. The Maple software is also used, primarily for computer algebra. The relevant formulae for the numerical methods are derived and the convergence and accuracy of the methods are investigated. These methods, which underlie scientific applications, are implemented on computers

  • Year 2
  • In Year 2 you'll expand your knowledge with topics including vector calculus, real and complex analysis, differential equations, transform theory and mathematical statistics. A case studies module introduces operational research, the branch of mathematics developed for better management and decision making, and powerful Monte Carlo methods for simulating complex problems.
    Core modules
    • BPIE213 Stage 2 Mathematics Placement Preparation

      These sessions are designed to help students obtain a year-long placement in the third year of their programme. Students are assisted both in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • MATH2601 Advanced Calculus

      In this module the geometrical and dynamical concepts needed to describe higher-dimensional objects are introduced. This includes vector calculus techniques and new forms of integration such as line integration. Students also explore the relations between integration and differentiation in higher dimensional hyperspaces. This knowledge is applied to various real world problems.

    • MATH2602 Statistical Inference and Regression

      The module provides a mathematical treatment of statistical inference, including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Methods of estimation are explored, focusing on maximum likelihood estimation. The module also demonstrates the underlying mathematical theory of the general linear model, through a variety of applications, using professional software.

    • MATH2603 Ordinary Differential Equations

      The module aims to provide an introduction to different types of ordinary differential equations and the analytical and numerical methods needed to obtain their solutions. Extensive use is made of computational mathematics packages. Applications to mechanical and chemical systems are considered as well as the chaotic behaviour seen in climate models.

    • MATH2604 Mathematical Methods and Applications

      Vector calculus is extended to higher dimensions and applied to a range of important scientific problems primarily from classical mechanics and cosmology. Differential and integral calculus is applied to the solution of differential equations and the orthogonal functions bases are constructed. The crucial mathematical concepts of integral transforms (Fourier and Laplace) and Fourier series are introduced.

    • MATH2605 Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods

      This module gives students the opportunity to work on open-ended case studies in operational research (OR) and Monte Carlo methods, both of which are important methods in, for example, industry and finance. It allows students to work on their own and in teams to develop specific skills in OR and programming as well as refining their presentation and communication skills. The skills in computational simulation developed in this module have many application.

    • MATH2606 Real and Complex Analysis

      This module deepens the student’s understanding of real analysis and introduces complex analysis. The important distinction between real and complex analysis is explored and the utility of the complex framework is demonstrated. The central role of power series and their convergence properties are studied in depth. Applications include the evaluation of improper integrals and the construction of harmonic functions.

  • Optional placement year
  • You'll have the opportunity to participate in an optional but highly recommended placement year, providing valuable paid professional experience and helping make your CV stand out. Typically students are paid around £17,000 and placement providers have included the Department for Communities and Local Government, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, Vauxhall Motors, VirginCare, Visteon and Jagex Games Studio.
    Optional modules
    • BPIE331 Mathematics and Statistics Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training is spent as the third year of a sandwich programme while undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain experience of how mathematics is used in a working environment, to consolidate their previous study and to prepare for the final year and employment after graduation. Recent placement providers include GSK, the Office for National Statistics, NATS (air traffic control) and VW Group.

  • Final year
  • The final year focuses on individual and group project modules offering a chance for you to study a topic of your choice in depth. Also you may opt to study a school-based placement module. You’ll additionally have a wide choice of modules which cover a varied range of topics from pure and applied mathematics and operational research, to theoretical physics and statistics.
    Optional modules
    • MATH3601 Mathematical Sciences in Context

      This module is designed to be an alternative to the individual project. In the module students perform structured investigations on a variety of advanced topics in mathematics and statistics. Students give oral presentations and write up a journal style article on their work. Some of these articles have been published in the University of Plymouth’s Student Scientist journal.

    • MATH3603 Professional Experience in Mathematics Education

      This module provides an opportunity for final year students to gain experience in teaching and to develop their key educational skills by working in a school environment for one morning a week over two semesters.

    • MATH3604 Geometry and Algebra

      A review of group theory leads into an exploration of plane affine, hyperbolic, and projective geometries, all from the Kleinian point of view. Then an introduction to rings and fields is given with applications in geometry emphasised. These topics are key ideas in the study of pure mathematics.

    • MATH3605 Partial Differential Equations

      This module introduces partial differential equations using real-life problems. It provides a variety of analytic and numerical methods for their solution. It includes a wide range of applications including heat diffusion and the Tsunami wave.

    • MATH3606 Classical and Quantum Mechanics

      All of physics and a large part of applied mathematics is based on classical mechanics and its extension to quantum theory. This module introduces key ideas of these topics to students with a mathematics background. An overarching theme is the key role of symmetry, both for classical motion and quantum behaviour.

    • MATH3609 Optimisation, Networks and Graphs

      This module introduces the mathematics of continuous and discrete optimisation. It provides the theoretical background and practical algorithmic techniques required to model and solve a diverse range of problems.

    • MATH3611 Electrodynamics and Relativity

      This module introduces Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and Einstein's theory of special relativity. It includes a wide range of applications of electromagnetism, the Lorentz transformations and some of the apparent paradoxes of relativity together with their resolution. It also explains why E = mc^2.

    • MATH3612 Dynamical Systems

      This module presents an introduction to the basic concepts and techniques needed to analyse nonlinear dynamical systems modelled by differential equations and difference equations. Both regular and chaotic dynamics are explored.

