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The real top 20 maths universities? watch
- 08-06-2011 14:15
- 09-06-2011 08:17
I apologize for not updating my article article http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/~b...s_league/2009/ since 2009, I just don't have the time at the moment. There are a couple of measures that give a fairly clear indication of how mathematicians rank maths departments that get automatically updated. One is my automatic research grant league table http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/~b...ml#leaguetable which gets updated every month. Be careful to interpret this in terms of the size of the department, big departments like Nottingham and Manchester should be expected to have big grant incomes!
I wont go in to the details of why grant income is important even for undergrads (see previous discussions) but suffice it to say that overheads on grants and overseas student fees subsidise undergraduate education, and without these a department might be very vulnerable.
The other measure is the Doctoral Training Grant, this is the government funding for PhD students. Good maths departments will have plenty of postgrads and they are the life blood of the department. If a maths department can't keep some of its students on to do PhDs it is very hard to sustain a vigorous mathematical culture. The cultural transmission is the thing employers mean when they tell us "we like your graduates, we like the way they are trained to think", its one of the things you get from a maths degree that is hard to get from books. Also the DTA is peer assessed so it gauges what mathematicians think of other maths departments.
A nice table of the allocation is here http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/about/progs/m...locations.aspx
Be very cautious of news paper league tables. They often use things like "spend per student" which is almost completely spurious, and NSS and DLHE surveys that are not useful comparators between departments at different universities and are open to manipulation. Some tables produce very strange results when data is missing. For example if a department does not return in pure or applied mathematics in the RAE (as they didn't do any research in those areas) but does in statistics, some league tables would treat it as though the got the statistics score in the other two. Very strange results arise from this!
- 09-06-2011 08:32
I wouldn't worry about the specifics. Pick any of the universities mentioned on this thread and apply. At the open day ask all the relevant questions and get a feel for the place and the town.
When you get your offers choose the one that made the best impression on you at the open day.
If you don't have a good feeling about a place then don't choose it just because it's COWBI.
Someone earlier on the thread was worrying that King's doesn't rate highly in Mathematics specifically. It doesn't matter. It's a uni with a good reputation. You will get a thoroughly decent mathematical education there and come out with a degree from a respected institution. I mean, if you visited there and liked it and had your heart set on it, those are far more important than any league table.