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Graduate Diploma Mathematics

Why we're great

  • We are the 'ideas people' of the maths world - work with award-winning teachers and researchers.
  • Through our pioneering teaching approach we develop the mathematicians of the future.
  • The real-world application of our research expertise is fundamental to our mission.

Course options2017-18

Duration: 9 months
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Mathematical Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £4,900
Fee (International): £10,045
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719

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About the course

Mathematics is the language that underpins the rest of science. Our Department of Mathematical Sciences has an international reputation in many areas like such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology.

Graduate Diplomas last for six to nine months (full-time) and include the modules and assessed work of a Masters, without a dissertation. Our Graduate Diploma in Mathematics gives you training in basic mathematics techniques if your first degree contained only a modest amount of mathematics, so that you can proceed to a Masters in mathematics.

At Essex, Mathematics has truly broad reach; we are working on projects ranging from the economic impact of the behaviour of dairy cows, to understanding crowd behaviour through modelling a zombie apocalypse, to circular Sudoku and other puzzles. Our interdisciplinary research recognises that mathematics, including what can be very abstract mathematics, is an essential part of research in many other disciplines.

You therefore gain an exceptional range of knowledge and skills that are currently in demand in mathematically oriented employment; in business, commerce, industry, government service, education and in the wider economy.

Our expert staff

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is a small but influential department, so our students and staff know each other personally. You never need an appointment to see your tutors and supervisors, just knock on our office doors – we are one of the few places to have an open-door policy, and no issue is too big or small.

Our staff have published several well-regarded text books and are world leaders in their individual specialisms, with their papers appearing in learned journals like Communications in Algebra, Studia Logica, International Journal of Algebra and Computation, SIAM Journal in Optimization, IEEE Evolutionary Computation, Computers and Operations Research, Ecology, Journal of Mathematical Biology, and Journal of Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology.

Specialist facilities

  • Unique to Essex is our renowned Maths Support Centre, which offers help to students, staff and local businesses on a range of mathematical problems. Throughout term-time, we can chat through mathematical problems either on a one-to-one or small group basis
  • We have our own computer labs for the exclusive use of students in the Department of Mathematical Sciences – in addition to your core maths modules, you gain computing knowledge of software including Matlab and Maple
  • We host regular events and seminars throughout the year
  • Our students run a lively Mathematics Society, an active and social group where you can explore your interest in your subject with other students

Your future

Our graduates are highly sought after by a range of employers and find employment in financial services, scientific computation, decision making support and government, risk assessment, statistics, education and other sectors.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MSc by Dissertation. We have an international reputation in many areas such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology, and our staff are strongly committed to research and to the promotion of graduate activities.

We additionally work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

How do you apply multivariate methods? Or demographical and epidemiological methods? And how do you apply sampling methods? Study three application areas of statistics – multivariate methods, demography and epidemiology, and sampling. Understand how to apply and assess these methods in a variety of situations.

Can you formulate an appropriate linear programming model? Are you able to solve a small linear programming problem using an appropriate version of the Simplex Algorithm? Can you use the MATLAB computer package to solve linear programming problems? Understand the methods of linear programming, including both theoretical and computational aspects.

In this module you will not only learn what underpins the algorithms used where variables are integer, but also apply these algorithms to solve integer and mixed integer problems with cutting-plane algorithms.

How do you express numbers in both Cartesian and polar forms? Can you identify curves and regions in the complex plane defined by simple formulae? How do you evaluate residues at pole singularities? Study complex analysis, learning to apply the Residue Theorem to the calculation of real integrals.

What instruments are used by companies to raise finance and manage financial risk? What is the role of financial institutions operating in financial markets? What are the techniques of financial accounting? How do you use spreadsheets in financial analysis? Examine and develop the concepts and elements of corporate finance.

Why are arbitrage arguments important in modern finance? How can a binomial model evaluate derivatives? What are the main models for interest rates? Understand the mathematical techniques underlying the modelling of derivative pricing. Acquire skills in the development of pricing and risk management. Explore stochastic methods and credit risk.

Can you prove basic results in the theory of graphs? Or deal with basic theory about matchings, like Hall’s theorem? Examine key definitions, proofs and proof techniques in graph theory. Gain experience of problems connected with chromatic number. Understand external graph theory, Ramsey theory and the theory of random graphs.

How do you prove simple properties of linear space from axioms? Can you check whether a set of vectors is a basis? How do you change a basis and recalculate the coordinates of vectors and the matrices of mapping? Study abstract linear algebra, learning to understand advanced abstract mathematical definitions.

How do you formulate financial decision problems mathematically? And how do you identify an appropriate method of solution? Understand the basic models and mathematical methods underlying modern portfolio management. Assess the limitations of these models and learn to correctly interpret your results from calculations.

Can you calculate confidence intervals for parameters and prediction intervals for future observations? Represent a linear model in matrix form? Or adapt a model to fit growth curves? Learn to apply linear models to analyse data. Discuss underlying assumptions and standard approaches. Understand methods to design and analyse experiments.

How do you apply an algorithm or numerical method to a problem? What are the advantages? And the limitations? Understand the theory and application of nonlinear programming. Learn the principles of good modelling and know how to design algorithms and numerical methods. Critically assess issues regarding computational algorithms.

How do you solve systems of linear first-order equations in two unknowns with constant coefficients? Or analyse the stability characteristics of non-linear systems in two unknowns? Study the standard methods to solve single ordinary differential equations and systems of equations. Understand the underlying theory.

This module will cover partial differential equations (PDEs), which can describe a majority of physical processes and phenomena. You will learn the properties of first and second order PDEs, the concepts behind them and the methods for solving such equations.

University of Essex enjoy breaking away from tradition. In this module you will break from “classical physics” and gain a conceptual understanding in quantum physics. You will develop skills in solving quantum mechanical problems associated with atomic and molecular systems.

What are the principles underlying proofs of basic theorems concerning limits, continuity and differentiability? How do you use quantifiers in analysis? Gain an understanding into real analysis, examining sequences and functions. Study relevant theorems (like Rolle’s and the Mean Value) and learn to reproduce elementary epsilon-delta arguments.

This module will enable you to expand your knowledge on multiple statistical methods. You will learn the concepts of decision theory and how to apply them, have the chance to explore “Monte Carlo” simulation, and develop an understanding of Bayesian inference, and the basic concepts of a generalised linear model.

This module combines a brief period of revision where you look at events and their probabilities with a close look at the principal continuous distributions. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to determine confidence intervals and carry out hypothesis tests.

Ever considered becoming an Actuary? This module covers the required material for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries CT4 and CT6 syllabus. It explores the stochastic process and principles of actuarial modelling alongside time series models and analysis.

What are the principles of actuarial modelling? And what are survival models? Examine how calculations in clinical trials, pensions, and life and health insurance require reliable estimates of transition intensities/survival rates. Learn how to estimate these intensities. Build your understanding of estimation procedures for lifetime distributions.

How do we know the Earth goes around the sun? How has mathematics been used to shed light on the physical sciences? Study a broad overview of modern physics, covering topics like atoms, light, relativity, quantum reality, cosmology, and the laws of nature. Develop your essay writing skills in mathematics.

How do you define gradient, divergence and curl? What do you know about Green’s Theorem? And about Stoke’s? Study the classical theory of vector calculus. Develop the two central theorems by outlining the proofs, then examining various applications and examples. Understand how to apply the ideas you have studied.


  • Core components can be combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding
  • Learn to use LATEX to produce a document as close as possible to what professional mathematicians produce in terms of organisation, layout and type-setting
  • Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars on a Thursday afternoon


  • Courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

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UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall high 2:2.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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