2020 applicants
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Undergraduate studies

student writing on whiteboard

Inspiring. Rewarding. Inclusive.

Mathematics solves problems in our world multiple times a day.

From the weather forecast for the weekend, to the takeaway order app on your phone, the route the driver takes to get to you, and the cybersecurity for your online payment. Mathematics is a constant feature of our daily lives. It can inform government policy, assist in medical research, and find solutions to logistics problems at our ports.

It’s no wonder then that mathematicians are in high demand in sectors across the world. By gaining a degree in mathematical sciences, you will be setting yourself up for a future with a range of exciting employment opportunities. Our graduates have gone on to take up roles in public sector organisations, financial institutions, and private companies across the world.

In our department we are passionate about the transformational education experience that Essex offers. From our specialist employability modules, through to our open-door policy, and our research in to mathematics education, supporting our students is at the heart of what we do.

Whether you’re interested in mathematics, actuarial science, or data analytics, we are committed to helping you gain all the skills and experience you will need for a successful future.

Explore our courses in Clearing


Why choose us?
  • 94% of our Mathematical Sciences students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2020).
  • 89% of our maths students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020)
  • Our courses allow you to have a placement year or year abroad, giving you a chance to enhance your CV.
"I did my Capstone project on the teaching of Mathematics and mindset theory and that has really helped me to optimise my problem-solving process by taking a more metacognitive approach, this will really aid me when overcoming challenges in development. I’ve definitely gained more confidence in my numerical abilities, and I am very thankful that my degree introduced me to different programming languages as I think it would be rather difficult to have gotten myself started on them and teaching myself them."
Leyla Yaltiligil BSc Mathematics 2020

What can we do for you?

Study your interests

In your first year we give you a solid grounding in pure and applied mathematics and statistics. This gives you a broad scope of experience that you can build on in your second and third years. If you find you have an interest in one area then you can choose to specialise in that, particularly if you have already have a career path in mind.

But if you aren’t sure what your future holds then our range of modules means that you can develop wide-ranging experience in several aspects of mathematics. Not only will this give you flexibility in the future, but you may also discover a new area that you find particularly interesting and want to focus on as your studies progress.

Skills for your future

At Essex we understand that your undergraduate years are an investment in your future. By undertaking your degree in our department you will develop the specialist skills for a mathematician, which are in demand in a wide range of sectors across the world.

We will equip you with the core skills needed by any mathematician or data scientist, including problem solving, analysis of large datasets, mathematical modelling, and understanding mathematical results and converting them in to a format that is understandable to a wider audience. Depending on your degree you may also have opportunities to use specialist software, such as Matlab, Maple, and R.

But we don’t just focus on these areas. Our courses are designed to equip you with the “soft skills” that are in demand in all lines of employment. Written and oral communication skills, team working, prioritising tasks and deadlines, these are all essential for employment in the 21st century.

In your final year you will showcase these skills in your Capstone project. With help from your chosen supervisor you will develop a project title and carry out research around it, presenting your results in a final written report. Every year our students come up with a broad range of exciting and occasionally unexpected areas to look at, and our staff are happy to help you come up with a title that you will find challenging and interesting.

To help you identify your professional development you will undertake the module Mathematics Careers and Employability. During this module you will work with your academic tutor to identify your future career path, and develop a personal portfolio of the skills you have developed, the opportunities for work and volunteering that you have taken on. This will help you create your CV and complete job applications, and give you plenty of examples to refer to in job interviews.

When you leave us we will have set you up with a toolbox of skills and experience that will serve you well, whatever your future endeavours.

Placement year

Many of our undergraduate degrees can include a placement year between your second and final year.

A placement year involves you working for an organisation for a year. This gives you an opportunity to get experience in the workplace, gain useful contacts for your future, and put what you’ve learned in the classroom to the test.

With help from our academics and the University’s Student Development team you will identify and apply for opportunities during your second year. Part of our module Mathematics Careers and Employability includes identifying your future career path, and we can advise you on the best placement opportunities that will help you move towards this goal.

Even if you aren’t sure what future job you would like, there are many organisations across the UK who need skilled mathematicians in their workforce. A placement year can help you make decisions about your future, and give you valuable work experience that will help you stand out in the job market.

Choosing to apply for a degree with a placement year doesn’t mean you have to do a placement. If you change your mind then we can swap you on to a standard three year degree.


Mathematicians are in demand across all sectors. As our world increasingly depends on technology and data, so demand for people who understand the mathematical underpinnings of these areas has grown.

Our graduates have found employment in a broad range of areas:

  • Public sector, including roles with central government departments such as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Highways England, and with local authorities such as Hampshire County Council. Graduates have also moved in to education as mathematics teachers in secondary schools across the country.
  • Private sector, including KPMG, British Arab Commercial Bank, and accountancy group Johal & Company.
  • Alternative routes, such as starting a business or following an academic path by undertaking a research degree.

Some of our graduates return to us several years after finishing their BSc when they choose to undertake a Masters degree. An MSc in a relevant area of mathematics can help with promotion prospects or a career change, and our part-time options mean you can balance studying with your other life commitments. And if you are one of our graduates then you can benefit from our alumni discount.

