How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in the field of mathematics. Throughout your studies, you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself. Less formal, more independent study is a vital part of becoming a successful mathematician. So we encourage students to work together and have several popular study areas in and around the School where you can work with friends or individually.
Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies until graduation, to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues. You will meet your personal tutor at least once a semester to review your academic progress and discuss how to develop your transferable skills. Your personal tutor will also be able to advise on particular areas where you need additional support.
Delivery of the course
From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Mathematics programmes are modular and divided between two teaching terms. Examinations take place in the summer term of each year. Learning takes place in several forms and settings. Our formal teaching comprises:
Lectures: Delivered in a variety of styles by enthusiastic staff, lectures form the major source of information for most modules.
Tutorials: Every week in your first year and every two weeks in your second year, you have small group meetings with your tutor. Here you will get to solve mathematical problems and discuss material introduced in lectures.
Examples classes: These focus on working through mathematical problems issued by the lecturer. Through examples classes, you will be able to check your learning and reflect on particular examples with the aid of experienced mathematicians. Examples classes are usually run by a lecturer with the help of one or more graduate students.
Supervisions: For some modules, instead of examples classes, we run smaller supervisions of 10 to 15 students where one lecturer goes through students' solutions to problems with the group.
Computer labs: Some modules are supported by computer labs using computer algebra packages to solve problems, programming languages to model mathematical situations or computer assessment systems to test your learning.
Web-based learning: All of our modules are linked to iVLE - a virtual learning environment that gives you access to lecture notes, additional learning units, self-tests and supplementary interactive information to support your learning.
Feedback: You receive regular feedback in all of your modules through marked work, model answers, tutorials, examples classes and supervisions.
Less formal, more independent study is a vital part of becoming a mathematician. We encourage students to work together and have several popular study areas in and around the School where you can work with friends or individually. Initially, you may find these ways of working challenging but there is a comprehensive support system assisting and encouraging you to settle in. You will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your degree programme and welfare tutors will be available for pastoral issues.
Assessment varies across modules and can include:
Examinations - usually taken at the end of the year in which the module is taught
Coursework - this could be continuous or at the end of the module, and is assessed in a variety of ways.
Class tests - some lecturers set regular class tests which could be written tests, group presentations or computer-based tests providing instant feedback.
Research projects are assessed by, for example, interim reports, a final written report and oral presentations.
During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in the School and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from, and build on, what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.