On top of Schneeberg in Austria (six of this group are mathematicians!)
Welcome to the Mathematics subject page at King's! Here you will find details of the Cambridge course, Mathematics at King's, the people who teach and research here, and how to apply.
- Mathematics at Cambridge
- Mathematics at King's
- Student perspectives
- Fellows in Mathematics
- Applying for Mathematics
- What are we looking for?
- Resources and events
- Further information
Mathematics at Cambridge
During the first two years (Parts IA and IB) there are courses on a wide range of mathematics. In the later part of the second year there are also some optional courses available. The third year (Part II) is a unified course with subjects available to those intending to pursue further their study of maths and also subjects of a more general nature. The intention is to offer each student the opportunity to pick-and-mix, to choose a combination of courses tailored individually to their abilities and aspirations.
Typically there are two lectures a day Monday to Saturday. Each hour contains highly condensed material, and it usually takes a further hour by oneself to unravel it. First and second year lectures take place in the centre of Cambridge, very close to King's - highly convenient for the late riser. Third and fourth year lectures are about 15 minutes' walk away at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, a prestigious, (architectural) prize-winning, new complex, which is an exciting place in which to learn, research or teach.
Mathematics at King's
A dinner for students and lecturers half way through the course
The differences between the colleges occur in the supervisions they offer. The norm is for each pair of students to have two one hour sessions alone with a suitable teacher to sort out the new material and check the understanding of the old. Currently the maths teaching staff at King's consists of a Lecturer, a Reader and five Professors. In addition, we use the four King's Research Fellows and several excellent research students for specialist teaching.
There's a good sense of community amongst the Mathematicians at King's. The "mathmos" get to know each other well, and since everyone gets stuck sometimes, it is really useful to have other students being helpful as well as supervisors.
Markus (Part III student) discussing chamelon particles in cosmology
The King's Undergraduate Maths and Physics Society was set up by students to encourage undergraduate research. Each event has three fifteen-minute talks by current undergraduates. They present work to other students and academics, followed by discussion over drinks. The events are chaired by a member of the teaching staff, and the atmosphere is supportive and not too formal, with most of the audience being undergraduates who share interests and a similar level of knowledge. The society is also very helpful to students who want to do internships, putting them in contact with others who already have experience of how to find places and funding.
The fellows at King's also organise an enjoyable biweekly King's Maths-Physics Colloquium, bringing all levels of King’s mathematicians and physical scientists together for an intellectually stimulating and sociable evening, with professional academics speaking.
After completing the degree students enter a variety of professions. About one third of King's students do further work in Mathematics, often taking Part III of the Mathematical Tripos before doing research.
Ellen, Felicity (pictured left), Josh and Jo have written about their experiences of studying Mathematics at King's, including the transition from school maths, supervisions, the workload, the application process, STEP, and the best and worst things about Cambridge Maths. These pieces are well worth reading to get a sense of what being a King's mathematician is really like.
Fellows in Mathematics
Nathanaël Berestycki (Director of Studies) is a Professor in the Statistical Laboratory in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS). His area of specialism is Mathematical probability theory.
Keith Carne is a member of The Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS). His research interests include geometric complex analysis and the statistical theory of shape.
Anne Davis is a Professor of Theoretical Physics. She is part of the High Energy Research Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP). Her current research is on particle cosmology.
Felix Fischer is a lecturer in the Statistical Laboratory. He is interested in game theory, social choice theory, and mechanism design, including their computational aspects and application to computational systems.
Herbert Huppert is Professor of Theoretical Geophysics and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, University of Cambridge. He is particularly interested in general fluid mechanics, especially as applied to the Earth Sciences.
Martin Hyland is a Professor of Mathematical Logic in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS). He researches abstract mathematics (category theory in particular) applied to logic (proof theory), theoretical computer science (semantics) and higher dimensional algebra.
Clément Mouhot (Director of Studies) is a Professor in mathematical sciences at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS). He is interested in partial differential equations, functional inequalities and stochastic processes motivated by physics.
John Ottem is a Junior Research Fellow in Pure Mathematics at King's. His work focuses on algebraic geometry and the geometry of higher-dimensional algebraic varieties.
Michael Proctor (Provost) is a Professor of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics. His interests include the theory of the 11 year solar sunspot cycle, and more generally how magnetic fields interact with fluids in the Sun, Earth and stars.
