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- Student Stories
We expect to admit a total of eight candidates a year across the Mathematics and combined disciplines courses. Usually, one of these will be reading Mathematics and Philosophy and the remaining seven candidates will be reading either Mathematics or Mathematical Sciences. Pembroke does not currently admit undergraduates to the courses in Mathematics and Computing or Mathematics and Statistics.
Dr Raphael Hauser is the Senior Mathematics Tutor and Fellow in Applied Mathematics. His research interests are in complexity theory, optimisation and applied probability.
Whether you choose a career in business or industry or one in which mathematical skills play a more central role, the Oxford Mathematical courses aim to equip you with the ability to handle abstractions and to analyse problems rapidly and rigorously. The success of Pembroke mathematical graduates in further academic study in mathematics, statistics, computer science and other related fields, as well as in obtaining posts in finance, accountancy, insurance, banking, information technology, statistics and in various engineering concerns is proof of the value of this training.
Harriet Bull, Maths undergraduate, gives her reflections on her experience at Pembroke so far.
Professors Raphael Hauser (Pembroke tutor) and Massimiliano Pontil discuss their ongoing research that is uniting the fields of convex optimisation and machine learning to derive algorithmic solutions to a host of practical problems...
The Courses in Mathematical Sciences (3 years) and in Mathematics (4 years)
The 3 year Mathematical Sciences course leading to the BA degree is intended for students who wish to acquire a sound mathematical training and powerful problem solving skills but whose career plans are aimed at employment or research which does not necessarily involve the mathematics they will have studied at university.
The 4 year Mathematics course, leading to the M. Math. degree, is intended for those who envisage graduate work that leads to a career in mathematical research and for those who plan to seek employment in industry or the Civil Service involving a large mathematical component.
Applicants are expected to have studied mathematics as a single or double A level subject, or a close equivalent in other systems such as Scottish Highers or Sixth Year Studies, the International or European Baccalaureates.
The two mathematics courses share a common first year. Candidates decide which of the two courses to read at the beginning of the second year. We strongly recommend that all candidates initially apply for the 4 year course, as this simplifies funding matters.
During the first four terms all students read a compulsory core programme in Pure and Applied Mathematics in which they acquire a sound mathematical basis for the rest of the course. Starting from the fifth term the students of both courses begin their specialisation by selecting from a wide-ranging list of subjects in Pure and/or Applied Mathematics to suit their talents and interests. As this list may change from year to year, we refer to the web page of the Mathematical Institute for the most up to date information. Some of the courses are taught by the Computing Laboratory or by the Department of Statistics and may convolve practicals.
Students take exams at the end of each year, and they receive continuous feedback on their academic standing from their tutors who monitor learning progress through tutorials, classes and collections (a type of exam held in College).
Mathematics and Philosophy - 4 year course
This course combines the development of mathematical skills with the study of philosophy, which trains students think critically and to write clearly. In comparison to students in the two mathematics courses, students of Mathematics and Philosophy generally acquire a mathematical specialisation more strongly focussing on foundational aspects, such as logic and set theory.
This course provides a good foundation for graduate work in Mathematics or Philosophy, but many graduates also go on to use the acquired skills in a wide range of nonacademic careers. The standard required for entry is the same as that for the mathematics courses.
The structure of the course is not unlike that of the 4 year M.Math. programme, both with regards to the choice of topics and to exams. Although only mathematical papers are examined in the second year, students will also take a number of philosophy papers during that period, and these papers will be examined at the end of the third year.
Tutorials, Lectures and Classes
Teaching for the Oxford Mathematics courses is largely divided between university lectures and college tutorials or small classes. The core subjects from the first and second year and many of the selective topics from the second year are supported through college tutorials. More advanced topics are usually supported through the intercollegiate class scheme. Teaching in Philosophy also involves lectures, tutorials and classes. Tutorials play a central role in the students' philosophical development.
The College Library has copies of most of the standard textbooks and lecture notes required for lecture courses. Most of the tutorial teaching takes place at the College.