School of Mathematics

Before you arrive

Making the move from school to university can sometimes be challenging. Here you will find information to help you prepare for the transition.

Information for new students

Our Student Learning Advisor contacts all new students in late August with detailed information about getting ready to start in September. You will then be enrolled in a course on the University's virtual learning environment (Learn) which contains a checklist of tasks for you to complete in order to best prepare you for your mathematics programme.

In the meantime, if you would like some information please see the 'Getting Started' page on the School of Mathematics Teaching website, which contains information for current mathematics students.

Getting Started - School of Mathematics Teaching website

Student life

For more general information about preparing for university life, visit the University's New Students website. Here you will find information such as the Top 6 Tasks to complete before arriving and detailed information about Welcome Week.

New Students website

Course textbooks

You will need to have the following textbooks. The first three textbooks are the same whether you take Year 1 or Year 2 Direct Entry. If you are entering Year 1, you will not need books 2 and 3 until Semester 2. Direct Entry students will need all four books in Semester 1.

1. Linear Algebra, A Modern Introduction, (3rd or 4th edition) by David Poole.

This book is used in Year 1 Introduction to Linear Algebra and Year 2  Accelerated Algebra and Calculus for Direct Entry.

2. Essential Calculus: Early Transcendentals (any edition including international editions) by James Stewart.

This book is used in Year 1 Calculus and its Applications, Year 2 Accelerated Algebra and Calculus for Direct Entry, and Year 2 Severable Variable Calculus and Differential Equations. Direct Entry students will need this book in Semester 1; Year 1 students will not need it until Semester 2.

3. A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics (3rd or 4th edition) by Martin Liebeck.

This book is used in Proofs and Problem Solving and Accelerated Proofs and Problem Solving for Direct Entry. Direct Entry students will need this book in Semester 1; Year 1 students will not need it until Semester 2.

4. Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems by William E. Boyce and Richard C. DiPrima.

This book is used in Several Variable Calculus and Differential Equations, and is also useful for Year 3 courses. Only Direct Entry  students need this book.

Blackwells bookshop (South Bridge, Edinburgh) offer the first two as a package at a slightly discounted price.

Complementary reading

Most students find the first year of a mathematics degree challenging, however much mathematics they have studied at school. The appproach can be quite different and the pace is fast.

You might like to read about mathematics from a university-level perspective to prepare you for this.

You might also like to read some popular mathematics books by authors such as Simon Singh and Ian Stewart or look at some of the topics covered at Mathtutor and Khan Academy.