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BAMathematics and Music

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Looking to keep your love of music alive whilst exploring the true breadth of mathematical ideas and methods? Since Pythagoras developed his theory of the unity of arithmetic, geometry and music around the fundamental laws of proportion and harmony, in the 6th century BC, the two disciplines have influenced and informed each other. They are both concerned with the creation, appreciation and analysis of abstract patterns and logical ideas. Our joint honours degree allows you to keep your career options open and pursue your mathematical and musical interests in a 50/50 split, under the guidance of inspiring teachers from both departments.

Throughout your course you will have the flexibility to tailor your studies to your own particular interests. Alongside our core Mathematics modules in year 1, which will give you a thorough grounding in all the key methods and concepts that underpin the subject, we offer a wide range of practical and academic modules from one of UK’s top music departments (Complete University Guide 2015). In years 2 and 3 this flexibility increases, allowing you to specialise in the areas of mathematics and music that interest you the most. You will develop your musicianship and mathematical skills to an advanced level, and gain a host of transferrable skills such as data handling and analysis, logical thinking, communication, creativity and problem solving.

Our Department of Mathematics is internationally renowned for its work in pure mathematics, information security, statistics and theoretical physics, and our joint BA programme spans pure and applied mathematics, statistics and probability. It also offers you to chance to carry out project work on chosen topics. Meanwhile, in the Department of Music you will be able to pursue performance and composition whilst exploring the broader historical, sociological, ethnographic and philosophical elements of music. For keen singers and instrumentalists, we offer a wide range of exciting and diverse performance opportunities and you will have access to our well-equipped studios, practice rooms and recording facilities.

We offer a friendly and motivating learning environment and a strong focus on small group teaching and academic support. You will take part in group tutorials, problem solving sessions, practical workshops and IT classes, as well as practical music lessons and lectures. You will also benefit from generous staff office hours and a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies, plus a CV writing workshop and competitive work placement scheme.

Programme structure

Year 1

Mathematics: 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.

Mathematics: 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.

Mathematics: 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.

Mathematics: 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.

Year 2

Mathematics: Graphs and Optimisation
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of graph theory and linear programming. You will consider how railroad networks, electrical networks, social networks, and the web can be modelled by graphs, and look at basic examples of graph classes such as paths, cycles and trees. You will examine the flows in networks and how these are related to linear programming, solving problems using the simplex algorithm and the strong duality theorem.

Mathematics: 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.

Year 3

All modules are optional

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

With a joint Mathematics and Music degree from Royal Holloway, University of London you will be in demand for your wide range of transferrable skills, including: numerical skills, data handling powers, logical thinking and creative problem solving abilities, as well as communication, teamwork, technical, time management, commercial awareness and critical thinking and analysis skills. We have a strong track record of preparing our students for the world of work and research. By combining mathematics with music you will also keep your career options open, with the opportunity to pursue your musical talents in performance, composition, production or musicology after you graduate.

Our recent graduates have gone on to enjoy successful careers in: business management, IT consultancy, computer analysis and programming, teaching, accountancy, law, the civil service, actuarial science, finance, risk analysis, research and engineering, as well as in composition, music technology, publishing and the performing arts. They are working for employers as diverse as: KPMG, Ernst & Young, the Ministry of Defence, Barclays Bank, English National Opera, Surrey County Arts Service, EMI and Slaughter & May. Others go on to establish themselves as successful independent musicians and/or teachers. Our Department of Mathematics is part of the School of Mathematics and Information Security and we enjoy close ties with both the information security sector and industry at large.

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 career advice and guidance. The University of London Careers Advisory Service offers tailored sessions on finding relevant summer internships or holiday jobs and securing employment after graduation.

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

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

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

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States