Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Some parts of this thread concern the policy of universities in general and some parts concern mathematics courses in specific. I will keep this post short and omit some information to that end, though if you feel anything omitted is required for you to be able to write a reply then tell me and I'll submit what's missing.

    To start, it would be wise to point out I don't want to get a Russel-group or 'top 10' mathematics degree in one year. As of a few weeks ago, I was still undecided as to what I would pursue next year, I cancelled my university applications for 2014 entry earlier this year and still had no grand strategy. Either way, next year I will not be attending a university for what I want to take to MSc (chemistry). Two mathematics teachers at my school advised me that what I know of mathematics so far is ample for me to pursue a Mathematics BSc (or Mathematics + Physics) in this coming year. I was recommended to look at universities close to my home town (U of Kent, U of Sussex) as well as the OU's distance BSc Mathematics or Mathematics and Physics courses.

    This is where the uncertainties begin, some of the most obvious ones (which components of the courses I have to do to qualify, the fees...) can be resolved by phoning up the universities, and that is something I haven't done yet. Another pressing uncertainty of mine is the return on my investment, and that's really what I wish to resolve by means of this thread.

    I've pursued mathematics so far because I found it fun, and for no other reasons really. When one takes mathematics further however, one has to pay money . I would (and already have studied, in part) study all the necessary mathematics to gain a BSc for fun with my free time, the question now is whether to transmute that into degree. I really wish to learn about the return that this degree will give me, whether this makes 'economic' sense.

    So, the following are my questions:
    Would a BSc mathematics degree be a boon to my future search for work in science?
    Could I take a degree from such a university (including OU, here) and at some point build on it to reach the auspices of actuary (or some engineering industry role w/ Mathematics + Physics)?
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    A BSc in one year? Sounds possible if you work around 6+ hours a day everyday. Do I think anyone would let you do it? No, but it might be worth asking.

    1. If you look at many great scientists you'll find that they were proficient in mathematics. Almost every physicist has to be very good at maths. Many theoretical biologists must be good at maths. Some geologists must be good, and some chemists etc. I am actually doing a second degree in Maths and physics for fun, whilst I do my PhD - but I know deep down that it will probably pay dividends when it comes to quantifying my theories/models and may even allow me to dip into those subjects if I get a little bored in genetics and evolution every now and then.
    edit: I suppose you're also considering industry. Obviously mathematics is great to have, but a "boon"? Afraid I cannot answer that - no idea.

    2. You mean credit transfer some modules to the modules of another degree? So, do 360 credits in Mathematics (or similar) and use some of those to cover, say for argument's sake, 120-240 credits of actuary? Definitely, assuming you had enough statistics in the maths degree.

    It sounds to me that you might be best put becoming an academic 'with an eye' to industry' rather than the other way around, considering that you enjoy learning so much.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks, I think what you wrote resolves my second question fully and goes some distance to resolving my first, there's some good advice there.

    'Do I think anyone would let you do it? No'

    More and more over the last few days I've been coming to think that you might be right about this too. I don't think universities share any of the Quixotism of the youth, this is probably a good thing in general. What frustrates me most is the loss of momentum towards achieving my goals over this gap year. I have resolved to keep working for 8+ hrs (this probably sounds naive, and somewhat typical of 18 y/os who think they enjoy a subject, you'll have to trust me on this) a day through until august next year or restlessness and depression will very quickly have their way with my mind.

    I don't think I will be able to convince anyone to let me pursue Mathematics or Mathematics + Physics BSc in one year with the ~300 - 400 hrs I put into 'higher' mathematics throughout my time in sixth form. But with 2000+ hrs of time spent towards chemistry (and perhaps ~1000 hrs or so on related disciplines that I will have by august) do you think I will be able to convince a university to do something similar to what I first suggested with regards to a science (chemistry)?
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    I think you can do over 8 hours a day too. It's highly improbable in the sense that it is highly improbably that, chosen at random, any given individual would do that (in their spare time), but obviously universities have a blanket approach of "well 99% of the time that won't be the case so meh".

    Your alternative plan is to convince a university that the stuff you've done in this gap year will be enough to do 360 credits in one year? What did you do? Is it just informal study or what? If so, I don't see why the situation would be any different. An idea I've had in the past is to just ask them to give you some sort of short examination in order that you can prove yourself, but given bureaucracy I highly doubt that would happen either, what with 'setting precedents' and the like.

