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MSciMathematics

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Overview

Want to use mathematics at the highest levels in the world of work or research? Then our four-year MSci programme is designed for you. We will challenge you to take your love of mathematics further and help you to develop an invaluable portfolio of skills that will set you apart in your future career. Guided by internationally recognised experts in the field, you will gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of all the key methods and concepts of pure and applied mathematics, probability, statistics, financial mathematics and the mathematics of information in your first year. You will then be free to tailor your studies to the areas that interest you the most, thanks to the programme’s modular structure, and in year 4 you will have the opportunity to complete a supervised project, alongside further optional modules.

This programme is particularly aimed at those who want to explore the full breadth of mathematical fields, and go on to do postgraduate study or to pursue a scientific or technical career. Our graduates are in demand for their numeracy, analytical skills, data handling powers, logical thinking, advanced research skills and creative problem solving abilities. Our comprehensive curriculum is influenced by the department’s world-class research activities and you will study topics ranging from pure mathematics to mathematical modelling, discrete mathematics, statistics, cryptography, quantum mechanics, informatics, and financial mathematics. Our staff are involved in pioneering research that is making an impressive impact on the global stage and we offer an extensive array of postgraduate opportunities. We are internationally renowned for our work in pure mathematics, information security, quantum dynamics, statistics and theoretical physics.

Join our friendly and inspiring department and you will benefit from a thoroughly supportive learning environment. We offer small group tutorials, problem solving sessions, practical workshops and IT classes, as well as generous staff office hours and a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies. We also offer CV writing workshops and a competitive work placement scheme.

Programme structure

Year 1

From Euclid to Mandelbrot
In this module you will develop an understanding of how mathematics has been used to describe space over the last 2,500 years. You will look at ruler and compass constructions from ancient Greece, the influence of algebra on geometry in the renaissance, and the intricate and beautiful fractal patterns developed by Benoît Mandelbrot in the 1970s. You will learn to sketch simple curves using polar coordinates, draw and classify conics, and use simple arguments to distinguish between countable and uncountable sets.

Introduction to Applied Mathematics
In this module, you will develop an understanding of how the techniques for solving differential equations can be applied to describe the real world. You will look at situations from balls flying through the air to planets orbiting the stars, including why the moon continues to orbit the Earth and not the Sun. You will consider the chatotic motion of a pendulum, and examine Einstein’s theory of special relativity to describe the propagation of matter and light at high speeds.

Principles of Statistics
In this module you will develop an understanding of the notion of probability and the basic theory and methods of statistics. You will look at random variables and their distributions, calculate probabilities of events that arise from standard distributions, estimate means and variances, and carry out t tests for means and differences of means. You will also consider the notions of types of error, power and significance levels, gaining experience in sorting a variety of data sets in a scientific way.

Calculus
In this module, you will develop an understanding of the key concepts in Calculus, including differentiation and integration. You will learn how to factorise polynomials and separate rational functions into partial fractions, differentiate commonly occurring functions, and find definite and indefinite integrals of a variety of functions using substitution or integration by parts. You will also examine how to recognise the standard forms of first-order differential equations, and reduce other equations to these forms and solve them.

Functions of Several Variables
In this module you will develop an understanding of the calculus functions of more than one variable and how it may be used in areas such as geometry and optimisation. You learn how to manipulate partial derivatives, construct and manipulate line integrals, represent curves and surfaces in higher dimensions, calculate areas under a curve and volumes between surfaces, and evaluate double integrals, including the use of change of order of integration and change of coordinates.

Number Systems
In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamental algebraic structures, including familiar integers and polynomial rings. You will learn how to apply Euclid’s algorithm to find the greatest comon divisor of two integers, and use mathematical induction to prove simple results. You will examine the use of arithmetic operations on complex numbers, extract roots of complex numbers, prove De Morgan’s laws, and determine whether a given mapping is bijective.

Matrix Algebra
In this module you will develop an understanding of basic linear algebra, in particular the use of matrices and vectors. You will look at the basic theoretical and computational techniques of matrix theory, examining the power of vector methods and how they may be used to describe three-dimensional space. You will consider the notions of field, vector space and subspace, and learn how to calculate the determinant of an n x n matrix.