Going in to teaching

The demand for mathematicians around the globe has led to an increased need for mathematics teachers, who can give children the early education they need to be able to undertake maths at a higher level.

In the UK a shortage of skilled mathematics teachers has led to the government providing funding for those who take up mathematics teacher training after completing their undergraduate degrees. This includes bursaries while you are in training, as well as financial bonuses once you take up a teaching role. Bursaries are also available if you wish to teach primary education specialising in maths.

Expert staff

Our academics are experts in a broad range of areas in mathematics and data science.

But our staff don’t just study mathematics on it’s own. We have collaborations with academics in departments across the university, with particularly close links with the Department of Psychology, the Department of Economics, and the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. Through these connections, we have created several collaborative degrees where you take modules led by academics in other departments, such as our BSc Mathematics with Computing, and our BSc Finance and Mathematics.

Our expertise goes beyond our department. We host a regular research seminar series, where we invite guest experts from other institutions to present their latest projects. We encourage our undergraduates to attend these seminars, as they can help broaden your research horizons and give you an insight in to the wider research community.

Research-led teaching

Our teaching staff also carry out research in their specialist areas. This means that what you learn in the classroom is the latest theories, tried and tested by our staff through their research.

This also extends to the way we teach. Part of our research covers mathematics education, with a focus on improving the way teachers and students engage with mathematical problems, and how to support students who experience anxiety around the subject. This feeds in to our own best practice for how we teach you, so you benefit from our expertise in this area.

Building your confidence

Some students want to take mathematics at degree level, but are concerned that they may struggle studying it at a higher level. This can be especially true for those who have lacked support during their A-Levels.

Our first year modules are designed to help identify any gaps in your knowledge early on, so we can tailor support to your needs and help bring you up to speed. This may include small tuition groups, where two or three students will meet an academic to work through a particular problem.

We have also ensured that our first year modules are led by staff members who have experience of teaching students at A-Level, or who carry out research in to mathematics education. This will help bridge the gap between your secondary education and university experience.

The University Student Development team frequently run a range of support sessions for aspects of mathematics, such as using statistics. These sessions are open to all students across the university, and students from our department are welcome to take part.

Integrated Masters degrees

We offer Integrated Masters degrees in Mathematics, Actuarial Science and Data Science, and Mathematics and Data Science.

An Integrated Masters degree is an ideal option if you are already considering postgraduate study after completing your undergraduate degree, for example if you know that it will give you a head start in a particular career.

You will still have the same undergraduate teaching as students doing a standard BSc, and will still have the same experiences as other MSc students. By undertaking an Integrated Masters, you will simply move straight in to a postgraduate taught degree after your final year as an undergraduate, without applying separately to stay in the department.

Part of our community

Mathematicians have travelled from across the world to join our department. We might have different backgrounds and different life experiences, and some of us didn’t even do mathematics for our own undergraduate degree! But we are all united by our passion and interest in mathematics and data science, and their applications.

Our department has been built to foster collaboration and interaction between staff and students. Our home in the University’s STEM Centre has a central workspace with computers, and an open meeting area with sofas. Our academic offices are built around this central space, so if you come across a problem while studying you can ask someone for help.

To assist with this many of our academics have an “open door” policy. This means that rather than try to secure a time-limited appointment to see your tutor or lecturer, you can just pop by and see if they’re in. That doesn’t mean you can’t arrange a time to meet one of your lecturers – it’s just a quicker and easier way for you to speak to someone when you need help.

But your time at Essex is more than formulas and numbers. The Students’ Union has an active and engaged student community, with over thirty cultural societies and a broad range of arts and activities societies, including the Origami Society, Essex Entrepreneurs, and the Photography Society.

Additionally our department arranges social events for our students throughout the year. While more of these events may need to be carried out online in the future, we are determined to keep them going so we can bring our community together, even when we are apart.

I assisted with regular tasks while developing my own project from scratch – a set of reporting tools that would manipulate large databases. This has improved my project and time management skills, along with my proficiency in VBA for Excel, ResQ and SAS – which are the core Actuarial Reserving software packages.
Stefan Stoican Summer placement at AXA

COVID-19 and Teaching in Mathematical Sciences

Will COVID-19 change the way my course is taught?

If for any reason you are unable to travel to campus to start the academic year, all teaching will be available virtually. This means that you can start, or continue, your programme off-campus, wherever you are, with full flexibility to transfer to on-campus learning as soon as you are able to. 

We are also preparing an extensive range of guided learning materials such as pre-recorded videos, lecture notes and problem sheets. These will be used to support the teaching delivered in your lectures, classes and computer labs, depending upon the format of the module. Additionally we will be running regular online drop in sessions to make it easy for you to get support from your lecturers no matter where you are studying. 

What will this mean for my learning experience? 

For the 2020 academic year, we are focusing on ensuring that we are able to deliver a quality education and that your teaching and learning can continue if there is further disruption. That’s why we’ve been working hard to ensure that our students are able to start with us in October – in whatever way possible. The changes we have made to support you and protect your health and wellbeing mean that, for most of our courses, this will include blended learning. Where possible lectures will take place online and face-to-face, while classes and labs will be held online. Much of this teaching will be offered “live” (even if online / virtual) but will also be available to access at times that suit you.

