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Mathematics Dissertation


  • Credit value: 60 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 6000-10,000-word project report (80%), a 10-minute oral presentation (5%), a written progress report (5%) and a final oral presentation (10%)

Module description

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to identify and, with some guidance, carry out a research project in an area of mathematics related to one or more topics encountered on the MSc programme. Completely new work (such as the discovery and proof of a previously unknown theorem) would be very unusual at this level, however application of known results in different areas, or synthesis of existing academic research to produce a coherent analysis of a particular problem, would be acceptable kinds of project.

During the first year there will be opportunities to learn about software for typesetting mathematics, and some guidance on choosing a research area. You are required to submit a project proposal at the beginning of the second year of study and a supervisor is then allocated to you. Once project and supervisor are agreed, and an initial meeting has taken place, you are expected, over the remainder of the autumn term, to complete:

  • background reading on the project area and on the mathematical theory and techniques required
  • assembling relevant books and journal papers, and locating and becoming familiar with any necessary software
  • final specification of the questions that are of interest and can feasibly be investigated in the time.

Learning objectives

By completing this module, you will have:

  • undertaken a sustained, independent investigation into a specific topic in mathematics, related to one or more of the areas studied in the MSc programme, such as algebra or combinatorics
  • experience in academic research, writing up and presenting the results and conclusions of an investigation in a report where the problem, final results and conclusions can be understood and appreciated by a mathematics graduate, and which includes sufficient technical detail for the proofs and arguments to be verified by a specialist in the field
  • experience in conducting an oral presentation on the background, results and conclusions of an investigation in a way that may be understood by mathematics graduate who has not necessarily specialised in the topic being studied.