Why study mathematics?

A mathematics tutor teaching a lesson

One of the STEM subjects highly regarded by employers, mathematics is the abstract science of quantity, number and space. It is a core element of many fundamental parts of life and if you study mathematics at university, you’ll gain the skills to break down complex problems into simpler ones. Whether you study pure mathematics, the study of mathematical concepts that are separate from anything else, or applied mathematics, the application of mathematical processes and methods in different fields, you’ll graduate with the skills to work in a variety of roles, from accounting to finance, or engineering to statistics.

Fields of mathematics

Mathematics has a variety of fields and areas that you can study, each essential to different aspects of everyday living. Some of these fields include:

  • Statistics - ways to collect, summarise and analyse data
  • Computing - using computer simulations to solve mathematical problems or using standard arithmetic in computer coding and programming
  • Operational research - the use of mathematical methods and problem solving to improve decision making and efficiency in complex organisations such as multinational companies

Benefits of studying mathematics

Mathematics is a highly interesting and challenging subject with many different reasons to study it at university:

Make a difference

Discover a subject which is crucial to improving and sustaining everyday life. Mathematics is a core element in all of the physical sciences and increasingly in biological science. You can help design a bridge or cure a disease, all thanks to mathematics.

You enjoy problem-solving

Studying mathematics at university is interesting and challenging. You will advance your logical reasoning and problem-solving skills, and gain a different perspective when it comes to tackling real-world challenges.

Gain advanced numeracy skills

You will develop in-depth and advanced numeracy skills from studying a degree in mathematics. You will finish your degree with a strong understanding of the main areas of mathematics and an incredible range of mathematical methods you can apply in the workplace. Numeracy skills are desired in a variety of industries, so you will have great career prospects.

Why study mathematics at Durham University?

Choosing to study mathematics at Durham University means you will be taught by some of the top international leaders in mathematical research. You will learn in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, renowned for its high-quality research, where you will have the opportunity to explore many important areas of cutting-edge mathematical thought and application. 

There is a wide range of research areas you can get involved in, including pure mathematics, numerical analysis and mathematical physics. 

Durham University will help you develop the skills and knowledge required to have a successful career. In 2016, 87% of Durham Mathematical Sciences graduates secured employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating.

Key skills from studying mathematics

Studying mathematics at university will give you a number of skills that will help you succeed throughout your degree and your chosen career:

  • Problem-solving
  • Data analysis
  • Organisation
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Communication
  • Decision making.

What mathematics degree can I study at Durham University?

For those who would like to study mathematics at university, then BSc (Hons) Mathematics at Durham University gives you the opportunity to study a variety of mathematics topics, such as statistics, calculus and dynamics, with a large choice of modules. You will cover the background of a range of specific areas through your first year and then in year two and three, you will be able to choose the areas you want to specialise in. You can fully specialise in one area, or choose to study a broader selection of modules.

There is a variety of modules covering pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics.

If you are interested in studying more than one subject, then you can choose a Joint Honours degree such as BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Natural SciencesBSc Mathematics and StatisticsMMath Mathematics and Statistics or BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

Our International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering prepares international students for a mathematics degree at Durham. Through a mix of core modules and designated modules related to your degree in mathematics, you will develop the English language and study skills needed to succeed at university.

Mathematics degree jobs

With the desirable and advanced skills you will gain from studying mathematics at university, you will have plenty of career options. You could also choose to further your studies with a Masters degree.

Jobs related to a mathematics degree include:

  • Accountancy
  • Investment management
  • Investment banking
  • Retail banking
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Mathematics research scientist
  • Mathematics teacher
  • Statistician
  • Investment analyst.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a mathematics degree hard to study?

A mathematics degree can be challenging due to its concepts and rigorous problem-solving nature, but it can also be intellectually stimulating and rewarding with dedication and perseverance.

How many years does a maths degree take?

A mathematics degree typically takes three to four years to complete at the undergraduate level.

Is mathematics a good career option?

Mathematics offers a wide range of career options in fields such as finance, data science, research, engineering, and academia. It provides a solid foundation for analytical thinking and problem-solving, making it a valuable and versatile career choice.