We know that your learning experience is about more than just attending classes, and our campuses can provide you with all you need to make the most of your studies. This includes private space to study, in your on-campus study bedrooms as well as in PC labs and other spaces on our three campuses for self-study. We can also offer you access to laptops on loan and access to our library services; as well as enhanced WiFi provision across our campuses.

Our modules will be delivered in ways that focus on your needs as learners. All your modules will involve live teaching sessions, where you will be able to interact, ask questions, and engage in discussions with your tutor and your classmates. Your class sizes will be small, allowing our academic staff to engage with you as an individual, provide you with feedback and support your learning. By increasing the number of classes, we will provide more opportunities to obtain live feedback from lecturers. Our education will also incorporate various study aids, including weekly guidance notes introducing key concepts that you will encounter in lectures and other online learning materials.

You will also develop a wide range of skills that will improve your employability and that will be useful in your career after University. Along with the analytical, problem-solving, communication, and research skills that you develop during your degree, you will be able to demonstrate and enhance your ability to self-motivate, your adaptability and time-management, and your organisation skills. You will also have experience in a variety of digital learning technologies, many of which are required and widely used in professional environments.

What will a typical week studying one module look like? 

All modules will be designed to be equally accessible to all our students, regardless of whether you are able to join us on campus or are studying remotely. We will be running lectures face–to-face and online, and will be making use of technology to ensure that you can work collaboratively with your fellow students in classes and labs regardless of where you are studying from.

Additionally, in each module we are scheduling a weekly online drop-in Q&A session to make it even easier to have access to your lecturers and get their expert help and support.

A typical week for a module could start with you working through some pre-recorded lecture content and reading the accompanying notes in your own time and at your own pace.

This would be followed by a lecture that you can attend either on campus or remotely, depending upon how you are studying, which will build upon the pre-prepared online materials you have already worked through. These live lectures will be recorded so you can always revisit them later if this helps you with your studies.

After that you attend an online class where you have the opportunity to work on problems with fellow students in small groups in breakout rooms, while being supported by your lecturer.

Finally, there is a drop-in Q&A session so you have the opportunity to talk to your lecturers further if you have any outstanding questions from the week. 

As part of our “open door” policy you will also be able to speak to your lecturers on an individual basis. You will receive clear information at the start of the year about lecturers’ availability and our student support programme.

What happens if the situation changes before I start or during my time at Essex?

We recognise that some students may have difficulty travelling to campus in time to start the academic year.

If for any reason you are unable to travel to campus to start the academic year, all teaching will be available virtually. This means that you can start, or continue, your programme off-campus, wherever you are, with full flexibility to transfer to on-campus learning as soon as you are able to. However if you are an overseas student and you aren't able to join us on Campus in the autumn, then you will need to be aware of some immigration changes taking place in January 2021.

All of our modules are designed to support you to continue learning and still be able to access one-to-one consultation and guidance that you would normally get from the lecturers on your course, if further outbreaks of infection occur during the year. This means you can join us in full confidence that you can continue and complete your programme of study.

There is lots of helpful information about starting at Essex in our guide for applicants should you have any questions, feel uncertain about something in particular, or, would like up to date information on specific topics if your situation changes.  

What will my broader student experience in the Department and on campus be like?

We are proud to be a friendly, inclusive department, and we will continue to be as open and accessible as possible. We understand that the social aspect of university is just as important as the education. We have a long tradition of regularly organising social events for our students, and we are working on a range of online and in-person activities that will bring you and your fellow students together throughout the year.

At the start of the autumn term we will be running online sessions introducing new students to staff research interests to help them to both get to know us, but also to get a feel for what Actuarial Science, Data Science and Mathematics at university looks like.

We have been working in partnership with our Students’ Union to ensure that you can enjoy our clubs, societies, activities and services. We have built in flexibility to enable you to access support and activities, and to shape your experience around your life.

To learn more about the range of events Essex will be hosting, please visit our events calendar. You can find the very latest guidance on how to visit your campus in our coming onto campus guide.

How will the University support me during this time?

The health and wellbeing of our students is our priority, and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

This means we are constantly monitoring advice from the UK Government, Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures: 

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely  

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students.

There are a number of support systems available to you whilst you are at Essex, for whenever you need them and for however long you wish to use them.

These include: 

The University also runs a variety of online events throughout the year including at-home yoga and mindfulness sessions.

To find out more about the network of support you will benefit from during your time at Essex, please visit the Student Directory.

Within our department you will be assigned an Academic Tutor, who will be your key contact point throughout your time with us. If you are concerned about your academic progress, or are worried about managing your deadlines, then you can always talk to them.

Short course to prepare you for academic success

We know that the disruption to your learning this year has had a significant impact, and we are dedicated to supporting you to success in your future learning. To help you prepare for university, we’ve developed an online, six-week course called the Pre-Undergraduate Short Course. It’s completely optional but if you complete it and enrol with us this year, you’ll be eligible for a £500 bursary.

Find out more information about the bursary