    Not sure you want to say, but is there a reason why you want Maths/Chemistry in one year? As in, is there a reason why it is seemingly so essential?
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    A BSc in one year? Sounds possible if you work around 6+ hours a day everyday.
    I think the vast majority of people at decent universities do spend 6+ hours a day and yet it takes 3 years.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hassassin04)
    I think the vast majority of people at decent universities do spend 6+ hours a day and yet it takes 3 years.
    I think the vast majority of people are not particularly intelligent. Should the OP be very talented, I think he can do it - whether or not the universities believe it is another thing.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    Not sure you want to say, but is there a reason why you want Maths/Chemistry in one year?
    This is probably the right place to start, if this gets challenged to defeat in our examination then I suppose my questions are moot.

    Firstly, I will argue that institutional education is a bad thing, for me at any rate. Throughout my time at school I have always fulfilled the demands made of me, though the school consistently failed in it's obligations to me. This last statement is very general, though I can expand with specific examples if asked (this is probably irrelevant). The university is the same, it demands in different ways to a school but demands nonetheless in matters of time* and money. My experiences with institutions, and those whose I've read about on the internet (and my fathers) have gone some length to assure me that I will meet the same blithe indifference from the administration and faculty at university.

    *This is a strange point to make, after all it takes the same amount of time to learn the contents of a degree course at a university than on your own... I think it doesn't, the university can employ parts of a curriculum that one disagrees with, mandatory supervisions (e.g) and the like that cost one in time and transport etc.

    I am both poor and changeable. I don't have the finances to pursue multiple full length degrees, of course a degree is an investment and I may earn enough from the career it may get me to offset this cost. However, I cannot tell with any great certainty whether I will still enjoy a subject once it is taken to great distances, in fact no one can. Nonetheless, if I graduate and I'm not happy (unlikely, admittedly) then I will be, in essence, 'stuck' with my choice, unwilling to climb further into debt to respecialise. Therefore if costs can be minimized they should be minimized.

    This last argument is also somewhat central to my desire to study a BSc course in one year; if it can be done, it should be. There are few, if any disadvantages to it, if it is given that it can be done.

    I have more concerns still that I have omitted, but they are minor in comparison to the arguments written above.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    Well I can tell you as a recent graduate that universities are basically no different to secondary schools when it comes to their rigidity - in fact they're worse. You can do your A Levels at the age of 12, through your school, if you're enterprising enough. By contrast, I've not seen someone do a university degree in less than two years (and this was because they had graduated elsewhere); and by seen, I don't just mean firsthand.

    Institutional education was a bad thing for me too: it rewards the hard-working. What's wrong with that? Well often it's not about intellect/creativity but rather your ability to sit in a room and memorise facts. Not just facts, but ridiculously useless facts. One of my exam questions was something like, "what is the sequence of enzyme bla bla" (I forget its name). I mean who the hell cares? Why would I need to recall that? You can watch Michio Kaku on YouTube echo my very sentiment - he did it for BigThink, or something.

    I was in the same position as you, in a way, but I think I got lucky. I chose genetics and I ended up loving it (alongside evolutionary biology and psychology) and ended up with a PhD in a few months. Of course, maybe you won't be so lucky.

    I really think that if you're unsure, mathematics is the best choice - and not just pure. Make sure it's applied, because then you can transition to a chemistry, physics or even biology masters (not to mention econ etc). Taking into account my PhD searches in the past year, mathematics was by far the biggest non-biology degree that was able to qualify for a position.

    Tuition fees were 3.5k for me. I think they're 9k now, so I can imagine how worried you are about the debt. As I understand, don't you get higher grants now? They increased the cost to deal with the fact that they could charge middle-upper class kids the full amount without it affecting them too adversely. So perhaps your overall amount of debt won't be too different to mine (Taking into account living costs). I think mine are around 15k, but that's desperately easy to pay off assuming you do a decent degree and do decently well.

    You can get student funding for OU degrees and plenty of people use them to go onto Masters/PhD stuff later. As for industry, again, I don't really know. My OU degree is something like 4,600 spread over 3 years because I am not English. I think for English people it is more like 15,000.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hassassin04)
    I think the vast majority of people at decent universities do spend 6+ hours a day and yet it takes 3 years.

    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    I think the vast majority of people are not particularly intelligent. Should the OP be very talented, I think he can do it - whether or not the universities believe it is another thing.
    Completely depends on the university you do it at. Outside of Oxbridge, Warwick and Imperial the difficulty, and amount of content, in a maths degree falls quite considerably. Would you be able to get a BA/BSc in Maths in one year studying it at Oxford or Cambridge - no, that's pretty much impossible. Even outside of COWI you'd be looking at twice the workload of a year at Oxford/Cambridge, which is pretty incomprehensible.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Noble.)
    Completely depends on the university you do it at. Outside of Oxbridge, Warwick and Imperial the difficulty, and amount of content, in a maths degree falls quite considerably. Would you be able to get a BA/BSc in Maths in one year studying it at Oxford or Cambridge - no, that's pretty much impossible. Even outside of COWI you'd be looking at twice the workload of a year at Oxford/Cambridge, which is pretty incomprehensible.
    But you're both missing his point. The point of his gap year is to teach himself much of the material required in a BSc. Then he wants to take what he has, add what he can in that one year at university, and sit all of the necessary exams (which would technically be levels 2 and 3) in one year.

