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Mathematics At University of Warwick

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      16.05.2010 21:58
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      not for everyone

      I was an International student who have went there. I definitely was not the brightest there, but neither was I the weakest student, My mark was in the top 45% approximately.

      First year was so stressful, it was a big leap from school. The workload was huge, in term two in first year, they gave us so much homework to do, with matlab the computing assignment, I was just doing normal load, and I had four pieces of homework at one time to complete within a week, each piece took ages to finish, some questions were even the undoable type, you might feel relief once you've handed in one homework, but then comes another new homework sheet for next week, and another one... so it felt like an infinite cycle of homework piling on me at that time. I was always doing my homework in my spare time, and I only went out to make the shopping trips which were absolutely necessary.

      the pressure on me - an average mathematician was just too much for me to cope with, later i got depression which I never had before, it was caused by the stress there, they said on their website' we work our students hard', but I think in your first year the work is even harder.

      Luckily in the second and third year, life had become a lot easier for me, things were beginning to click, there isn't too much to say. You get more options to choose from, it isn't like 1st year which you have to do many core modules. That was the time when I was starting to enjoy maths, since there was less homework to do, and I got 76 in algebra II, which was one of the hardest modules, so that didn't make me look too stupid i guess,lol. I know a couple of people who failed their second year and had to take a gap year, if u failed after resit then they kick you out. Maths is not like other subjects which you are guaranteed to pass if you revise in the last minute!

      The support was ok, depending on who you get as tutors and supervisors. My 1st year's tutor couldn't even be bothered to give us tutorials which was kind of required by the department. My tutor changed in my second year, he couldn't care less about us either, we never had any contact, I didn't see the point of having them, I must have been one of those unlucky ones cos my tutors weren't so good. He also implied once that i was one of the 'weaker students' there, which I felt I was being looked down upon.

      But i do know some professors, and I know some of my friends who had them as tutors, they were extremely keen, inspirational, helpful and supportive to tutees, I was a bit jealous tho, wish I had their tutor. It really depends on who you get!Also the abilities of the supervisors vary as well.

      The mark you get also depends on how you choose your modules. I could have done a lot better If I had chosen some easy modules. So you see, the system can be manipulated.

      If you want to go to warwick, you will have to either work hard or you are extremely intelligent. It is very demanding. But I am happy with the decision I made.

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      23.10.2009 17:01
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      If you love maths, you'll have a great three years here.

      Warwick university is widely acknowledged as one of the best in the UK for studying maths. It is generally considered to be second only to Cambridge.

      Getting In

      The maths department is very prestigious and you generally need very good A level results (or equivalent) to be accepted. You must be studying maths A level and although not required, Further Maths A level would be beneficial. To be accepted into the maths department at Warwick you really need to be predicted A grades in both of these subjects, and to be predicted another A in a different subject. For full details on this, see Warwick's website.

      Basically, to get into Warwick you have to be very very good at maths.

      Your First Year

      During your first year at Warwick University you will be shocked by how different studying maths at uni is from studying it at school. The difference is highlighted by the module called "Foundations" which you study in your first term. It is all based on proving all the things you assumed were true during A level maths. This will probably be the first time you really encounter rigorous mathematical proof, and it certainly won't be the last! Almost every single module you can choose to study as part of your maths degree will feature proof very heavily, and it can be very difficult to adjust to this. However, the maths department wants to help its students adjust to this change, and so one of the most important modules, Analysis I, is taught in the more familiar style of sitting in a classroom with twenty other people and being taught by a post graduate. Learning in this way is much easier than being taught in a lecture theatre with 300 people. This is a great system as it helps students get used to the new style of maths that is being taught. Unfortunately, almost all modules apart from this one is taught with lectures.

      There is help out there for you though. Every student is put into a group with three other students and each group is assigned a tutor, who is a lecturer or researcher at Warwick, and a supervisor, who is a final year or postgraduate student. You visit your tutor once a week in your small group and discuss problems you might be having and concepts you might not understand perfectly. Your tutor helps you make decisions regarding module choices and is always there to answer any questions you have. Twice a week your group has a session with your supervisor who goes through examples with you and helps you with your homework sheets. The three people in your group will quickly become your very good friends as the homework sheets get harder and harder and eventually become simply impossible to do single handedly.

      The Modules

      In first year and second year there are certain modules that you must study. These are from the sector of maths we call Pure, and are in general the most difficult. For some of the modules there are weekly or fortnightly homework sheets which you will probably find very difficult. Some modules have an exam in January and some have one in June. You will probably also find these very difficult. Some modules don't have exams though (and you will find yourself very grateful for these modules!) for example Maths by Computer is a module where credit is given for handing in a few assignments, and the Second Year Essay module, which is assessed by writing an essay and giving a short presentation on your essay. For a list and descriptions of all modules visit Warwick's website.

      The Building

      The maths department building is by far the best on campus. We have two computer rooms (one Windows, the other Linux), a work room (which is always completely full an hour before a homework deadline!) and lots of huge lecture theatres and small classrooms. There are also many toilets and some vending machines.

      The Lecturers

      In general, the lecturers I have experienced at Warwick are absolutely amazing. Clearly very intelligent, but also very funny. Lectures are usually very enjoyable, even if the subject matter is hard to follow or simply boring. Most lecturers are really good at maintaining a web page for their module, where they upload PDFs of lecture notes, example sheets, and any additional information you might need.

      The Result

      A maths degree from Warwick University is a golden ticket to success. When the jobs market picks up again, you will find employers biting your hands off to give you a job. And remember that in the UK we have a deficit of maths teachers so if you have a maths degree you can easily get onto a PGCE course and be given £9000 for becoming a teacher!

