The 10 Best Universities to study Maths

By Morwenna Evans Thursday, June 26, 2014

When choosing where to study mathematics, it is worthwhile scrutinising the reputation of renowned universities. By analysing the following University league table, you can find the establishment which best suits your academic needs and preferences. In order to help you make an informed decision about your higher education possibilities, listed below are the top 50 universities within the UK at which to study mathematics, followed by an in-depth overview of the top 10 universities:


1. Cambridge


Cambridge has a substantial and prestigious mathematical history, dating back to the 1500s when one of their members, Robert Recorde, was credited with the invention of the equality sign "=". This mathematical acumen continues to thrive in the present day; with the fourth year of Cambridge's mathematics course (commonly referred to as 'Part III') being world famous as a breeding ground for future leaders in mathematical research.

Within Cambridge's Faculty of Mathematics there are several departments, including the Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) and the Department of Pure Mathematics & Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS). The Mathematical Tripos is the name given to the undergraduate mathematics course. As with most other undergraduate courses in Cambridge, lectures are provided centrally by the Faculty while supervisions are provided by the 31 individual Colleges of the University. Students receive extensive access to this wealth of esteemed facilities, thus making Cambridge one of the best Universities within the UK at which to study mathematics.

2. Oxford


Similarly to Cambridge, Oxford has a world-renowned mathematical history. Their newly constructed Andrew Wiles Building houses some of the top mathematicians in the world, including Professor Frances Kirwan FRS DBE who chairs the UK Mathematics Trust.

Oxford is responsible for producing internationally acclaimed mathematical research and covers a broad spectrum of topics including; Geometry, Number Theory, Mathematical Physics and Numerical Analysis amongst others. Moreover, the University has recently unveiled a new Mathematical Institute on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, from which current and prospective students can benefit.

3. Imperial College London


The Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London is one of the largest in the UK, with approximately 750 undergraduates undertaking a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are currently 80 academic staff including 40 Professors as well as 40 Research Associates and Fellows. The Department features a thriving research department, aided by a wealth of esteemed Emeritus Professors and Senior Research Investigators.

In recent years, Imperial College London has been ranked first in the UK for Pure Mathematics (based on proportion of world-leading research), second for Statistics (based on proportion of world-leading and internationally excellent research) and fourth for Applied (based on volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research), making it an enriching establishment for prospective students, current students and alumni.

4. Warwick


Since the admission of its first undergraduates 1965, the Department of Mathematics at Warwick University has been a veritable source of knowledge and an establishment within which students can exercise their intellectual curiosity. Currently, the department houses 941 undergraduates who are taught by a team of 61 permanent academic staff - all of whom are active research mathematicians of international stature. As such, Warwick's Department of Mathematics is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Warwick Pure Mathematics was ranked 2nd highest in the UK.

Furthermore, Warwick Applied Mathematics came equal first (with Oxford and Cambridge) for the proportion of its research that received the top ''world-leading'' rating.

5. Durham


The Department of Mathematics at Durham University continues to offer an exceptional standard of teaching as well as the opportunity to discover a wealth of research in pure mathematics, theoretical physics, numerical analysis, biomathematics, statistics and probability theory.

This was highlighted recently by a visit from the Nobel-Prize winning scientist Professor Peter Higgs, who delivered The Annual Collingwood Lecture at the Calman Learning Centre at Durham University. Durham University combines world-leading research with an exceptional standard of teaching for its undergraduate and postgraduate students. For example, students can undertake a new degree programme which offers a year in industry, in order to enhance employability prospects and view the practical application of mathematical concepts.

6. Bath

Bath University's Department of Mathematics offers a diverse range of undergraduate courses. The first year of the undergraduate course serves as an introduction to university mathematics but there is a substantial opportunity in subsequent years for students to pursue their individual interests within the field. There is even the liberty to study courses from other disciplines; including finance, management or a language. Students can also spend a year working in commerce, industry or even studying abroad.

This academic freedom with which students can tailor their degree to suit their individual academic interests has led to Bath being regarded as one of the most satisfying degree courses in the country. According to the 2013 National Student Survey (NSS) Bath students have an overall satisfaction rate of 94%, making them the university with the highest satisfaction levels in the UK. Similarly, Bath students ranked their Students’ Union as the fourth best in the UK, describing it as an amiable atmosphere within which they can broaden their academic and social knowledge.

7. St Andrews


Following Oxford and Cambridge, St Andrews is the third oldest university in the English speaking world, as well as Scotland's first university, having been founded between 1410 and 1413. Since its founding, St Andrews has upheld a prestigious School of Mathematics which excels both in teaching and research. Within St Andrews are several internationally leading research groups, encompassing areas such as Fractal Geometry, Computational Algebra, Solar Theory, Fluid Dynamics, Statistical Inference and Ecological Modelling.

St Andrews also hosts the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive which is one of the world's largest resources in this area. As such, St Andrews serves a haven of knowledge and intellectual stimulation for any students and staff who attend.

8. UCL


Founded in 1826, The Mathematics Department at UCL is the third oldest mathematics department in England. The Department has educated and hosted several internationally leading scholars, such as Sir James Lighthill; one of the century’s greatest theorists in fluid mechanics. Moreover, two of UCL's previous students, who later went on to become staff, Professor Klaus Roth (1958) and Professor Alan Baker (1970) have gone on to win the esteemed Fields Medal, as well as another former member of staff Professor Tim Gowers who won the Fields Medal in 1998 for work he did whilst at UCL. These accolades are particularly prestigious given that there have only been six British winners of Fields Medals.

Currently, the department features 32 full-time members of staff of whom 18 are full professors. There are also a number of Honorary Research Fellows in attendance at UCL, including 5 Fellows of the Royal Society. The world-rated research journal Mathematika is also published by the department. This broad range of research fellows and their subsequent interests enables prospective students a great deal of flexibility and personal preference when choosing aspects of their third and fourth years of the degree programmes.

9. Bristol

Bristol University's School of Mathematics features over 60 full-time faculty members, all of whom are actively involved in research. As such, Bristol is one of the strongest mathematics schools in Europe in terms of research. Their research efforts covers the fields of Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, and Statistics. Bristol have also invested extensively within their teaching programme. Prospective students can benefit from a Maths Cafe which offers additional tutorial support, as well as the recent creation of a new 'Student Quiet Room' which permits students the liberty to work alone, or in groups, within the Maths building.

10. London School of Economics (LSE)


The LSE Mathematics Department is internationally recognised for both its teaching programmes as well as its research. The Department offers a diverse range of course choice: from financial mathematics and control theory, discrete mathematics and algorithms, to mathematical game theory and probability theory.

The Department have also excelled in their research. All staff in the Department were entered for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and 45% of the work submitted was deemed to be either internationally excellent or world-leading, with almost all the remainder being internationally recognised. The Department has also published the CDAM Research Report Series, which was originally named the Mathematics Preprint Series when it was created in 1991. Although the series was discontinued in 2009, over 370 titles have been produced over the years which are still accessible online. This archive of accolades, combined with proficiency of their academic staff, make LSE a highly sought after destination for students who wish to study mathematics.

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