Mathematics Degrees

Further Mathematics

Studying A level Further Mathematics is excellent preparation for a degree in Mathematics. Many university mathematics departments encourage students to take Further Mathematics at A level as it introduces a wider range of pure and applied content, such as matrices and complex numbers. Students who have studied Further Mathematics often find the transition to university far more straightforward. Some leading universities now specify Further Mathematics as an entry requirement for their mathematics degrees.

33% of Mathematics BSc degree courses mention Further Mathematics in their entry requirements, including it in their A level offers or encouraging students to take it if possible. For those universities in the Russell Group, this proportion rises to approximately 60% (August 2016).

STEP and AEA Mathematics

In addition to A level grades some universities also require students to pass Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) or an Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in Mathematics. Currently the universities requiring STEP/AEA qualifications for their mathematics degrees are:

Some other universities encourage students to take these papers and may include STEP or AEA in their offers, for example:

Oxford University and Imperial College require students to sit the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT). This is taken in November prior to selecting candidates to invite for interviews.

For details of online courses run by MEI see STEP, MAT and TMUA Courses.

Entry Requirements for Mathematics Degrees

Some universities explicitly encourage students to take A or AS Further Mathematics by:

  • making it a requirement for entry
  • differentiating the grades in their offer for students with Further Mathematics qualifications
  • offering financial support to students with Further Mathematics qualifications
  • including encouraging statements about the benefits of studying A or AS level Further Mathematics

Below are some examples of the sorts of statements you will find when looking at university websites and prospectuses.(Whilst we try to maintain up-to-date information about the entry requirements for mathematics degrees, we strongly recommend visiting the university's own website for the most recent information.)

Courses requiring Further Mathematics

Warwick University

The standard offers for applicants taking A levels are one of:

  • A* (Maths), A* (Further Maths), A (third subject), grade 2 STEP
  • A* (Maths), A (Further Maths), A* (third subject)
  • A* (maths), A* (Further Maths), A* (third subject)
  • A* (Maths), A* (Further Maths), A (third subject), A (fourth subject)

Distinction in AEA is accepted instead of grade 2 in a STEP paper. They do not mind in which of the three STEP papers you achieve the grade 1 or 2.

Warwick maintain that prospective students can best prepare to study Mathematics at university by taking STEP or AEA papers in addition to their other school-leaving examinations. The questions on these papers are closer to the style of mathematical thinking you will meet at university, and will help you develop mathematically. They therefore recommend, but do not insist, that applicants should take AEA, or at least one STEP paper.

If your school does not offer Further Maths or cannot help with STEP, the Further Maths Support Programme Wales (FMSPW) can help.

Durham University

Entry requirements are:

  • Suitable performance on the forthcoming University’s Admission Test* in addition to grades A* and A in Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A-level or equivalent (A* for either), together with grade A in a third A-level or equivalent.
  • Alternatively, grades A*A* in Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A-level or equivalent, together with grade A in a third A-level or equivalent
  • Alternatively, 1 in any STEP in addition to grades A* and A in Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A-level or equivalent (A* for either) together with grade A in a third A-level or equivalent
  • Alternatively, suitable performance on the University’s Admissions Test* in addition to grade A* in Mathematics and grade A in Further Mathematics at AS-level or equivalent, and two further A-levels at grade A.

Durham strongly encourage applicants to sit the forthcoming University’s Admissions Test if it is available to them. For more information about this test visit the admissions page.

University College, London (UCL)

A*A*A, or A*AA and a 1 in any STEP paper or distinction in Mathematics AEA. Mathematics and Further Mathematics required at A*, or Mathematics at A* and Further Mathematics at A if STEP or AEA offered.

Courses making differentiated offers

University of York

  • AAB in three A levels, including A in Mathematics and A in Further Mathematics, or
  • AAA in three A levels, including Mathematics plus A in Further Mathematics AS level.
  • AAA in three A levels, including Mathematics

York will offer you an interview if you present with a strong school performance and application form. Although the interview is not part of your offer and you do not need to attend, if you do, your offer could be reduced by one A Level grade or equivalent.

University of Bristol

The usual entry requirements are:

  • A*A*A including A* in Mathematics, plus at least one of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics or Computer Science, or
  • A*AA including A* in Mathematics and A in Further Mathematics

STEP achievement may be included as part of an alternative offer.

Loughborough University

AAA - AAB, including Mathematics at grade A. Applicants with any of the following will usually be given the lower offer (AAB): Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computing or Economics; Further Mathematics AS-Level at grade A; AEA or STEP in Maths.
If you want to study Further Maths but your school or college is unable to provide tuition, you can find tuition through the Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales.

