Mathematics MA (Hons) 2021 entry
The MA (Hons) in Mathematics will teach you to understand complex patterns and structures, and develop the tools with which to analyse them. Whether these patterns relate to physical or biological phenomena or the structure of mathematics itself, the primary aim is to describe, categorise, and understand the processes involved.
Students of Mathematics will acquire the analytical techniques, clear logical thinking and deductive reasoning necessary to explore some of these fascinating areas of research.
Mathematics is studied up to Honours level in both Faculty of Arts (MA) and the Faculty of Science (BSc). Students who have a background in the Arts or who wish to study Mathematics alongside Arts subjects at St Andrews should apply for the MA. For those interested in studying Mathematics alongside science subjects, the BSc in Mathematics may be of interest instead. The BSc and MA degree programmes are mathematically identical.
The MA in Mathematics is accredited by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
Master of Arts (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in Mathematics
- Minimum entry grades: AABB, including A in Mathematics
- Standard entry grades: A*A*A, including A* in Mathematics
- Minimum entry grades: A*AB, including A* in Mathematics
- Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in Mathematics
- Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in Mathematics
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject-specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
Gateway to Science
Applicants who narrowly miss the minimum entry grades but meet contextual criteria may be interested in applying to the Gateway to Science programme.How to apply
Do I need to have studied this subject before?
Yes, applicants are expected to have studied Mathematics at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, or equivalent.
General entry requirements
All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.
More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St Andrews has a reputation for the high quality of its teaching. It was ranked first in Scotland for Mathematics in the Guardian University Guide 2021 and in the Complete University Guide 2021.
The School is ranked second in Scotland for research, with more than 91% of the research output by staff in the School rated as internationally excellent or world-leading in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% of St Andrews final-year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
Find out more about studying mathematics at St Andrews.
In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Mathematics alongside modules in at least one other subject.
Typically, you will take a total of three or four modules per semester during your first two years, and four modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).
Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.
Students will take between one and three first-year modules in mathematics. There is one core compulsory module, 'Mathematics', that can be studied in either semester.
- Mathematics: introduces the ideas and techniques required for further study of mathematics or applications to other sciences.
Students who do not possess at least a B at Advanced Higher or A-Level Mathematics will need to take 'Introductory Mathematics' in their first semester before taking the compulsory 'Mathematics' module. This option is popular for students on different degree routes who wish to study Mathematics.
- Introductory Mathematics: designed for students who do not meet the entry requirements for the first-year 'Mathematics' module. Provides a secure base in elementary calculus.
First-year students can take an optional module in Pure and Applied Mathematics as well as modules in statistics: Sub-honours (1000 and 2000 level) modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF) .
Students will take between four and eight modules from the following selection depending on their chosen degree path.
- Abstract Algebra: explores the key concepts of modern abstract algebra: groups, rings and fields.
- Analysis: introduces key concepts of real analysis: limit, continuity and differentiation.
- Combinatorics and Probability: introduces counting techniques for finite structures and the behaviour of random variables.
- Linear Mathematics: introduces the theory of vector spaces, linear independence, linear transformations and diagonalisation.
- Mathematical Modelling: investigates the translation of physical problems into mathematics.
- Multivariate Calculus: extends the techniques of calculus in a single variable to the setting of real functions of several variables.
- Statistical Inference: introduces techniques for drawing inferences about population characteristics from observed data.
- Vector Calculus: introduces the theory of scalar and vector fields and associated techniques for the modelling of problems arising in the physical world.
If you decide to take Mathematics in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options. Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:
- Bayesian Inference
- Classical Mechanics
- Fractal Geometry
- Linear and Nonlinear Waves
- Real and Abstract Analysis
- Sampling Theory
- Solar Theory
In your third and fourth (Honours) years, you will choose from a range of 3000-level, 4000-level and (optionally) 5000-level modules. Here are the modules offered in previous years:
- 3000-level modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF)
- 4000-level modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF)
- 5000-level modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF)
In your final year, you also undertake a project on a topic chosen in consultation with the teaching staff at the School of Mathematics and Statistics. You will be required to investigate the topic, submit a report and give a presentation.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take the Mathematics MA as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.
“The School provides plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with maths beyond lectures and tutorials. There are optional talks, research scholarships, mentoring and study support schemes and dedicated social events. St Andrews has an impressive number of sports clubs, music groups and societies, which means that there is always something to do when you are taking a break from studying.”
Tom (Dijon, France)