Studying maths at a postgraduate level, whether masters or PhD, can be a very rewarding experience and can open up many career opportunities. There are a lot of universities which offer postgrad maths courses but how do you know which one to pick? How do you apply for the course? What opportunities are available to you? There are a lot of factors to consider and it depends a lot on what area of maths you would like to study. Our guide below will help you to make sense of the choices available to you.
The study of postgraduate mathematics is a very large discipline and one with a lot of diversity in terms of subject matter. Plenty of universities in the UK offer postgraduate courses in maths but some universities are naturally better than others and different universities specialise in different fields of mathematics. Ideally you must first have an idea of the specific are of mathematics that you're going to study; for example, Southampton postgraduate maths studies focus on Statistics, Operational Research and Actuarial Science whereas Bristol University has a stronger Applied Mathematics discipline. A good way to find out which field of mathematics a university excels in is by visiting their department website and contacting their staff about conducting a postgraduate course there.
Once you have an idea of the field of mathematics you'd like to study and at which university, the next thing you need to do is to apply for a position on the postgraduate course. Remember, you are not limited in your applications so if there are several courses around the UK that interest you then by all means send applications to all of them! The application process is similar to what you will have done when applying as an undergrad, so by applying to several different universities you are not completely lost if the one you really want rejects you.
One thing that does differ when applying for a postgraduate position as compared to an undergraduate position is the personal statement. A postgraduate personal statement is briefly a letter which must be attached to your application outlining who you are and why the university should select you for its course. There's a great guide available here to show you what to include and how to write it.
Studying postgraduate maths is a big choice whether for a masters or PhD due to the time and expenses required. It's one that should be met with a lot of consideration on the part of the study. You should ask yourself questions such as, "what will I get out of this degree?" and, "how will this affect my career prospects?". This is especially true if you are aiming for a PhD due to the very specific nature of the degree. Unless you're wealthy enough to be studying for fun, chances are you're looking to use your degree to get a job. If you're unsure what to ask about, here are some ideas.
Postgraduate mathematics degrees can be very rewarding from both a personal and practical experience. Chances are if you're interested in studying mathematics at a postgraduate level then it is a subject that interests you, so you'll enjoy being able to explore mathematics at an even deeper level. Professionally it's also a very rewarding discipline, with many jobs requiring postgraduate mathematics degrees being very well paid, even for recent graduates. As long as you have the drive and discipline to succeed then a postgraduate mathematics degree is an excellent way to open up exciting career opportunities in a discipline that you love.
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