      My Opinion

      I love studying maths at Warwick, although I have found it incredibly challenging. You have to have lots of enthusiasm for maths to succeed, as you will have to spend a lot of time studying, and if you find what you are studying boring, you will not be motivated enough to put in the hours of work that the course requires. If you are sure you want to study maths, then I would say that Warwick is the best place for you to go, as the staff are brilliant, the building and resources are brilliant, and we even have Ian Stewart, one of the UK's favourite popularists (and one of the few celebrities of maths!) in our department.

      If you need any more information visit Warwick's website, and make sure you come in for an open day and see for yourself how brilliant it is!

      UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

      I graduated in July and got a 2:1!!! Yay!
      I'm now doing a PGCE (teacher training) at Warwick. Look out for a review on that course soon...

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        31.05.2001 10:02
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        After applying to, and being offered a place at Oxford University to read mathematics, I decided, on balance, that Warwick University maths department was better, so off I went. Everyone speaks highly of Warwick, it is, supposedly "the best maths department in the UK", and you will be hard pushed to find someone who doesn't think this. I do. I spent a very unhappy year at Warwick doing maths, and then changed course, and am a lot happier. The department itself is situated on a hill about 15 minutes walk from the University, which already separates the "mathematicians" from the rest of campus. The actual department looks quite pleasant, sort of average standard compared with the other departments I visited. Appearance isn't everything. Whilst I found the lectures to be well organised, the lecturers were confusing, arrogant and not willing to help if there was a problem. They support "good" mathematicians, and ones who clearly love the subject, but those who question "why" they are studying something seemingly irrelevant, are brushed aside, and not looked after. Content of lectures-wise, there is a good deal of variety, although I only have experience of the first year (I sensibly escaped after that!). We studied analysis, which I found frustrating as there was little support within the "help" groups, again, helping those who were keen, and not those who were somewhat disillusioned with the whole thing. Courses on more concrete subjects such as linear algebra, mechanics and differential equations were easier to follow without attending the lectures, as the lecturers (not wishing to name names) confused the issue. As for the more abstract courses such as number theory and group theory, whilst interesting, was made totally confusing and disenchanting due to the lecturers lack of support. Everyone is assigned to a personal tutor and a supervisor, each of which you see every week in gr
        oups of three or four. Tutors again, sypport those keen, sterotypical "mathematicians", arrogant, "geeky", students who are eager to show their knowledge. I am quieter, and found that my tutor and supervisor treated me as if I was stupid, even though, as my exam results showed (2:1), I am not. Work-wise, there is an assignment to do every week for at least 3 courses for the first year. This is stressful, and although you do recieve feedback it is not always positive criticism, help is not given if you do not succeed in anything, I found that I was brushed aside in preference over those who weren't disillusioned. I have spoken to many mathematicians on the course, and at least half of them have congratulated me on my decision to leave the course and persue an entirely different career path. I must stress that I didn't quit because I couldn't do it, on the contrary, I found it easy, but irrelevant. Nobody was there to offer reasons for why we were studying what we were studying. Warwick university mathematics department was not right for me, but if I'm honest, it is right for some people. If you get there, good luck to you.

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          16.03.2001 14:38
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          I studied maths at Warwick from 1992-1995, and found it truly uninspiring. I had enjoyed maths up until degree level, partly because it seemed to have some practical application. All this was to change at degree level. At degree level, maths at Warwick was very conceptual. And if you think that will interest you, then you'll probably enjoy it. Personally, I found learning how to prove well-known mathematical theorems rather than how they might be applied in the real world (in most cases, they probably can't) to be a real turn-off. To me, the course felt like maths for maths sake. If you want to learn about practical applications of maths then this course probably isn't for you. I'd estimate that less than 1% of the course has been of use to me since, and I'm in computing, where you might expect at least some of it to be useful. If you are considering studying maths, and are unsure about it, then read 'Fermat's Last Theorem' by Simon Singh or the novel 'Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture' by Apostolos Doxiadis. Both give an excellent insight into the mathematical community, which is very insular, but I expect can be very rewarding if you are that way inclined. If you have already committed to study maths, then please don't be put off by this. If you find you have the same reservations as me, then there is scope to transfer to more applicable lines of study. I realised too late that it wasn't for me, and had to put up with 3 years of it. However, even then it was definitely worth perservering, because you can get by without having to do too much work and thoroughly enjoy yourself the rest of the time. And at the end of it, you have a maths degree from Warwick, which is highly regarded. I must also add that my comments here may well apply to maths courses elsewhere, but obviously having studied at Warwick, I can only really pass judgement on the course there. It would be interes
          ting to hear of people's experiences of maths degrees at other universities.

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            25.07.2000 02:07
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            The maths department at Warwick is one of the best in the country - and it shows. Entry requirements for the course are amongst the highest in the country at AAB or equivalent A-level scores, plus a grade 2 in a level one maths STEP paper, but what this produces are sets of undergraduates all of exceptional ability and a real atmosphere of learning. The maths institute, renovated and extended a couple of years ago, is light, airy and boasts some of the best lecture halls on campus. The course is challenging but not so much that you get disheartened, and there is plenty of support available, with tutors, third- and fourth-year supervisors and, for the first week of the first year, second years available to help new students get orientated. The lecturers are for the most part excellent and generally seem interested in their subject; there is a wide choice of different joint-honours degrees available, and 3 or 4 year straight maths courses. The course is also one of the most flexible on campus, with at least 30% of the course being options chosen by yourself. All in all this is a challenging yet enjoyable course and there are very good things going on in the department. Anyone capable of the entry requirements will have a great time!

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