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Mathematics undergrad university choices help

  1. Oct 26, 2012 #1
    I've applied to five different universities (UK) and have started to receive offers. I'm having a hard time to decide which of the university to choose, as before applying I always had the idea in my head that your mathematics education doesn't really matter, and if you're good at maths then you will be able to succeed at it regardless, however after speaking to people in the work force (actuarial field, investment bankers, professors) it seems as though where I get my undergraduate degree does indeed matter.

    Anyway, onto the universities:

    Warwick:

    Advantages:
    - Arguably the "best" mathematics department on my list, only behind Oxbridge in the UK
    - A lot of module choices
    - Mathematics and economics are their best departments, so a lot of research opportunities as well as a lot of scholarships and bursaries available for mathematics students
    - More independence as it's further from home
    - A lot of support is given to mathematics students

    Disadvantages:
    - I live in London, and would have to move out for all 3/4 years while studying there, so more debt. Also, if I get homesick or something then I wouldn't be able to quickly go home
    - Highest entry requirements (though I think that'll make it more fun)
    - The university was only founded in 1965, so it doesn't have much of a global presence which is worrying as I would like to move abroad sometime

    King's College London:

    Advantages:

    - Very close to home
    - Strong departments in pure mathematics and theoretical physics, which look interesting, but I have no idea if I would enjoy the modules
    - A lot of scholarships available (but more competitive)
    - Entry requirements are much easier to obtain (only 3As)
    - Save a lot of money
    - Smaller department so perhaps more 1-1 tutorials?
    - Global name

    Disadvantages:

    - They don't offer first year accommodation, so I would have to live at home throughout the 3 years, while I would like to move out at least for one year
    - Ranked very low in comparison to the other universities I applied for
    - No statistics department which is worrying
    - Mathematics is not the universities best department; they are more focused onto medicine and whatnot

    University College London:

    Advantages:

    - Mathematics course is highly talked of, though I don't particularly know why
    - Very good links with employers
    - Close to home
    - Offer first year accommodation, meaning I can move out for at least a year then move back home after
    - Global Name

    Disadvantages:

    - Their research areas seem to be focussed on modelling rather than actual pure mathematics, though I don't think that matters too much for undergrad
    - Mathematics department is above the student union, so it seems that the university does not really "care" for their mathematics department
    - I don't really like the "feel" of the place after visiting it; I don't think I'd be happy to spend 3-4 years here
    - Hardly any module choices


    -

    Now another thing that is bugging me is the module choices, I want to go to a university which offers hard modules, ones that will challenge me throughout my 3-4 years there. I've noticed that some universities do not offer analysis in the first year, but only in the second, while others offer it in the first and second as well as the third year (it is infant compulsory in the first year). I've listed the modules for each university below, if anyone could comment on them it'd be great - Thanks:

    University College London: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/maths/courses/undergraduates/
    King's College London (Don't offer analysis in the first year?): http://www.kcl.ac.uk/nms/depts/mathematics/study/current/handbook/progs/modules/index.aspx
    Warwick: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/maths/undergrad/ughandbook/year1/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2012 #2

    mathwonk

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  4. Oct 28, 2012 #3
  5. Jul 5, 2013 #4
    *hope this is allowed*, bumping it up as I'm in a similar predicament.
     
  6. Jul 5, 2013 #5
    I found your comment about UCL's math dept. a bit funny. I can't really say much about it the math dept. courses outside of a GR module I took, but it certainly looked like and felt like a very small department when I went there, there's definitely no dedicated "math" building as their was for physics (I spent a year there). Despite spending a lot of time in the "math building" it rarely felt like a math faculty. Math library had a good selection though.

    I haven't been to KCL, is the math department any smaller than UCL's? On a whim, I would probably pick KCL over the two, if anything because the higher physics and math modules I saw were available through UCL's joint campus program were a lot more interesting than much of the upper level coursework at UCL.

    I don't see the point of moving out on your own if can go to very good colleges within your home city. I don't know if Warwick would be worth it, I just see it as unnecessary spending, but to each his own...
     
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