University of Bath

Typical Offers: A*AA

Double Mathematics:

For applicants taking both A-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics and STEP/AEA a typical offer is:

  • obtain grades A* in Mathematics, A in Further Mathematics and B in one further A-level subject plus at least 2/Merit in one STEP/AEA Mathematics paper.

If STEP/AEA is not taken a typical offer is:

  • obtain grades A* in A-level Mathematics, A in A-level Further Mathematics and A in one further A-level subject

For applicants taking A-level Mathematics and AS Further Mathematics and STEP/AEA a typical offer is:

  • obtain grade A* in A-level Mathematics, grades A A in two further A-level subjects and grade A in AS Further Mathematics plus at least 2/Merit in one STEP/AEA Mathematics paper.

Single Mathematics:

  • obtain A* in A-level Mathematics with A's in each module, grades A* and A in two further A- level subjects plus at least 2/Merit in one STEP/AEA Mathematics paper. There should be a second scientific or quantitative subject preferably physics.

Further Information:

Bath wishes to allow access to its courses in the mathematical sciences to applicants who are not able to take a full A level in Further Mathematics and will continue to make offers to exceptional candidates in this category. Accordingly they shall require such applicants to achieve at least Merit in Advanced Extension Mathematics or 2 in one STEP paper.

Nevertheless they would like to encourage applicants to take Further Mathematics at A levels if possible, and to similarly encourage the taking of Advanced Extension papers or STEP papers for all applicants. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, having studied a wider mathematics curriculum and having attempted more demanding questions is an undoubted advantage in the transition to university mathematics. Secondly, it is very hard to assess an applicant's real mathematical potential unless they take the full A level Further Mathematics. In many cases an applicant's university place depends on their grade in Biology or Physics or English etc whereas they would prefer a better measure of mathematical ability.

King’s College, London

AAA including Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Further Mathematics will be accepted at AS Level grade A only if you additionally achieve a 3 in any STEP paper or a Merit in AEA Mathematics. The following are not required for entry, but you may find these useful further preparation for this degree:

  • study of mathematical mechanics and statistics
  • King’s also strongly encourages you to extend your mathematical interests by studying for the Advanced Extension Award or STEP

Performance in STEP or AEA will be taken into account should you narrowly fail to meet your A-level offer.

Lancaster University

Their minimum requirement for A Level applicants is that you should be studying at least three A Levels including A Level Mathematics. They encourage, but do not require, you to study A Level Further Mathematics as well - their standard offer is slightly lower for those taking A Level Further Mathematics. If it is not possible for you to study A Level Further Mathematics, think about studying AS Level Further Mathematics - the style of mathematics in Further Mathematics, especially Further Pure Mathematics, is similar to university mathematics and will be excellent preparation for further study.

For most of their degrees, the offer will usually be as follows. Firstly, they require grade A or higher in either A Level Mathematics or A Level Further Mathematics. Secondly, they require that your grades from your best 3 A Levels satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • Your best 3 A Levels not including Further Mathematics, without Grade 3 or higher in any STEP, are AAA
  • Your best 3 A Levels including Further Mathematics, without Grade 3 or higher in any STEP, are AAB
  • Your best 3 A Levels not including Further Mathematics, with Grade 3 or higher in any STEP, are AAB
  • Your best 3 A Levels including Further Mathematics, with Grade 3 or higher in any STEP, are ABB

Leeds University

For applicants taking A-levels, they always require at least Grade A in A-level Mathematics. If you are taking Further Mathematics at A-level or AS-level, we usually make an additional alternative offer.

Typical offers are:

  • AAA or A*AB
  • AAB or A*BB, including Further Mathematics A-level
  • AAB or A*BB or A*AC, PLUS Grade A in AS-level Further Mathematics

In all cases, the first grade quoted is the Mathematics A-level.

University of Reading

The University of Reading requires candidates to have achieved at least a grade A at A level Mathematics. Thhe typical offer for the BSc Mathematics course is in the range AAB-ABB.

If you are studying Further Mathematics at either A or AS level they will make an alternative offer of ABC with a grade A in A level in Mathematics and either a grade B in A level Further Mathematics or a grade A in AS level Further Mathematics.

Courses offering scholarships and bursaries

Plymouth University

There is a £500 automatic scholarship for students with a grade A* in A Level Mathematics plus £500 for an A in Further Mathematics up to a total of £1,000. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must put us as their first choice before the 1st of August. The scholarship is paid in term one of the first year. There are additional prizes and certificates to reward high marks in later years.