Numbers and Functions
In this module you will develop an understanding of key mathematical concepts such as the construction of real numbers, limits and convergence of sequences, and continuity of functions. You will look at the infinite processes that are essential for the development of areas such as calculus, determining whether a given sequence tends to a limit, and finding the limits of sequences defined recursively.

Year 2

Linear Algebra and Group Project
In this module you will develop an understanding of vectors and matrices within the context of vector spaces, with a focus on deriving and using various decompositions of matrices, including eigenvalue decompositions and the so-called normal forms. You will learn how these abstract notions can be used to solve problems encountered in other fields of science and mathematics, such as optimisation theory. Working in small groups, you will put together different aspects of mathematics in a project on a topic of your choosing, disseminating your findings in writing and giving an oral presentation to your peers.

Complex Variable
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic complex variable theory. You will look at the definitions of continuity and differentiability of a complex valued function at a point, and how Cauchy-Riemann equations can be applied. You will examine how to use a power series to define the complex expontential function, and how to obtain Taylor series of rational and other functions of standard type, determining zeros and poles of given functions. You will also consider how to use Cauchy’s Residue Theorem to evaulate real integrals.

Real Analysis
In this module you will develop an understanding of the convergence of series. You will look at the Weierstrass definition of a limit and use standard tests to investigate the convergence of commonly occuring series. You will consider the power series of standard functions, and analyse the Intermediate Value and Mean Value Theorems. You will also examine the properties of the Riemann integral.

Year 3

All modules are optional

Year 4

Computational Number Theory
In this module you will develop an understanding of a range methods used for testing and proving primality, and for the factorisation of composite integers. You will look at the theory of binary quadratic forms, elliptic curves, and quadratic number fields, considering the principles behind state-of-the art factorisation methods. You will also look at how to analyse the complexity of fundamental number-theoretic algorithms.

Complexity Theory
In this module you will develop an understanding the different classes of computational complexity. You will look at computational hardness, learning how to deduce cryptographic properties of related algorithms and protocols. You will examine the concept of a Turing machine, and consider the millennium problems, including P vs NP, with a $1,000,000 prize on offer from the Clay Mathematics Institute if a correct solution can be found.

Principles of Algorithm Design
In this module you will develop an understanding of efficient algorithm design and its importance for handling large inputs. You will look at how computers have changed the world in the last few decades, and examine the mathematical concepts that have driven these changes. You will consider the theory of algorithm design, including dynamic programming, handling recurrences, worst-case analysis, and basic data structures such as arrays, stacks, balanced search trees, and hashing.

Quantum Theory 2
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the Rayleigh-Ritz variational principle and perturbation theory can be used to obtain approximate solutions of the Schrödinger equation. You will look at the mathematical basis of the Period Table of Elements, considering spin and the Pauli exclusion principle. You will also examine the quantum theory of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter.

Inference
In this module you will develop an understanding of the main priciples and methods of statstics, in particular the theory of parametric estimation and hypotheses testing.You will learn how to formulate statistical problems in mathematical terms, looking at concepts such as Bayes estimators, the Neyman-Pearson framework, likelihood ratio tests, and decision theory.

Applied Probability
In this module you will develop an understanding of the the probabilistic methods used to model systems with uncertain behaviour. You will look at the structure and concepts of discrete and continuous time Markov chains with countable stable space, and consider the methods of conditional expectation. You will learn how to generate functions, and construct a probability model for a variety of problems.

Channels
In this module you will develop an understanding of the mathematics of communication, focusing on digital communication as used across the internet and by mobile telephones. You looking at compression, considering how small a file, such as a photo or video, can be made, and therefore how the use of data can be minimised. You will examine error correction, seeing how communications may be correctly received even if something goes wrong during the transmission, such as intermittent wifi signal. You will also analyse the noiseless coding theorem, defining and using the concept of channel capacity.

