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BEST uk universities for mathematics?

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    (Original post by Tsunami2011)
    Cambridge and Oxford are two of the best universities in the world, so its no shame to be behind them in terms of prestige.

    I think it'd be slightly naive to say that every Oxbridge Maths undergrad is superior to those at Warwick and Imperial.
    obviously not, but we are talking about averages..
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    (Original post by moritzplatz)
    obviously not, but we are talking about averages..
    I agree then..
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    The institute of actuaries has a list of unis showing the exemptions from professional exams you can earn... Doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of what's best, but it could be convenient in terms of becoming an actuary.
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    (Original post by Ryan-Hetherington)
    So because you didn't apply to Warwick, it's automatically a lesser university?
    I'm not talking specifically about Warwick anymore, I'm just saying that prestige is all well and good but, it doesn't necessarily lead to better teaching and improved learning.
    That's true, prestige doesn't necessarily lead to better teaching. But i'm afraid Warwick, while very good, isn't quite the same standard as Cambridge. That said, Cambridge is most probably the best university in the country for maths.
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    Try to think of the 'best' universities for maths in terms of tiers - where all the universities in the same tier are pretty much of the same level in terms of reputation/prestige.

    It sort of goes like this:

    Tier 1 - Cambridge, (maybe Oxford)

    Tier 2 - Oxford, Imperial, Warwick

    Tier 3 - UCL, Bristol, Durham, Bath

    Tier 4 - Nottingham, Manchester, Kings, etc etc.
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    (Original post by Ryan-Hetherington)
    The saying I've been told is something like "If you want prestige, you go to Oxbridge. If you're AMAZING at Maths, you go to Warwick"

    My top Four in order would be:
    Warwick 1st
    Cambridge 1st
    Oxford 3rd
    Imperial 4th
    (Original post by Ryan-Hetherington)
    I didn't mean just lecturers specifically. I meant facilities, resources, tutors. Everything. I'm certain that most applicants would chose Maths at Warwick than Maths at Oxford (Cambridge vs Warwick just comes down to preference I believe). I'm just saying, because it's a university with masses of prestige doesn't mean that another University cannot be better than it
    Sorry to be rude but I'm afraid you're just wrong there. All the people I know that are very very good at maths go to Oxbridge and all the people I know that don't get into Oxbridge for maths go to Warwick, enough said. If you want some statistics, the average UCAS entry tariff for maths at Oxford is 580 and at Cambridge is 600. Conversely, it is 540 at Warwick. Now, I know UCAS entry tariff doesn't actually tell you how good people are at maths, but I think the massive difference gives a pretty good indication.

    As far as people picking Warwick ahead of Oxford, out of the 185 offers Oxford gave out for maths last year, they had 173 people join in the summer. This includes people that miss their offers and people that go to america etc. It is likely that the vast majority of Oxford applicants also apply to Warwick and so pretty much all of them pick Oxford ahead of Warwick. This also seems pretty consistent with the people I know, as I've never heard of anyone reject an Oxford offer for Warwick.

    I'd just be interested to know, but what do you base these opinions on? Have you been through the application process for Oxbridge and Warwick or are you at Warwick at the moment?
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    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    Sorry to be rude but I'm afraid you're just wrong there. All the people I know that are very very good at maths go to Oxbridge and all the people I know that don't get into Oxbridge for maths go to Warwick, enough said. If you want some statistics, the average UCAS entry tariff for maths at Oxford is 580 and at Cambridge is 600. Conversely, it is 540 at Warwick. Now, I know UCAS entry tariff doesn't actually tell you how good people are at maths, but I think the massive difference gives a pretty good indication.

    As far as people picking Warwick ahead of Oxford, out of the 185 offers Oxford gave out for maths last year, they had 173 people join in the summer. This includes people that miss their offers and people that go to america etc. It is likely that the vast majority of Oxford applicants also apply to Warwick and so pretty much all of them pick Oxford ahead of Warwick. This also seems pretty consistent with the people I know, as I've never heard of anyone reject an Oxford offer for Warwick.

