Mathematics

Maths students on a mountain

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

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

Maths Formal Hall

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.

Maths student giving a talk

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.

Student perspectives

Felicity

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

Nathanaƫl Berestycki

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

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

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.

Pau Figueras

Pau Figueras (Director of Studies, Part III) works on general relativity, higher dimensional black holes and numerical general relativity.

Felix Fischer

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.

Mark Gross

Mark Gross is a Professor of Pure Mathematics, specializing in Algebraic Geometry. He has particular interests in mirror symmetry, a subject which has its origins in string theory, and impinges on many areas of mathematics.

Herbert Huppert

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

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.

Clement Mouhot

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.

Michael Proctor

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

Oscar Randal-Williams (Director of Studies) is a Fellow in Pure Mathematics at King's. He works on algebraic and geometric topology.

David Stewart

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.

John Stewart

John Stewart is an Emeritus Reader in Gravitational Physics. His research is on the numerical investigation of the dynamics of strong gravitational fields and he is a member of the Relativity and Gravitation Group.

You may also be interested to read about the Mathematics tradition at King's.

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. 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.

course options

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 enter your option preference for your first year. You must choose one out of:

Subject requirements

An A level or equivalent in Mathematics is required. Further Mathematics is strongly recommended wherever possible. 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

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

Candidates invited for interviews at King's also sit a written test set by the Director of Studies. Your performance in the test will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

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.

offers

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. There is also additional information for those with extenuating circumstances, as well as information for international students.

What are we looking for?

Maths students on St Patrick's Day

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

Further information

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