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 2022/23:
£9,250 (UK)
£19,740 (International)
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 undergraduate 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 degree course rate it extremely highly.

In your undergraduate 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 undergraduate 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.

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The undergraduate Philosophy 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 undergraduate 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 undergraduate degree 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 undergraduate 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 undergraduate Philosophy assessments are based on coursework. Staff within the Department of Philosophy know undergraduate students by name and are always happy to talk about philosophical questions or provide additional feedback on academic performance. 

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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 2022. 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 A (10)
  • Problems of Philosophy B (10)
  • The Philosopher's Toolkit A (20) - Formal Logic is a compulsory pathway in this module for Mathematics and Philosophy students 
  • Moral and Political Philosophy (20) OR Reasons to Believe (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

Mathematics compulsory modules

  • Mathematical Modelling & Problem Solving (10)
  • Vectors, Geometry & Linear Algebra  (20)
  • Sequences and Series (10)
  • Real Analysis (20)

Year 2

Philosophy compulsory module

  • Logic: Its Limits and Scope (20)

You will also take 40 credits of optional modules.

The optional modules are divided into three categories that represent three core areas of philosophy: history
of philosophy; ethics and social philosophy; epistemology metaphysics, and philosophy of mind and
language. These groupings are the following (the modules are indicative and subject to change):

Group A: Science and Nature, Logic: Its Limits and Scope, Philosophy of Mental Health
Group B: Feminist Philosophy, Sex, Ethics and Philosophy
Group C: Experience and Reason, Aesthetics through History

At least one module must be taken from either Group B or C.

Mathematics compulsory modules

  • Probability & Statistics (10)
  • Mechanics (10)
  • Algebra and Combinatorics 1 (20)
  • Real & Complex Analysis (20) OR Multivariable & Vector Analysis (20)

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

Compulsory modules

  • Philosophy of Mathematics (20)
  • Philosophical Project (20 or 40) if a dissertation or similar independent study module is not taken in Mathematics 
    You will also take your remaining Philosophy credits and remaining Mathematics credits in 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 2022, 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 2022/23 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £19,740

Eligibility for 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.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

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

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International 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.

Pathways to Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has a long history of welcoming students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. We are proud to offer prospective applicants at one of our partner institutions the support of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes to access a degree at the University.

We have a range of initiatives for Year 12 students to help make informed decisions about higher education. Our Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme, for Year 13 students, allows participants to experience university study and prepare for the transition to university.

Successful completion of one of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes means students may be eligible for extensive financial support and an alternative offer, typically up to 2 grades below the standard offer, along with other benefits.

To find out more, please visit the Pathways to Birmingham webpage.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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

The University of Birmingham is the most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2021 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisers and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internships, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in the The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

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 employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.

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