    I'd just be interested to know, but what do you base these opinions on? Have you been through the application process for Oxbridge and Warwick or are you at Warwick at the moment?
    I wouldn't read too much into UCAS points - at this level, most successful applicants would have top grades in maths and further maths (give or take A-A* here and there) so the UCAS tarrif would be more useful for comparing how good they are at their other subjects, and how many other subjects they did. A better way of comparing mathematical ability would be to look at STEP results (or Oxford's entrance test) but that doesn't get UCAS points, last time I checked.

    Could you clarify what the figures of 185 and 173 refer to, i.e. if someone misses their offer how would they be 'joining in the summer'?
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    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    Sorry to be rude but I'm afraid you're just wrong there. All the people I know that are very very good at maths go to Oxbridge and all the people I know that don't get into Oxbridge for maths go to Warwick, enough said. If you want some statistics, the average UCAS entry tariff for maths at Oxford is 580 and at Cambridge is 600. Conversely, it is 540 at Warwick. Now, I know UCAS entry tariff doesn't actually tell you how good people are at maths, but I think the massive difference gives a pretty good indication.

    As far as people picking Warwick ahead of Oxford, out of the 185 offers Oxford gave out for maths last year, they had 173 people join in the summer. This includes people that miss their offers and people that go to america etc. It is likely that the vast majority of Oxford applicants also apply to Warwick and so pretty much all of them pick Oxford ahead of Warwick. This also seems pretty consistent with the people I know, as I've never heard of anyone reject an Oxford offer for Warwick.

    I'd just be interested to know, but what do you base these opinions on? Have you been through the application process for Oxbridge and Warwick or are you at Warwick at the moment?
    I too can put a spin Warwick over Oxford very easily. The point is it wouldn't be meaningful. So I will tell you what my experience of Maths at Warwick is.

    All I can say is that I think the course is very challenging at Warwick and attracts a lot of smart hard-working students. My reference point is S,1 in STEP - read into that what you like.

    You're right to point out few people choose Warwick over oxbridge. What I'd like to point out, is that of all the smart people I know not one of them had a Cambridge offer - and about a sixth of the people on the course had Cambridge offers.
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    (Original post by Ree69)
    Try to think of the 'best' universities for maths in terms of tiers - where all the universities in the same tier are pretty much of the same level in terms of reputation/prestige.

    It sort of goes like this:

    Tier 1 - Cambridge, (maybe Oxford)

    Tier 2 - Oxford, Imperial, Warwick

    Tier 3 - UCL, Bristol, Durham, Bath

    Tier 4 - Nottingham, Manchester, Kings, etc etc.
    Regular readers will know that I disagree a bit from this, but after COWI (in many ways I would say C - WO - I ) for me the next tier for me is Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Southampton. Note that my ranking one in which "size matters" partly on the basis that successful departments grow and also have more choice for undergrads and better coverage of subjects.

    Bath and Durham are good in different ways, and included in a group including eg UCL, Kings, etc the relative merits of which are really very much dependent on what you value in a maths department.
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    (Original post by ttoby)
    I wouldn't read too much into UCAS points - at this level, most successful applicants would have top grades in maths and further maths (give or take A-A* here and there) so the UCAS tarrif would be more useful for comparing how good they are at their other subjects, and how many other subjects they did. A better way of comparing mathematical ability would be to look at STEP results (or Oxford's entrance test) but that doesn't get UCAS points, last time I checked.

    Could you clarify what the figures of 185 and 173 refer to, i.e. if someone misses their offer how would they be 'joining in the summer'?
    Yeah, I agree. UCAS points mean very little. However, they were the only fact I could find with a google search.

    Basically, what I meant was that 185 people were given Oxford offers last year. Of these 185, 173 people turned up to start the course at Oxford. This means that 12 people either missed their offer, decided to take a gap year or declined the offer to go to university elsewhere, either in the UK or abroad. This was just in response to the claim that most people pick Warwick over Oxford which, given this statistic, isn't the case.

    (Original post by jj193)
    I too can put a spin Warwick over Oxford very easily. The point is it wouldn't be meaningful. So I will tell you what my experience of Maths at Warwick is.

    All I can say is that I think the course is very challenging at Warwick and attracts a lot of smart hard-working students. My reference point is S,1 in STEP - read into that what you like.

