We don’t often consider this but mathematics and statistics actually form the basis of many aspects of modern life.
We solve math problems daily to complete even the most menial of tasks like paying for lunch for example, whilst statistics, which are essentially sets of mathematical equations, help us make sense of the world around us.
Statistics hold the key to understanding patterns and behaviour, and are used to predict future trends in virtually every field or sector, from the environment to health, business, politics, socioeconomics and everything in between.
With today’s exponential growth of technology across almost all these sectors, financial tools, products and software are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. There is a growing demand for market-aware graduates who are able to demonstrate an understanding of mathematical models used to power such products.
From satnavs and mobile phone networks to medical imaging and developments in the financial technology world, mathematics underpins the technology behind it all. Studying mathematics, therefore, gives graduates a headstart in the new age of technology. Employers specifically look for a specialised knowledge of mathematics, which rational analytical skills and the ability to form balanced judgements – all skills which a degree in mathematics provides.
Here are five universities that are leading lights for the study of mathematics in the UK:
Research at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde focuses on how mathematics and statistics can be applied to the real world. Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees prepare students for the world of work, learning skills that are easy to translate into a career of their choice.
Mathematical graduates at The University of Strathclyde enter industries such as manufacturing, the actuarial, accountancy and banking professions, commerce and government, consultancy and education. Many go on to become investment analysts, numerical analysts, statisticians, actuaries, managers and teachers.
The MSc in Quantitative Finance – a cross-faculty collaboration between the Strathclyde Business School and Faculty of Science – is designed specifically for students who have a strong appetite for mathematics and statistics, but have not studied this topic in detail in their first degree (for example, economics, engineering, chemistry and computer science degrees).
The curriculum here provides a balanced view on finance and mathematical theory, computer implementations of this theory, alongside practical skills and knowledge that graduates can transfer into the world of work. Core classes are undertaken in the first semester, addressing themes such as principles of finance and quantitative methods for finance.
The course helps to encourage the development of the necessary skills to move into a career in the financial industry.
From core maths to biostatistics, financial maths to theoretical physics, the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool boasts an impressive range of courses to choose from – opening the door to a variety of opportunities for work after study. A degree in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Liverpool is a highly regarded qualification, proven by the fact that more than 86 per cent of graduates find fulltime employment or further study within six months of graduating.
Programmes and lecturers here will equip students with the mathematical and professional skills that employers and academic institutes actively seek. The university also offers optional modules and work experience opportunities, for those who have expressed an interest in moving into a teaching career after completing their degree.
More than 50 academic staff work at the department, many of whom are internationally renowned experts in their field, who are committed to getting the best out of their students. Small tutorial groups, group project modules, individually supervised projects, peer support and a lively maths society form the basis of great academic and personal support.
The Quality Assurance Agency awarded the department 23/24 for the quality of its teaching in its most recent audit, demonstrating the expertise on offer at the university.
Students at the School of Maths and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast benefit from modern laboratories, state-of-the-art computer facilities, as well as a programme for the development of personal skills, such as computation, information processing, problem solving and written and oral communication.
Ranked 3rd for research intensity and in the top 20 Mathematical departments in the UK by the Times Higher Education, students are at the forefront of mathematical research here, spanning a multitude of fields. These include astrophysics, atomistic simulation, nanostructured media, plasma physics, statistical science and operational research, theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics and pure mathematics.
Belfast was also recently voted as one of the world’s top 10 destinations by National Geographic Traveller, and has been revealed as the most affordable city for students to live and study in. The university provides an inclusive and supportive environment for all staff and students; Athena SWAN recently awarded a Silver Award to the school in recognition of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
A mathematics degree from the University of Exeter encourages students to develop skills of critical thinking and analysis and challenges them to learn new ideas. Teachers are committed to helping students reach their full potential, and become a key part of a world class academic community.
Through the latest, research-inspired teaching, students learn the necessary skills to tackle the world of work once they have graduated. Maths with Accounting, Economics or Finance Programmes are taught in partnership with the University of Exeter Business School, while distinct programmes are taught over two campuses with specialist MSci’s aligned to particular research groups.
The curriculum at the department builds on the skills learnt at school or college, encompassing pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and probability and statistics. The university is ranked 14th in the UK for Mathematics in the Complete University Guide 2018, with eight in 10 mathematics students in graduate level employment or further study within six months of graduating.
Students also have the choice to undertake a professional placement or enter into a foreign study programme with a range of partner universities in Europe, Canada, Australia and China.
King’s College London has a distinguished reputation as one of the leading centres for the study of mathematics in the UK and around the world. The undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are heavily influenced by the various research interests and activities of the staff, who have collaborations within the faculty and university (in particular, with the Departments of Informatics and Physics).
Created in 1830, the Department of Mathematics has established itself as a world leading centre for study and research in pure and applied mathematics. The department was ranked fourth in the UK for the quality of its research output in the 2014 national Research Excellence Framework; an assessment which found that 31 per cent of the department’s work was world-leading (4*), and 56 per cent was internationally excellent (3*).
There are seven research groups at the university: analysis, disordered systems, financial mathematics, geometry, number theory, probability, statistics, theoretical physics and collaboration. Academics at the university are funded by, among others, the BBSRC, EPSRC, STFC, the Royal Society, the European Commission and the Simons Foundation.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International