University of Essex

Essex give you £250 if you are taking Further Mathematics A-level, and you

  • put Essex as your firm UCAS choice, and
  • obtain an A*-B grade in Further Mathematics

This award is in addition to any scholarship and is not affected by the grades you achieve in your other A-level subjects.

Applying for a Mathematics Degree

Mathematics can be studied as a single honours degree or as a combined/joint honours degree in conjunction with another subject. Most single honours degree courses have codes starting G1, followed by two others numbers or letters, often G100.

Before applying for a Mathematics degree course, look at the features of the course, for example:

  • How many modules are optional? The number of optional modules often increases in the second the third years of the course - sometimes all first year modules are compulsory.
  • Does the course include several areas of applied mathematics, for example, Statistics, Mechanics and Decision Mathematics (Operational Research) or does it specialise in one of these?
  • Are any of the modules assessed via coursework?
  • Do you know what each of the modules listed will involve? The FMSPW have produced a brief overview of a typical first year undergraduate mathematics course, which provides exemplar resources that illustrate the different aspects of mathematics you are likely to study. You will find these further down this page.
  • Is the course delivered entirely by lectures? Most universities also provide support via seminars, tutorials and additional examples classes which expand on the material covered in the lectures.

There are a wide range of degrees which involve mathematics and these often vary, even when they have the same title e.g. ‘G100 Mathematics'. In addition, mathematics can be combined with many other subjects, such as:

  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Spanish/German/French
  • Mathematics and Economics
  • Mathematics and Physics
  • Mathematics and Education
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Music
  • Mathematical Biology

It is also possible to study for a Mathematics degree that involves studying abroad for one year.

Therefore, researching the content and structure of the degree course you plan to apply for is very important.

Application and Interview

All applications for degree courses are made via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website. The deadline for most courses is mid-January each year but the deadline for courses at Oxford or Cambridge, or in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science/Medicine is in mid-October (see UCAS website for exact dates). If you are thinking of applying for a medical degree and are planning to study Further Mathematics, see the latest guidance relating to University entry requirements.

Most offers for degree courses in Mathematics are made without an interview. Of the 24 Russell Group universities, five interview applicants, with some of these interviews being informal, as shown in the table below:

University Interview details

The University of Cambridge

Applications are made to a particular College within the university. All colleges have requirements beyond A level grades and there is normally at least one mathematical interview (usually two or three) of around 20-30 minutes each, potentially leading to a conditional offer involving STEP. Sometimes, the interview is based on previously prepared material or on work done under examination conditions just before the interview.

Each college has its own particular approach which can be found in the Cambridge University Guide to Admissions in Mathematics. Some additional general guidance can be found on the University of Cambridge Interviews page.

The University of Manchester

After considering applications, many applicants are invited to a Visiting Day which includes a mathematical talk, a tour and an interview which helps determine the conditional offer made.

Oxford University

Interviews are largely mathematical in nature. You may be asked to talk about an area of mathematics you have studied; look in detail at a point of technique, or curve sketching; you may be asked `puzzle' type questions; or you may be given a mathematical definition and asked to work out some of its consequences. Applicants will be interviewed at least twice by their first choice College and have at least one interview with another College. Applicants will also be invited to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT).

Interviews occur over a 3 day period in December are around 25 minutes each, mainly of a mathematical nature. The aim is for tutors to see how you think when you do Mathematics, and you may be asked to work at the board and talk through your thought processes.

To help you prepare, there are some helpful videos from tutors. In addition, general interview advice, including eight sample portions of interviews of potential students is available, as well as some general sample questions. An Interviews Guide for Students, produced by Oxford University, also provides useful information.

University College London (UCL)

If your application is sufficiently strong you will be invited to visit the department for an applicant afternoon. Alternatively, some invitations are for an academic interview. You will also be able to talk to current students and staff and will be given a tour.

The University of York

All students who are made an offer are invited to attend a Visit Day between November and April, which includes a one-to-one chat with a member of academic staff.

Interview Advice

The following general links provide useful information when preparing for a Mathematics degree course interview:

Showing a general enjoyment of, and interest in, your chosen subject via wider reading would also be helpful in preparing for your interview.

Preparation for University Mathematics

The AMSP website has some useful preparatory information on maths degrees and university entrance including suggested wider reading and information about the areas of mathematics which are likely to be included in the first year of an undergraduate degree course. Scroll down to the Preparing for a mathematically-rich university course or apprenticeship section.