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BA Mathematics and Philosophy

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
GV15
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£18,780 (Overseas)
More detail.

Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, Mathematicians and Philosophers have sought to find the truth behind the underlying workings and meanings of the universe.

Studying Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Birmingham will give you access to world-class talent in fields as diverse as group theory, fluid dynamics, philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and many others. You will enjoy a rich and engaging academic experience and students on this programme rate it extremely highly.

In your Philosophy studies, you will explore the great minds of history and the present day, both learning what they thought and engaging with them critically.  Meanwhile, your Mathematics studies are carefully designed to give you access to as many topics as possible. You will develop skills such as the ability to formulate and tackle problems, to think logically, to use technical language and to express complex ideas clearly and accurately.

The course allocates plenty of time on each philosophical question, which allows us to fully analyse the problem and experiment with different ideas. This makes essay writing much easier, especially with the extra support from my lecturers that is available to me.

Lorcan

Why Study this Course?

  • Excellent employability development – 90% of our Mathematics graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
  • Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy and Mathematics. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Philosophy 2nd in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise, whilst the Department of Mathematics was ranked 6th. Both departments are large enough to offer a broad spectrum of modules, but small enough to offer a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 
  • Flexibility – The variety of modules on offer will allow you to specialise more as you progress so that you can study areas of the discipline which interest you the most.
  • Outstanding student experience – You will have a variety of opportunities to enhance your student experience, including regular coffee mornings for staff and students, visiting speakers and specialist lectures, student conferences, research visits and a variety of trips.
  • Space to think – Philosophers write works that closely resemble essays, so essays are for the most part the best method of assessment. With this in mind, almost all of our Philosophy assessments are based on coursework. Staff within the Department of Philosophy know students by name and are always happy to talk about philosophical questions or provide additional feedback on academic performance. 

Open day talks

Two videos on YouTube from recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Joint Honours flexibility for programmes involving Mathematics

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year and second year of a Joint Honours programme with Mathematics, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of your disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the final year of our programmes involving Mathematics. In your third year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/minor combination.

Year 1

Philosophy compulsory modules

  • Problems of Philosophy (20)
  • The Philosopher's Toolkit (20) - Formal Logic is a compulsory pathway in this module for Mathematics and Philosophy students 

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

You will also take 20 credits of optional modules

Mathematics compulsory modules

  • Real Analysis and the Calculus (30)
  • Vectors, Geometry and Linear Algebra (20)
  • Mechanics (10)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

Year 2

Philosophy compulsory module

  • Logic: Its Limits and Scope (20)

You will also take 40 credits of optional modules

Mathematics compulsory modules

  • Multivariable and Vector Analysis (20)
  • Linear Algebra (10)
  • Probability and Statistics (10)
  • Algebra and Combinatorics 1 (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 compulsory modules

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final Year

Philosophy compulsory module

  • 80 credits - Philosophical Project (20 or 40 if not taking Independent Study in Mathematics)
  • 60 credits - Philosophical Project (20 or 40 if not taking Independent Study in Mathematics)
  • 40 credits - Philosophical Project (20 or 40 if not taking Independent Study in Mathematics)

Detailed description of Final Year compulsory module

You will also take your remaining Philosophy credits in optional modules

Mathematics compulsory module

  • 80 credits - Independent Study in Mathematics (20 - if not taking Philosophical Project)
  • 60 credits - Independent Study in Mathematics (20 - if not taking Philosophical Project)
  • 40 credits - Independent Study in Mathematics (20 - if not taking Philosophical Project)

You will fill your remaining Mathematics credits with optional modules. As you will have gained a thorough grounding in many aspects of Mathematics during Years 1 and 2, you will be able to choose from an incredibly wide range of final year modules. Modules may include topics such as 'Research Skills in Mathematics', 'Mathematical Finance', 'Differential Equations' and 'Computability and Logic'.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £18,780

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level Maths grade A.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including an A in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

When you pull the lever, you causally intervene in the sequence of events. You aim that trolley at this person. You’re not intending that this person die, but you could nevertheless be said to be responsible for killing this person, not just letting them die.

Dr Iain Law

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

Personal tutors – You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Interactive classes are offered in modules which don't feature separate seminars. Here, lecturing time and discussion time are part of the same session and the structure of the classes can be very flexible.

Contact hours

On the Philosophy side of your degree, you can expect approximately 4 contact hours each week throughout the course of your programme. Contact hours will vary across the years of the programme depending on the optional modules you take and as independent study becomes more of a focus. Contact hours will be a combination of lectures and seminars and the independent research that you conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

In Maths, you can expect around 6 hours of lectures, 1 hour of an exercise class / tutorial, 2 hours in computer labs and 1 hour feedback with a personal tutor.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Each module is assessed independently by exams, essays or other forms of written assignment. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Most first-year modules are assessed by both an essay written during the year and an exam at the end of the year, with each given equal weight. The assessment for second- and third-year modules also varies. Many modules are assessed by two essays, while some are assessed by an essay and an exam.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

90% of our Mathematics graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).

Philosophy and Mathematics graduates have a range of knowledge and skills that are highly prized by graduate employers, such as:

  • Understanding complex information 
  • Writing clearly and effectively
  • Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view
  • Respecting the views of others even if they disagree with you
  • Analytic thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Generally thinking for yourself
  • Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret the information that you have gathered
  • Handling complex information, including complex statistics
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Managing your time effectively and prioritising your workload

Our graduates go on to pursue highly successful careers in professions such as Law, Journalism, Teaching, Management consultancy, Local and Central government, Publishing and Marketing. They have even gone on to be comedians, MPs, writers, Chief Rabbi and Blue Peter presenters.

Example employers include:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Central London Youth Development
  • Step on Stage Academy
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • CMT Learning
  • Brightedge
  • Barclays Aero Engine Controls
  • BAE Systems Detica
  • Ernst and Young
  • KPMG
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • N Power
  • PWC
  • Qinetiq
  • Santander
  • Towers Watson

Some graduates choose to progress to further study, not just in Maths or Philosophy but in Politics, International Development, Sociology and other areas.

Examples of further studies programmes include:

  • MA Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • MA Global Ethics
  • MA Philosophy
  • MA International Security & Development
  • PGCE/PGDipEd (QTS) Secondary Education
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Cima - Management Accounting
  • MA International Liaison and Communication
  • MRes Statistics and Operational Research
  • MSc Actuarial Science
  • MSc Medical Statistics
  • PGCE Secondary Mathematics
  • PGDipEd Secondary Education Mathematics
  • PhD Applied Mathematics
  • PhD Pure Mathematics

Developing your career

There is a range of opportunities through our Careers Network and beyond. For example, our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six-month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market.

Current partners include Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, and the Library of Birmingham. There are also internships available at the University’s own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

There are regular events each year covering careers in teaching, events management, working with charities and more, to help you meet potential employers and learn more about a range of sectors.

There are also summer internship opportunities and work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. You may also want to apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement through our Global Challenge Internship Programme.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts.

Our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project run by one of our researchers in drama and theatre. You gain work experience over the summer after your first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.

Our employer-endorsed Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

There are also a huge number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, our students’ union, which cover a wide variety of interests across drama and the arts.

With more than 300 societies and groups at The Guild, there is something for everyone.If your interest does not yet have a group, then The Guild will support you to set it up and find likeminded individuals to join you.

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Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities