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BSc (Honours) Mathematics

Take your understanding of concepts, theories and applications in pure and applied mathematics to graduate level. You can also include optional statistics, theoretical physics or mathematics education. You’ll cover a wide range of topics and develop an understanding of mathematical problems and approaches. Practise with essential methods and tools, and increase your familiarity with mathematical software. Gain an appreciation of the role and construction of rigorous proof. And build your experience of communicating mathematical arguments and conclusions.

Key features of the course

  • Choose pure and applied mathematics modules that fit your needs and interests.
  • Include statistics, physics and mathematics education options.
  • Develop your experience with mathematical methods and software.
  • Start at a point that suits your level of mathematical knowledge.
  • Move to a different mathematics/statistics degree, if your aspirations change, even after you’ve started.

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q31
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll normally start Stage 1 with a 30-credit introductory module followed by three further 30-credit modules in pure and applied mathematics and statistics.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit pure mathematics module and 60 credits from a choice of applied mathematics and statistics modules.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study a further 120 credits from a range of advanced modules in mathematics, statistics, physics and mathematics education.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

Mathematics is a linear subject – it’s important to have a good understanding of the basics before moving on to more advanced topics. You’ll normally begin with an introduction to key mathematical concepts, ideal if you haven’t studied mathematics to an advanced level; or haven’t studied for some time and need to refresh your skills and knowledge. If you’re confident studying mathematics at university level, you can skip the first module and, instead, choose from a selection of other modules to complete Stage 1. For advice on where to start, see Entry requirements.

Stage 1 is the same in many of our mathematics and statistics qualifications. So, you could change qualification at this point if you want to.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

You'll continue to develop your mathematical skills and knowledge by exploring new topics and deepening your understanding of pure mathematics and applied mathematics with an option to study some further statistics.
ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Pure mathematics (M208)60
You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)60
Analysing data (M248)30
Mathematical methods (MST224)30

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3, you’ll choose from a range of more advanced modules in mathematics, statistics, physics and mathematics education.
ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Applications of probability (M343)30
Applied statistical modelling (M348) – planned for October 202230
Complex analysis (M337)30
Deterministic and stochastic dynamics (MS327)30
Electromagnetism (SM381) – planned for October 202230
Further pure mathematics (M303)60
Graphs, networks and design (MT365)30
Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics (MST326)30
Mathematical statistics (M347)30
Optimization (M373)30
Mathematical thinking in schools (ME620)30
Quantum physics: fundamentals and applications (SM380) – planned for October 202230

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 10 September 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Mathematics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • printed material
  • online material, including websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • small amounts of practical work and other activities, such as group work with other students on some modules, writing short reports or preparing presentations
  • using specialist software
  • face-to-face tutorials/day schools and/or online tutorials
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of short and long answer questions, and in most cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your qualification.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BSc (Honours) Mathematics.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical skills.

You have a choice of starting module depending on your current skill level: Discovering mathematics (MU123) or Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). You can find out which module is your best starting point here.

You can also check you’re ready for MU123 or MST124, and the topics they cover, at the link above.

Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.

How much time do I need?

This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, it is recommend that you build up your pace of study slowly to ensure you gain a good understanding of the more basic topics. How many credits you can complete in a year will depend on your study situation, and this qualification is designed to enable you to vary your study intensity from year to year.

  • Most of our students study part time, normally completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £19,008*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Field schools/lab schools

This qualification has modules with optional field schools/lab schools. For each school, you must pay an additional charge (see module descriptions for further information). You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we may replace face-to-face events with online alternatives.


Skills for career development

Mathematics lies at the heart of many activities, from everyday tasks, problem solving and decision making to economics and the advancement of science and technology. Mathematical knowledge is much sought after by a wide variety of employers, as shown by the Government’s initiative to increase participation in the strategically important STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

By studying this degree course you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge required for jobs in fields such as education, engineering, business, finance and accountancy. It is widely accepted that a degree in mathematics particularly enhances the following transferable and much sought-after skills:

  • communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
  • understanding complex mathematical texts
  • working with abstract concepts
  • thinking logically
  • expressing problems in mathematical language
  • constructing logical arguments
  • working on open-ended problems
  • finding solutions to problems
  • interpreting mathematical results in real-world terms
  • using relevant professional software.

Career relevance

Mathematics graduates are employed in all areas of the public and private sectors, business and commerce, large and small firms, and in positions of responsibility that lead to management. Mathematics graduates gain skills and knowledge in demand in fields such as finance, accountancy, education, engineering, science, defence, the pharmaceuticals industry and business.

There are some careers for which a degree in mathematics and/or statistics is specified. These include teaching, statistical work (including actuarial work), operational research and development, and some areas of computing.

Other career areas directly related to mathematics include:

  • accountancy
  • banking
  • bioinformatics
  • economics
  • engineering
  • financial services
  • insurance
  • investments
  • market research
  • quantitative analysis/risk analysis
  • retail
  • stockbroking/trading.

Accreditation

This qualification will contribute to you gaining all grades of membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), from Student Membership to Chartered Mathematician.

IMA logo

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • actuary
  • aeronautical engineer
  • auditor
  • chartered accountant
  • data scientist
  • financial risk analyst
  • investment analyst
  • lecturer
  • management consultant
  • meteorologist
  • operational researcher
  • pensions administrator
  • secondary school teacher
  • statistician
  • systems developer.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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