    You're right to point out few people choose Warwick over oxbridge. What I'd like to point out, is that of all the smart people I know not one of them had a Cambridge offer - and about a sixth of the people on the course had Cambridge offers.
    Just to clarify, I never doubted that Warwick has a very high quality maths department and that the students that go there are very able. My opinion is just that Oxbridge is just slightly higher in the pecking order. One thing I would like to ask though, is whether the people generally picked Warwick ahead of Cambridge or whether they got something like 1,2 in STEP and so just missed the Cambridge offer but achieved the Warwick offer? I believe this may be why you specificially talk about Cambridge and not Oxford, as Cambridge give out lost more offers than they have places because of their 1,1 offer, so lots of people miss the offer.
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    I've applied for either Maths or Act.Sci or both. Got rejected from oxford for maths but i have Warwick for maths, LSE for Actuarial, CASS for Actuarial and Southampton for Maths with Actuarial. Cambridge is definitely the best (and arguably hardest) for maths, from my relatives/friends Warwick is extremely hard and many dropped out after 1/2 years, having said that it depends on how much you're prepared to work, and don't forget Warwick is up there at the top for a maths degree. Imperial I'm not too sure about but I know it's one of the top for maths. Oxford's definitely up there for maths, plus the prestige, but not as good as Cambridge for maths. For Actuarial science on the other hand, CASS is arguably the best purely for the course, based on exemptions, teaching (they get ex-businessmen to teach) social life - but its overall reputation of it is nowhere near LSE. LSE is extremely reputable, more foreign students if that makes a difference, arguably less social life but again if you tell people you go to LSE it's a lot more different than if you say City. I emailed AON where i worked last year for work experience about which place would be the best, they replied saying to be an Actuary they're all pretty similar so I wouldn't worry too much about the unis for job prospects. Having said that this is all just from my opinion and people have different views, if you want to be an actuary don't do a maths degree unless a) you're not 100% sure of being an actuary and b) you're prepared to spend extra years getting the exemptions compared to an Act. Sci degree.
    just PM me if you need any more advice, hope i helped
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    (Original post by BillLionheart)
    Regular readers will know that I disagree a bit from this, but after COWI (in many ways I would say C - WO - I ) for me the next tier for me is Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Southampton. Note that my ranking one in which "size matters" partly on the basis that successful departments grow and also have more choice for undergrads and better coverage of subjects.
    Most of your tables seem to point to CO having a slight edge over WIB over others, so I always find it odd when you then personally rank them as "C - WO - I"; is it that you personally would weight certain tables from your webpage where that happens to be the ranking?
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    something like (no particular order): Oxford, Imperial, Cambridge, Warwick
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    Warwick is great socially and academically - not as academic as Oxbridge, but doesn't breed unsociable people either like Oxbridge tends to. It's become a top UK university in just 50 years and if I had to put money on it, I'd bet that 50 years from now it'll be on par or better than Oxbridge - especially for finance, economics and maths.
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    (Original post by RichE)
    Most of your tables seem to point to CO having a slight edge over WIB over others, so I always find it odd when you then personally rank them as "C - WO - I"; is it that you personally would weight certain tables from your webpage where that happens to be the ranking?
    First a declared bias - I was born in Oxford but an UG at Warwick. Oxford has done amazing things in industrial applied maths over the last 20 years, while at the over the last 30 years Warwick has moved from a power house mainly in topology and algebra to tremendous diverse strength in applied mathematics. The courses are quite different from an UG point of view. Unless it has changed recently Oxford is quite inflexible and Warwick highly flexible (and I prefer the latter).

    Yes implicitly I think things like eg EPSRC grant income is a more sensitive indicator of current performance than say number of Fellows of the Royal Society.
    This month's grant league table has Warwick way ahead. Caution is needed though as with this as both Oxford and Cambridge have access to other substantial funding streams, and big grants skew the table and are sometimes shared with other departments.

    Overall it is a close call between Warwick and Oxford in my opinion, and anyone choosing between them to study will have to look in detail and reflect on what is important to them.
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    (Original post by BillLionheart)
    First a declared bias - I was born in Oxford but an UG at Warwick. Oxford has done amazing things in industrial applied maths over the last 20 years, while at the over the last 30 years Warwick has moved from a power house mainly in topology and algebra to tremendous diverse strength in applied mathematics. The courses are quite different from an UG point of view. Unless it has changed recently Oxford is quite inflexible and Warwick highly flexible (and I prefer the latter).

