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Mathematics (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Our MSc Mathematics delves into the fascinating, challenging and elegant world of mathematics; taking your skillset and knowledge base from a BSc in Mathematics (or similar) towards a point where you can embark on original research in pure and applied mathematics.


1 year programme

Available on a one-year full-time basis.


Develop your skills

This course offers a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of mathematics.


Tailor your learning

Gain an understanding of abstract mathematical concepts, logical argument and deductive reasoning.


Gain a deeper understanding of mathematics

This course offers an education in mathematics appropriate for those intending to become professional mathematicians, or who wish to gain a deeper understanding of mathematics.


Supervised dissertation

This course provides an opportunity to undertake a supervised dissertation at an advanced level.


Research expertise

Students are taught and supervised by our research active staff, who will offer guidance and advice on an individual basis.

Our MSc Mathematics delves into the fascinating, challenging and elegant world of mathematics; taking your skillset and knowledge base from a BSc in Mathematics (or similar) towards a point where you can embark on original research in pure and applied mathematics.

The course consists of a mixture of taught modules in pure and applied mathematics, self-study modules which build skills crucial for both a research degree and the workplace, and a dissertation, which allows you to research mathematics under the guidance of experienced, research active academics.

This one year degree is the ideal preparation if you want to go on to do a PhD, work in research or for a technological company. You will gain a deeper understanding of mathematics and develop skills in demand by a range of prospective employers.

Where you'll study

School of Mathematics

Our intellectually exciting degrees are accredited to meet the educational requirements of the Chartered Mathematician designation.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4811
  • MarkerSenghennydd Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4AG

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as mathematics or a related discipline with a strong mathematical component, covering basics of real analysis and linear algebra, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. A reference (academic or professional) to support your application. Your referee should comment on your academic ability, work ethic, and general character. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of your professional experience. Please provide a reference from your employer to evidence that you currently work in an area relevant to the programme. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This course is of one-year duration. All students complete a 20 credit reading module designed to develop research and other transferable skills; this can be done in either semester 1 or 2. Students also take 100 credits of optional modules in the taught component of the programme. This is followed by a 60 credit dissertation which will be undertaken over the summer, under the guidance of an experienced, research active academic.

The programme has two principle pathways, in pure and applied mathematics, but students can also access taught modules in all of the main areas of the School’s expertise: Algebra, Analysis, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Operational Research and Statistics.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

An explanation of the programme structure, and guidance in the choice of optional modules, is provided during the induction week. All students are assigned a personal tutor, to provide support and guidance throughout the programme.

All MSc Mathematics students are expected to have completed and passed Real Analysis and Linear Algebra or equivalent at the second year level of their undergraduate degree. There are two principal pathways through the MSc degree: pure and applied. To take the pure pathway you will need to have completed a third year level course on functional and Fourier analysis. To take the applied pathway you will need to have completed a third year level course on partial differential equations and their applications.

All MSc Mathematics students are required to take the core Reading Module MA4901 in either the Autumn or Spring semester.

Some of the optional modules have additional requirements, such as a background in probability/statistics or in number theory.

Students are encouraged to discuss their prerequisites and ways to make up for some gaps with their Admissions Tutor and, after enrolment, with their Personal Tutor.

You are required to achieve at least a 50% average and pass all 120 credits to continue to the dissertation stage. The dissertation is worth 60 credits and is a chance to apply your mathematical skills to a research topic of your choice.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

We teach using a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Methods of teaching will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment.

You will apply the skills you develop through presentations, reading assignments, and the summer dissertation.

How will I be assessed?

Most modules have closed book written exams at the end of the Autumn or Spring semesters, with some also having an element of continuous assessment. This may include problem-solving exercises, written reports and oral presentations. Feedback on progress is typically provided through a combination of discussion in class, written comments on submitted work and review of outline solutions to problems. You are encouraged to discuss any queries related to specific modules with individual lecturers. All students can review their exam scripts and discuss their performance with the corresponding module lecturer.

Your dissertation is assessed through a written report and an oral examination.

How will I be supported?

All of our students are allocated a personal tutor when they enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies, and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.

You will have access to the Senghennydd Library, which holds our collection of mathematical and computer science-related resources, as well as to the other Cardiff University Libraries.

We will provide you with a copy of the Student Handbook, which contains details of the School’s policies and procedures. We also support students through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can ask questions in a forum or find course-related documents.

Cardiff University also offers a wide range of support services which are open to our students, such as the Graduate Centre, counselling and wellbeing, financial and careers advisors, the international office and the Student Union.


We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are happy to provide advice and guidance on your progress. We aim to provide you with feedback within twenty days following submission of an assessment.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an in-depth understanding of a range of topics in pure mathematics (algebra, analysis and number theory) and/or the theoretical underpinning of methods in applied mathematics
  • an understanding of the concept of mathematical proof

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • the ability to formulate and solve mathematical problems
  • communication skills and the ability to communicate mathematical knowledge and understanding
  • plan and conduct a piece of novel research
  • independent critical thinking

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • assimilate and communicate detailed mathematical arguments
  • use and critical evaluation of mathematical literature

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • logical reasoning
  • independent thinking
  • critical thinking
  • the ability to apply mathematical skills to solve problems
  • use of information technology and library resources
  • time and workload management
  • the ability to conduct independent research
  • communication and presentation

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £11,700 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £28,200 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs associated with the MSc Mathematics degree scheme unless students wish to purchase copies of textbooks for their personal use instead of using those available in the University library.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

What the student should provide:

Calculator that satisfies Cardiff University examination regulations. Students may wish to purchase textbooks but copies are available through the university libraries.

What the University will provide:

Laboratories, computer labs and appropriate software.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Career prospects

Specialist numerical skills and logical and analytical thought are qualities in demand across a range of stimulating and rewarding careers. There is a high demand for mathematicians across a range of sectors such as the oil and nuclear industries, medicine and IT, as well as many forms of engineering and different government departments. Further study at Masters level can be useful for some maths-related careers such as operational research, medical statistics in pharmaceutical companies, meteorology, engineering design, finance, investment banking, actuarial science and IT-based roles. Government agencies such as the Office of National Statistics and the Meteorological Office also provide employment opportunities for Mathematics graduates.

If you prefer to continue on a more academic career pathway, you may choose to continue your studies with a PhD.

Next steps


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.