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About the School of Mathematics and Statistics

The School of Mathematics and Statistics is globally recognised for its consistently outstanding track record of excellence in teaching and research.

The School's mission is to inspire the next generation of mathematicians and statisticians, being internationally recognised as a destination of choice for the most promising students and researchers. The School celebrates critical thinking throughout its curriculum, encouraging students to be innovative in their practical application of mathematics and statistics.

The School has over 50 members of academic, administrative and technical staff who are dedicated to pursuing world-class research and delivering top-class education to its students.

The School works as an inclusive community to develop and expand continuously on its strengths, ensuring that it contributes to the reputation of the University as a world-leading institution. The School develops incentives and processes that enable its academics to improve the quality of research and to provide an ever more enriching environment for student learning, allowing all to reach their full academic potential.

Photo of Maths Institure 2007

Research

Research in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews focuses on a number of ‘trademark’ areas across the mathematical sciences. Activity is structured around research groups, all of which are internationally renowned and are headed by world-leaders in their fields.

The School is a founding partner in four interdisciplinary centres with other Schools in St Andrews

The School is also a founding member of the multi-institutional National Centre for Statistical Ecology which consists of educational institutions, governmental and non-governmental partners working together to innovate statistical methods for conservation purposes.

School researchers publish in leading international journals and attract considerable amounts of research funding from a diverse range of funders including RCUK (EPSRC, STFC, NERC, MRC), ERC, The Leverhulme Trust, The Carnegie Trust and Cancer Research UK.

Diagrams from classification problems

Teaching

St Andrews offers a world-class education and ranks amongst the best universities in the UK. The School offers BSc and MMath degree courses in Mathematics and Statistics with a range of specialisations, and also a great variety of joint degrees offered in collaboration with other Schools.

The School's teaching methods are diverse and include lectures, example classes and tutorials. Sub-honours students are supported through their studies by small tutorials while Honours modules are delivered in small or medium sized classes. Teaching covers the breadth of mathematical sciences and reflects the School's research expertise.

There are numerous opportunities for students to obtain experience of mathematical research through projects and summer research programmes and pride is taken in the quality of teaching delivered. For teaching quality the School was ranked third in the UK and top in the Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2020 and the Complete University Guide 2020.

The School offers a diverse selection of modules which reflect its research expertise and interests.  Students graduating from the MMath, BSc and MA degrees are some of the best qualified mathematics and statistics graduates in the country, with 88.3% of graduates securing graduate level employment or entering further studies and 93.6% of all graduates employed or in further study.

 

Facilities

The main School building, the Mathematical Institute is based on the North Haugh campus and houses staff offices, administration offices, lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, a computer classroom and a staff room.

The Mathematics Library is housed in the adjacent Physics building, which in turn is connected to the Medical Sciences building.

Some of the statisticians in the School are located in a separate building, the University Observatory, which is also the home of the inter-disciplinary Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM).

For further information on the School's location, please refer to the contact page.

Students attending an examples class

History

The School of Mathematics and Statistics was founded as a single entity in 1987, by merging the existing departments of Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics. For a period of time, the School also covered Computer Science, now a School in its own right.

The School is a part of the University of St Andrews, Scotland's first and oldest university founded in 1413. The School hosts one of the oldest and most prestigious mathematics chairs in the UK - the St Andrews Regius Chair of Mathematics, founded in 1668, and currently held by Professor Kenneth Falconer, FRSE. The School also hosts the Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics, founded in 1964 and currently held by Professor Mark Chaplain.

This is one of the few Schools of Mathematics where history of mathematics is part of the curriculum. Since the 1990s, the School has provided a unique global mathematical resource on the history of mathematics, now delivered through the award-winning MacTutor History of Mathematics website. The MacTutor History of Mathematics website has become the most widely used and influential web-based resource on the history of mathematics in the world with an average of two million global hits a week.

Portrait of James Gregory