Course Content (including module information)
The mathematics programmes at Queen’s offer students the opportunity to tailor their studies to their mathematical interests. We offer a range of modules across the main areas of mathematics: pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics and operational research. Pure Mathematics provides the essential tools used in the increasingly numerate science of today, and is continually developing new ones to solve problems at the forefront of research in many disciplines. Applied Mathematics is concerned with the application of Mathematics to the study of the physical universe, including theoretical physics, as well as the social, industrial and commercial world. Statistics is concerned with deriving sound inferences from data.This may be experimental or observational and obtained from investigations of physical or biological phenomena or from the study of the workings of industry, commerce and society. In all areas, computers are used to obtain accurate numerical solutions to the mathematical problems involved.
The first year, and a sizable fraction of the second year, of the studies is devoted to core mathematics knowledge. During the second, third and (for MSci, students) fourth year, students can choose from a wide range of optional modules. BSc students will carry out an investigation in their third year to gain insight into the practical application of mathematics within a particular context. MSci students will carry out an extended investigation in their fourth year to gain experience of mathematics at the forefront of research.
In the first year of study, most Mathematics students choose to take the six modules on offer within Mathematics:
- Introduction to Calculus and Analysis
- Introduction to Statistics and Operational Research Mathematical Modelling
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Methods of Statistics and Operation Research
Students on joint pathways (Physics/Computer Science/Finance) will combine a specific selection of these modules with modules taken from the respective department.
The modules at Level 1 lay the foundation for the future study of mathematics, and, through the Mathematical Modelling and Reasoning modules, and the SOR methods module, will also provide insight into how mathematical methods and mathematical thinking relate to real problems.
Level 2 completes the mathematical foundations with three core modules for most mathematics students:
- Linear Algebra and Complex Analysis
- Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
Students can take three optional modules from the following list to start the personalisation of their mathematics study:
- Classical Mechanics
- Elementary Number Theory
- Fluid Mechanics
- Graph Theory
- Group Theory
- Linear Models
- Methods of Operational Research
- Numerical Analysis
- Statistical Inference
Students on joint pathways will take at least two modules outside Mathematics, and the Analysis module does not form part of the core.
At this level, the BSc and MSci, pathways separate. BSc students take a project module and at least one other module that assists with the development of skills relevant to their chosen programme. For mathematics students, this module is Computer Algebra. MSci, students take on an investigations module, which develops the research skills needed for the extended Level 4 investigation. In addition, students have the opportunity to develop their understanding of a wide range of mathematical topics, ranging from data mining and financial mathematics to quantum mechanics and algebraic equations.
Module topics include:
- Algebraic Equations
- Calculus of Variations and Hamiltonian Mechanics
- Computer Algebra
- Electromagnetic Theory
- Elementary Number Theory
- Financial Mathematics
- Graph Theory
- Linear and Dynamic Programming
- Mathematical Investigations
- Mathematical Modeling in Biology and Medicine
- Metric and Normed Spaces
- Partial Differential Equations
- Quantum Theory
- Ring Theory
- Set Theory
- Statistical Data Mining
- Stochastic Processess
- Tensor Field Theory
Student on the joint programmes with Physics and Computer Science will take a selection of modules from both Mathematics and the joint programme. Mathematics with Finance students will take a selection of modules of relevance to finance, from the list above.
The Level 4 modules open to MSci. students offer students the opportunity to study a selection of topics in greater depth than is possible in the BSc programme. The centrepiece of the fourth-year is the double-weighted investigations module, in which a student has the opportunity to study an aspect of mathematics close to the frontier of knowledge. The main choice of modules includes:
- Advanced Mathematical Methods
- Advanced Quantum Theory
- Agebraic Equations
- Algebraic Topology
- Applied Mathematics Project
- Functional Analysis
- Information Theory
- Integration Theory
- Mathematical Methods for Quantum Information
- Practical Methods for Partial Differential Equations Processing
- Pure Mathematics Project
- Rings and Modules
- Statistical Mechanics
- Survival Analysis
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment (general): The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers.
- Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
- Supervised projects: In final year, students will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that they have chosen. Students will receive support from a supervisor who will guide them in terms of how to carry out research and who will provide feedback on at least 2 occasions during the write up stage.
- Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.