    Yes implicitly I think things like eg EPSRC grant income is a more sensitive indicator of current performance than say number of Fellows of the Royal Society.
    This month's grant league table has Warwick way ahead. Caution is needed though as with this as both Oxford and Cambridge have access to other substantial funding streams, and big grants skew the table and are sometimes shared with other departments.

    Overall it is a close call between Warwick and Oxford in my opinion, and anyone choosing between them to study will have to look in detail and reflect on what is important to them.
    I don't really dispute any of that - except maybe to call Oxford "inflexible" given the range of options on offer and that options start in the second year; I just think Warwick is singularly flexible.

    I guess I wasn't that clear with my post. What I was really asking was why you saw a reason to discretely place Cambridge over Oxford and Warwick.
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    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    Sorry to be rude but I'm afraid you're just wrong there. All the people I know that are very very good at maths go to Oxbridge and all the people I know that don't get into Oxbridge for maths go to Warwick, enough said. If you want some statistics, the average UCAS entry tariff for maths at Oxford is 580 and at Cambridge is 600. Conversely, it is 540 at Warwick. Now, I know UCAS entry tariff doesn't actually tell you how good people are at maths, but I think the massive difference gives a pretty good indication.

    As far as people picking Warwick ahead of Oxford, out of the 185 offers Oxford gave out for maths last year, they had 173 people join in the summer. This includes people that miss their offers and people that go to america etc. It is likely that the vast majority of Oxford applicants also apply to Warwick and so pretty much all of them pick Oxford ahead of Warwick. This also seems pretty consistent with the people I know, as I've never heard of anyone reject an Oxford offer for Warwick.

    I'd just be interested to know, but what do you base these opinions on? Have you been through the application process for Oxbridge and Warwick or are you at Warwick at the moment?

    Yes but, out of those 185 with Oxford offers, how many applied to Warwick? The odds are if they're wanting to do Maths, they applied to Cambridge as it is generally considered better than Oxford for Maths.

    With regards to my opinion, I'm applying for Maths next year so I have visited the departments, talked to friends who go to Oxbridge and Warwick, and also done research online.
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    (Original post by Ryan-Hetherington)
    Yes but, out of those 185 with Oxford offers, how many applied to Warwick? The odds are if they're wanting to do Maths, they applied to Cambridge as it is generally considered better than Oxford for Maths.

    With regards to my opinion, I'm applying for Maths next year so I have visited the departments, talked to friends who go to Oxbridge and Warwick, and also done research online.
    Well I'd be amazed if the vast majority of Oxford applicants didn't apply to Warwick. It's got a great maths department so you've got to expect that almost everyone that applies to Oxford will also include Warwick as one of their 4 other choices. Then, as the figures suggest, almost everyone picks Oxford out of the two. That's not to say that a very small minority don't pick Warwick, I'm just saying that the vast majority pick Oxford.
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    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    Well I'd be amazed if the vast majority of Oxford applicants didn't apply to Warwick. It's got a great maths department so you've got to expect that almost everyone that applies to Oxford will also include Warwick as one of their 4 other choices. Then, as the figures suggest, almost everyone picks Oxford out of the two. That's not to say that a very small minority don't pick Warwick, I'm just saying that the vast majority pick Oxford.
    You're forgetting Cambridge? Anyone who knows anything about Undergrad Maths knows Cambridge is by far better than Oxford for Maths. As you cannot apply to both, I'd highly suspect that the people who apply to Warwick and Oxford are, by far, in the minority.
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    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    Well I'd be amazed if the vast majority of Oxford applicants didn't apply to Warwick. It's got a great maths department so you've got to expect that almost everyone that applies to Oxford will also include Warwick as one of their 4 other choices. Then, as the figures suggest, almost everyone picks Oxford out of the two. That's not to say that a very small minority don't pick Warwick, I'm just saying that the vast majority pick Oxford.
    Ryan has a point. Warwick ask for STEP, Oxford don't. If an applicant is applying to Oxford presumably with it as their first choice, the odds on them, being bothered enough to take STEP is up for debate. I think its more likely that they would have UCL or Bristol as a second choice. The difficulty of STEP means that an Oxford applicant, isn't really going to want bother with it, if Warwick is only an insurance.

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