Oscar Randal-Williams (Director of Studies) is a Junior Research Fellow in Pure Mathematics at King's. He works on algebraic and geometric topology.
David Stewart (Director of Studies) is a University Research Fellow in Pure Mathematics. He specialises in the subgroup structure of algebraic groups and related structures together with issues related to the cohomology of algebraic groups.
Applying for Mathematics at King's
We welcome applications for Mathematics from suitably qualified applicants at all kinds of schools, all over the world. It is a King's tradition to welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. In addition to the standard information, there is an additional page for students applying with limited support or advice, and those with extenuating circumstances, as well as information for international students. Women are underrepresented in university Mathematics courses. We therefore actively encourage applications from women to study Mathematics at King's.
We advise candidates to read the how to apply page thoroughly (it has details of the application process and timetable) in combination with the information below about the mathematics subject requirements and the interviews, test and offers. All candidates apply for Mathematics on the UCAS form. On the SAQ (or the COPA, if you are an overseas student), you will be asked to indicate whether you are applying for 'Mathematics' or 'Mathematics with Physics'.
Subject requirements and advice for Mathematics
An A level or equivalent in Mathematics is required. Further Mathematics is recommended wherever possible, but candidates whose schools are unable to offer this qualification should not be discouraged from applying (if you are not taking Further Mathematics, please read this page). Physics is also desirable. We believe that the STEP papers in Mathematics and Further Mathematics are extremely useful preparation and so most of our conditional offers will be based on both our standard entrance requirements and the relevant STEP paper(s).
Interviews (for selected candidates)
If you are invited for interview at King's, this will take place in early December. Candidates invited for interviews at King's have one or two interviews with college mathematics staff, in which we assess your mathematical skills and motivation.
Written test (set by the Director of Studies)
Candidates invited for interviews at King's also sit a written test set by the Director of Studies (this lasts one hour). You do not need to register for the test as it will be organised automatically by the College if you are invited for interview. Your performance in the test will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application (See What are we looking for?)
NB. If you have been reading about the new written assessments in most subjects, please note that there is no standard format written assessment for maths.
Part IA is tough, and we therefore have to select those candidates we think will benefit from the challenge. The number of offers for Mathematics varies from year to year, but we would expect to make between fifteen and twenty offers. It is not necessarily more difficult to gain admission to Cambridge if you apply to a prestigious college. It has, in the past, been easy to persuade other colleges to take some of our gifted candidates through the pool system in years when we have been over-subscribed.
The Faculty of Mathematics produces a Guide to Admissions with more detailed information about the course as well as a guide to STEP resources and a reading list.
What are we looking for?
Mathematicians at a St Patrick's Day event in College
The most important criteria are enthusiasm, dedication and potential and we consider each case on an individual basis. This course requires a considerable commitment in terms of time and energy, as it is one of the most challenging mathematics undergraduate courses in the UK. But, as our many successful previous students will tell you, it is well worth the effort!
We will be interested in:
- your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
- your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
- your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
- your performance in the written test;
- how you approach mathematical questions designed to make you think in interviews - our interviewers will work closely with you to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Mathematics.
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.
Resources and events
- Please see the general advice about developing your interests.
- If you are studying in a different qualification system and wish to consult an A level textbook, we suggest L. Bostock and S. Chandler. 2013. Core Maths for Advanced Level. 3rd edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.
- If your school does not offer Further Mathematics, you may be able to get support through the Further Mathematics Support Network if you want to take it. See the flowchart.
- There is extension material available on the NRICH Mathematics website. A good place to start is this explanation of 'rich' tasks, and see curriculum links, Developing as Mathematicians, and NRICH and Olympiads.
- STEP Exams: Faculty page, Cambridge Assessment, NRICH STEP Prep (see especially the list of modules), and STEP Correspondence resources.
- There is no required reading for Mathematics candidates but you may be interested in the Faculty reading suggestions and Plus Magazine.
- The subject resources page has a tag for (maths and) sciences posts, which you might like to browse.
- King's holds an annual Year 12 Maths Open Morning in April each year. See the open days page from late January.
- Other events which may be of interest in the year before you apply include CU Masterclasses, Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools, or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
- Course outline and film
- Faculty website and Faculty Admissions Information
- Information for students who are not studying Further Mathematics
- Mathematics careers information
- Virtual tour of King's College Library
- If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email King's Admissions Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)