    • MATH3613 Data Modelling

      This module provides an employment relevant tool box of statistical modelling techniques and a rigorous treatment of the underlying mathematics. The Bayesian framework for statistical inference is developed and compared with the classical approach. Important computational algorithms, including Markov Chain Monte Carlo, are described. Application-rich modelling problems are considered.

    • MATH3614 Medical Statistics

      The content includes the design and analysis of clinical trials, including crossover and sequential designs and an introduction to meta-analysis. Epidemiology is studied, including case-control and cohort studies. Survival analysis is covered in detail. Computer packages are used throughout.

    • MATH3616 Professional Experience in Industry

      This module provides an opportunity for students to gain experience in applying mathematics in a commercial setting by undertaking a summer placement. Students develop their skills in written and verbal communication, listening, problem solving, time management, teamwork and leadership. Recent summer placement providers include Babcock International, BMW Group, Chess Dynamics Ltd and South West Water.

    • MATH3623 Financial Statistics

      This module introduces students to the concepts and methods of financial time series analysis and modelling and to a variety of financial applications. The module reviews the necessary univariate and multivariate time series models and inferential techniques. Model selection, forecasting and the ‘curse of dimensionality’ problem for high dimensional modelling are treated both analytically and computationally. The R programming language is widely used in this module.

    • MATH3628 Project

      Students who have identified a topic of particular interest have the opportunity to study it in a final year project. Students work individually and independently, with help and advice from a supervisor, on the chosen topic. The project is assessed through presentations and the preparation of a dissertation. This is a major piece of work and the project counts as two modules

    • MATH3629 Fluid Dynamics

      Fluid flow problems are at the heart of systems ranging from weather forecasting and climate models to hydroelectricity generation and aerodynamics. They are all formulated mathematically as systems of partial differential equations. These are then solved and the results interpreted for a mixture of theoretical and practical examples of both inviscid and viscous fluid flows. Applications studied include: aeronautics, ocean waves and a variety of industrial topics.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BScMathematics ProgrammeSpecification September 2017 0153

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120 - 128

A level
A typical offer is 120 points to include minimum of 2 A levels, including grade B in A level Mathematics or B in Further Mathematics or A level Mathematics and Statistics or Math (Pure and Applied) excluding general studies. Mathematics (mechanics) accepted as mathematics. 

BTEC
18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM to include a distinction in a mathematics subject: individual interview/diagnostic test will be required.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. This information enables us to process your application quickly and avoid delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access
Pass Access to HE Diploma (e.g mathematics, science, combined) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 credits in mathematics units with merit. Individual interview/diagnostic test will be required please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk for further information.

International Baccalaureate
30 overall to include 5 at Higher Level mathematics. English must be included.

Other qualifications are also welcome and will be considered individually, as will be individuals returning to education, email maths@plymouth.ac.uk

Students may also apply for the BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Foundation Year. Successful completion of the foundation year guarantees automatic progression to the first year of any of our mathematics courses.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.


Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,250 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
Scholarships and Awards
For 2017 entry, we have the following scholarship:
  • Mathematics Scholarship of up to £1,000: students are automatically paid £500 for an A in Mathematics A level and/or £500 for an A in Further Mathematics A level. This is awarded to anybody who puts us as their firm choice before the 1st of August 2017. The scholarship is paid in the first semester of the first year.
  • There are additional prizes and awards to reward high marks in later years.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Studying mathematics

You will be equipped with high level mathematical skills in a range of areas from pure and applied mathematics; theoretical physics; statistics and operational research.

Find out more about studying mathematics

What our students say

Plymouth University is a great place to study. The best thing about doing maths at Plymouth is how much support you get from the lecturers and staff, without whom my university experience would not have been the same.

Jack Unsworth is crowned European Champion 2016

Sporting scholar Jack Unsworth

Striking a balance between BSc (Hons) Mathematics and competitive sport could be difficult but with the right support from academic staff sporting scholar Jack has been able to realise his sporting dreams, whilst ensuring his studies are still a top priority.

I have been surfing since around the age of 8, started competing at about 13, and have recently been crowned European Champion (Junior Longboard division). When it came to choosing a University, Plymouth came top offering an ideal combination of a great course and an excellent location for surfing. The lecturers are very clear in their methods of teaching, and I can straighten out any queries I have with them in no time. The understanding and flexibility they have showed me towards my sporting schedule has been second to none.

Technology supported learning

From podcasts, online videos, eBooks and electronic copies of lecture notes, to in-class voting and online feedback, you’ll have access to all the resources you need with your own tablet PC. You can also use this to create podcasts in assessments.

Access to University online systems such as module sites, the eLibrary and email at your fingertips.

Work placements

A ‘placement year’ is an excellent way to gain a competitive edge. It will set you up for when the graduation schemes launch and help you make better career decisions.

Elizabeth Goult gained important skills and career-defining experiences working for Plymouth Marine Laboratory as a student programmer.

Read more about Elizabeth's journey, and how you can launch your own career

Mathematics Scholarships: up to £1000

Choose to study mathematics with Plymouth University and you may be eligible to receive a scholarship of up to £1000.

Make Plymouth University your firm choice before the 1st of August 2017 and you will automatically be paid £500 for an A in Mathematics A level and/or £500 for an A in Further Mathematics A level. You will receive the scholarship during the first semester of the first year.

Additional prizes and awards will be available in later years to reward high marks.

Studying mathematics at Plymouth

Professor David McMullan, Associate Head of School, and final year student Dan Hodges discuss what it’s like to study here, and show you some of our facilities.

Meet some of your lecturers

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.