Study mathematics at university

What is mathematics?

Mathematics is the abstract science of quantity, number and space, it is all around us and is used in our everyday lives. It is a core element for everything from architecture and engineering to mobile phones and art.

Mathematics focuses on how to break down complex problems into simpler ones. It uses methodical processes and is based on deductive reasoning. 

There are two main branches: pure mathematics and applied mathematics. Pure mathematics is the study of mathematical concepts that are separate from anything else. Applied mathematics is the application of mathematical processes and methods in different fields, such as science and engineering.

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

Why study mathematics?

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

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.

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.

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 Sciences 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.

5th in the UK

for Mathematics in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Studying mathematics at Durham

Mathematics career opportunities

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.

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