School of Mathematics

How will I study?

You will learn through a mixture of timetabled classes and independent studying, and through working on different kinds of coursework and projects.


A second-year lecture on several variable calculus
Students discuss a problem in a first-year lecture

You will learn from a variety of styles of lectures; from classes where the lecturer explains concepts at the blackboard with the class taking notes, through to interactive lectures where you will be asked to solve problems and discuss in small groups.

In first-year lectures in particular, you will have reading to do each week from the textbook and in the lecture itself, there will be some discussion of the main ideas and a series of problems to think about. The class votes on multiple choice questions, and if the class are confused then there will be a few minutes of discussion in small groups. When the question is attempted again, the results are usually much better, because the discussion has resolved misconceptions and deepened understanding.


A first-year workshop

Most courses have regular workshops where you will work with four or five other students around a table in one of our state-of-the-art teaching studios. These rooms are specially designed to facilitate cooperative group work.

Each pair of tables has a tutor who is on hand to guide you through the activities for the session. Tutors will also provide feedback on assignments and give you a chance to ask for help with any aspect of the course.


Most courses will have some assessed coursework and a final exam. In first and second year we have 'open book' exams where you can use a textbook and your notes. This is because we want you to concentrate on understanding and using the ideas and concepts involved instead of just memorising procedures.

For first year courses, you will have a written assignment to complete each week, so you will get regular feedback from your tutor.

After first year we have some courses which are assessed entirely by combinations of individual or group reports and presentations to groups of other students.

MathsBase and Maths Hub

Students working together in the MathsBase

The time you spend in timetabled classes is just the beginning! You should expect to have about 15 hours of timetabled sessions each week, but you will also have to spend time preparing for these (e.g. reading from the textbook in advance) and working on problems.

You can work with other students in the MathsBase, which is a dedicated space for first-year maths students with staff on duty throughout the day to help you.

Higher-year students make use of the Maths Hub, which is a combined social/study space managed by students themselves.


Students working together in the MathsBase

As a first-year student, you can take part in a weekly MathPALs session led by two higher-year students who have been trained in Peer Assisted Learning.

These informal sessions give you a chance to ask questions and meet other students on your course. This is facilitated by the higher-year students, who will also share their experience of studying maths and university life in general.

International Exchange

It is possible to spend a year abroad during your studies here, through an exchange programme.

We currently have ERASMUS exchanges in place with these European universities:

  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Universidad de Salamanca
  • Universität Bielefeld
  • Universidad de Alicante
  • Universität Wien
  • Warsaw
  • Roma Tre

and there are international exchanges in place with many English-speaking universities outside Europe - see the International Exchange pages for more details.