4 top universities with outstanding mathematics degrees

University of Sussex - School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
Source: University of Sussex - School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Mathematics is the universal tool to solve problems. It enables experts in various fields to optimise, analyse, and tackle complex real-world challenges. For example, a mathematician can help a banker on investment strategies, a data scientist can use mathematics algorithms to extract insights from vast datasets, and an engineer can design structures precisely. The applications,from economics and physics to biology and computer science, are limitless.

Studying mathematics will train you to think logically, make decisions and understand how things work. Such skills will set you up to excel in quantitative roles and position you to lead in a wide range of careers, from marketing to entrepreneurship and even the arts. 

For example, Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) double majored in mathematics and computer science. It’s not a coincidence that the name “Google” is inspired by the mathematical term “googol,” which means 10 raised to the power of a 100. Jeffrey R. Immelt, former CEO of General Electric, studied applied mathematics before earning an MBA at Harvard Business School. He finds his bachelor’s in mathematics more valuable: “I use my maths major every day — I don’t use the MBA quite as much.”

As data and machine learning continue to revolutionise the world as we know it, expect more opportunities for exciting and well-paid careers to open to maths graduates.

Therefore, if you’re keen on pursuing maths as your undergraduate degree, here are four institutions that should be at the top of your list:

University of Sussex

Studying Mathematics at Sussex provides you with skills sought after by the top employers in a wide range of exciting professions: analytics consultant at Capgemini (Heathrow), business associate in bank, fund manager and investment banker in the City of London, forensic services (working with companies to prevent economic crime such as fraud, corruption and cybercrime) at PricewaterhouseCoopers, software tester at Siemens, teaching KS3 mathematics in a school, and carrying out research on computational aeroacoustics, antenna design, or flood risk assessment. This is a long list of diverse options — made possible by programmes taught by Department of Mathematics experts involved in real-world research. 

The department offers the following programmes: BSc in Mathematics, BSc in Mathematics with Finance, BSc in Mathematics with Economics, BSc in Mathematics with Data Science and BSc in Data Science (from September 2025). For the former two, all modules are optional in Year 3 and for the latter three there are only two core modules in Year 3. The programmes are taught by experts whose research is having an impact — from forecasting local outbreaks of COVID to predicting floods. 

If you’re passionate about mathematics and want to explore how to solve real-world finance or data-intensive problems, choose the BSc in Mathematics with Finance and BSc in Mathematics with Data Science respectively. These programmes build on your core knowledge of pure and applied mathematics and statistics while showing you the world of mathematics tailored to financial analysis and the relationships between mathematics, data science and statistics. “The combination of the theoretical, mathematical skills and hands-on, practical computing skills was the perfect balance for my role after graduation,” says graduate Oliver Boorman-Humphrey.

The university is surrounded by the South Downs National Park so after a lecture, you can go for a walk and feel like you are in the countryside. All of this is just a short hop from the vibrant, diverse and lively city of Brighton and an hour from London. The department is just as lively. In this close-knit community, students and faculty enjoy debating ideas at the popular social study spaces. “All the staff and other students at Sussex were so supportive and friendly!” says Boorman-Humphrey.

Cardiff University

Zoom in on the southeast coast of Wales — a country in the UK with breathtaking sights — and you’ll discover Europe’s youngest capital city: Cardiff. Hone in a little closer, and you’ll find a haven for aspiring mathematicians — Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics

With over 60 academic staff, the school enrols more than 450 students from across the world each year, including over 200 undergraduates in MMath and BSc programmes, over 250 taught postgraduates in MSc programmes and more than 10 doctoral research students.

The School of Mathematics programmes are academically rigorous, informed by the latest research and taught by leading academics. Curricula here have been designed to provide students with a strong foundation in core subjects coupled with opportunities to pursue optional modules.

The School offers a wide range of degrees. They include BSc Mathematics, BSc Financial Mathematics, BSc Mathematics Operational Research and Statistics, Mathematics (MMath) and more. You can explore different types of mathematics before specialising. Plus, there are professional placement and year abroad opportunities available on all programmes to enhance what you’ll learn and help you develop vital workplace skills. Just ask Andy Warren, a BSc Mathematics and its Applications with a Professional Placement Year.

“I have had an excellent placement year at NATS; having had the opportunity to get involved in a number of interesting projects such as the Annual Delay Forecast, iFacts Implementation and Runway Capacity Studies. These have broadened my understanding of many of the processes that go on at NATS and in the aviation industry,” Warren says.

University of Sussex - School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Mathematics at the University of Aberdeen helps to develop students’ problem-solving skills and enhance their abilities in calculation and logical argument. Source: University of Aberdeen/Facebook

University of Aberdeen

Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is Scotland’s third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the UK. It’s home to the School of Natural and Computing Sciences, which consists of four departments, including the Department of Mathematics.

Located within the recently constructed Fraser Noble Building, it boasts modern lecture facilities and ample space for informal meetings and discussions. 

The Department of Mathematics offers a high-quality mathematical education with comprehensive programmes, including BSc Applied Mathematics, BSc Mathematics, MA Mathematics and MA Applied Mathematics. That’s not all. You will also have the opportunity to either focus your attention entirely on Mathematics or spread your interests to combine it with other subjects. For example, students can pursue joint honours degrees such as BSc Computing Science and Mathematics, BSc Mathematics and Physics, MA German and Mathematics and more. 

Mathematics at Aberdeen transcends the boundaries of tradition, delving into subjects such as group theory, ring theory (essential to cryptography), and topology. This approach enriches the problem-solving skills of students.

All these make graduates of the University of Aberdeen’s Mathematics programmes in high demand. Employers value their unique ability to think logically and analyse developments across various sectors, from business and finance to technology. Recent graduates have found employment in esteemed organisations such as BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Office of National Statistics, and Schlumberger.

Trinity College Dublin

As Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin inspires the next generation of global citizens and leaders. Located in the heart of one of the world’s most welcoming and safest cities, it is home to the School of Mathematics in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Here, you’ll gain a strong foundation in all the basic areas of mathematics before you specialise in areas that most suit your interests and talents. 

In the first two years, students in the BA (Mod) in Mathematics programme explore algebra, analysis, mechanics, computation, and statistics. This comprehensive grounding equips them with the tools to excel in various mathematical disciplines. Just ask graduate Adam Keilthy. “The mathematics degree in Trinity truly broadened my mathematical horizons. Having so many courses allows you to tailor the degree to your interests perfectly,” Keilthy says. 

As you progress to your final two years, you’re presented with many options. These years offer the flexibility to specialise in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematical or theoretical physics, statistics, computing, or mathematical economics. Trinity’s programme caters to diverse interests, talents, and future career paths, ensuring every student finds their unique trajectory.

In their final year, students can explore cutting-edge research through individual projects, further deepening their expertise. Trinity College Dublin’s Mathematics programme is not just about equations; it’s about empowering the next generation of mathematical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International