Quantum Information and Coding
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the behaviour of quantum systems can be harnessed to perform information processing tasks that are otherwise difficult, or impossible, to carry out. You will look at basic phenomena such as quantum entanglement and the no-cloning principle, seeing how these can be used to perform, for example, quantum key distribution. You will also examine a number of basic quantum computing algorithms, observing how they outperform their classical counterparts when run on a quantum computer.

Advanced Financial Mathematics
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of mathematics and statistics in securities markets. You will investigate the validity of various linear and non-linear time series occurring in finance, and apply stochastic calculus, including partial differential equations, for interest rate and credit analysis. You will also consider how spot rates and prices for Asian and barrier exotic options are modelled.

Combinatorics
In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the standard techniques and concepts of combinatorics, including methods of counting, generating functions, probabilistic methods, permutations, and Ramsey theory. You will see how algebra and probability can be used to count abstract mathematical objects, and how to calculate sets by includion an exclusion. You will examine the applications of number theory and consider the use of simple probabilistic tools for solving combinatorial problems.

Error-Correcting Codes
In this module you will develop an understanding of how error correcting codes are used to store and transmit information in technologies such as DVDs, telecommunication networks and digital television. You will look at the methods of elementary enumeration, linear algebra and finite fields, and consider the main coding theory problem. You will see how error correcting codes can be used to reconstruct the original information even if it has been altered or degraded.

Cipher Systems
In this module you will develop an understanding of secure communication and how cryptography is used to achieve this. You will look at some of the historical cipher systems, considering what security means and the kinds of attacks an adversary might launch. You will examine the structure of stream ciphers and block ciphers, and the concept of public key cryptography, including details of the RSA and ElGamal cryptosystems. You will see how these techniques are used to achieve privacy and authentication, and assess the problems of key management and distribution.

Public Key Cryptography
In this module you will develop an understanding of public key cryptography and the mathematical ideas that underpin it, including discrete logarithms, lattices and elliptic curves. You will look at several important public key cyptosystems, including RSA, Rabin, ElGamal encryption and Schnorr signatures. You will consider notions of security and attack models relevant for modern theoretical cryptography, such as indistinguishability and adaptive chosen ciphertext attack.

Applications of Field Theory
In this module you will develop an understanding of Field Theory. You will learn how to express equations such as X2017=1 in a formal algebraic setting, how to classify finite fields, and how to determine the number of irreducible polynomials over a finitie field. You will also consider some the applications of fields, including ruler and compass constructions and why it is impossible to generically trisect an angle using them.

Topology
In this module you will develop an understanding of geometric objects and their properties. You will look at objects that are preserved under continuous deformation, such as through stretching or twisting, and will examine knots and surfaces. You will see how colouring a knot can be used to determine whether or not it can be transformed into the unknot without any threading. You will also consider why topologists do not distinguish between a cup and a donut.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Career opportunities

Graduates from this programme are in high demand for their broad and deep understanding of mathematical methods and concepts, their ability to handle complex data sets, approach problems creatively and logically and undertake specialist research. We have a strong track record of producing high achievers who go on to enjoy rewarding and high profile careers.

Our department is part of the School of Mathematics and Information Security and we enjoy strong ties with both the information security sector and industry at large. Graduates from our department have successfully secured positions in business management, IT consultancy, computer analysis and programming, accountancy, the civil service, teaching, actuarial science, finance, risk analysis, research and engineering. We have graduates working for organisations such as: KPMG, Ernst & Young, the Ministry of Defence, Barclays Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, the Department of Health, Logica, McLaren and TowersWatson, and in research teams tackling problems as diverse as aircraft design, operational research and cryptography. We also offer an extensive array of further postgraduate opportunities and depending on your choice of courses, you could be eligible for certain membership exemptions from the Institute of Actuaries and other professional bodies.

We offer a competitive work experience scheme at the end of year 2, with short-term placements available during the summer holidays. You will also attend a CV writing workshop as part of your core modules in year 2, and your personal adviser and the campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on your chosen career. The University of London Careers Advisory Service also offers tailored sessions for Mathematics students, on finding summer internships or holiday jobs and securing employment after graduation.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States