Mathematics Course Outline
In Year 1, you typically have 12 lectures and two supervisions each week. In the following years, the greater choice and flexibility means that the pattern of lectures and supervisions is more irregular, but the average load is roughly the same.
You sit four written examination papers each year. In addition, there are optional computer projects in Years 2 and 3. In the fourth year, each course is examined individually.
Year 1 (Part IA)
In the first year, there are two options to choose from:
- option (a) Pure and Applied Mathematics, for students intending to continue with Mathematics
- option (b) Mathematics with Physics, for students who may want to study Physics after the first year
You should state in your Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) which option you wish to take, though it’s possible to change when you start the course. You can still continue with Mathematics in the second year if you take option (b).
Part IA introduces you to the fundamentals of higher mathematics, including:
- the study of algebraic systems (such as groups)
- analysis of calculus
- mathematical methods (such as vector calculus)
- Newtonian dynamics and special relativity
You take eight subjects. Those taking Mathematics with Physics replace two Mathematics subjects with Part IA Physics from Natural Sciences, covering, for example, kinetic theory, Fourier analysis, and electromagnetism.
Year 2 (Part IB)
In Part IB, you choose from 17 options available. In most, the topics of the first year are studied in much greater depth, but some new topics are offered, for example:
- electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and fluid dynamics
- applicable mathematics, which includes statistics and optimisation (a rigorous treatment of topics from decision mathematics)
- numerical analysis
There are also optional computational projects (assessed by means of note books and programmes submitted before the summer examinations), using computers to solve mathematical problems.
Year 3 (Part II)
Year 3 gives you the opportunity to explore your mathematical interests in detail. There is a very wide choice, including papers on, for example:
- algebraic topology
- number theory
- general relativity
- stochastic financial models
There are also optional computational projects.
Year 4 (Part III, optional integrated Masters)
Part III has a world-wide reputation for training the very best research mathematicians. Progression to Part III, in which more than 80 options are offered, normally requires a first in Part II or a very good performance in Parts IB and II, and successful completion leads to a BA with MMath. See the Faculty website for more details.
For further information about studying Mathematics at the University of Cambridge see the Faculty of Mathematics website.