    In essence it would be 3 years in 2 years studying with 1 of those 2 spent at a university.

    It seems viable to me, assuming sufficiently high intelligence and hard work. However, I doubt a university would ever take the plunge.
    • Community Assistant
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    But you're both missing his point. The point of his gap year is to teach himself much of the material required in a BSc. Then he wants to take what he has, add what he can in that one year at university, and sit all of the necessary exams (which would technically be levels 2 and 3) in one year.

    In essence it would be 3 years in 2 years studying with 1 of those 2 spent at a university.

    It seems viable to me, assuming sufficiently high intelligence and hard work. However, I doubt a university would ever take the plunge.
    So in one year he will sit 3 years worth of exams??

    There isn't a standard exam board for uni like with a levels, so how will he know he is studying the right things for the exam?

    It's not just all exams either: what about projects and presentations?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    In essence it would be 3 years in 2 years studying with 1 of those 2 spent at a university.
    Yeah, that's right, I don't have any ongoing UCAS applications for mathematics there's no way I'd be going to university next year other than an OU course, that is. I was always doubtful about redbrick universities letting me do this, OU seems much more likely, I should have made that clearer. As for your questions rayquaza17, most of that is covered in the OP, I'd get in touch with the universities for these particulars.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by rayquaza17)
    So in one year he will sit 3 years worth of exams??

    There isn't a standard exam board for uni like with a levels, so how will he know he is studying the right things for the exam?

    It's not just all exams either: what about projects and presentations?
    I sat 19 exams in one year (albeit A level). I think you make a good point about the presentations, and of course, he'd probably have to do a dissertation.

    I imagine you can cover the majority of the syllabus if you tried to follow IMA criteria closely enough, and topping up and specifying it in the third. I think the probability of this occurring is extremely low, but that it would not be impossible if you were very smart and a ridiculous workaholic.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    But you're both missing his point. The point of his gap year is to teach himself much of the material required in a BSc. Then he wants to take what he has, add what he can in that one year at university, and sit all of the necessary exams (which would technically be levels 2 and 3) in one year.

    In essence it would be 3 years in 2 years studying with 1 of those 2 spent at a university.

    It seems viable to me, assuming sufficiently high intelligence and hard work. However, I doubt a university would ever take the plunge.
    I wasn't addressing his point, I was just adding to what both yourself and hassassin04 said. But yes, no decent university is going to consider it, partially because it's mathematics which isn't exactly a natural continuation from A-Level, but also because there's a massive difference between "reading up on the material", understanding theorems/proofs and being exam ready; a lot of the difference between the two ultimately comes down to putting in a lot of hours on problem solving and any tutor/professor is going to be very dubious of whether someone who hasn't been exposed to mathematics in a university setting actually falls into the latter category.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    I sat 19 exams in one year (albeit A level). I think you make a good point about the presentations, and of course, he'd probably have to do a dissertation.

    I imagine you can cover the majority of the syllabus if you tried to follow IMA criteria closely enough, and topping up and specifying it in the third. I think the probability of this occurring is extremely low, but that it would not be impossible if you were very smart and a ridiculous workaholic.
    19 exams split over January and June exams? If so that's not really that much (I sat 15 exams in the summer of A2 alone) - that said A-Levels and mathematics at a top university are not even remotely comparable.
    • Community Assistant
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    I sat 19 exams in one year (albeit A level). I think you make a good point about the presentations, and of course, he'd probably have to do a dissertation.

    I imagine you can cover the majority of the syllabus if you tried to follow IMA criteria closely enough, and topping up and specifying it in the third. I think the probability of this occurring is extremely low, but that it would not be impossible if you were very smart and a ridiculous workaholic.
    What about coursework/assignments also?

    The uni will have pre-requisites for the modules he wants to study in 3rd year, so he will have to study the 2nd year ones and have finished the exams before he is even allowed to study them. But to do the 2nd year ones, he will have had to study the 1st year ones.

    OP: Is there any reason why you can't attend university for 3 years? Do you not get a student loan? Or do you have personal circumstances? In any case, I think you would be best speaking directly to the maths department at a university you are interested in and ask them.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Noble.)
    19 exams split over January and June exams? If so that's not really that much (I sat 15 exams in the summer of A2 alone) - that said A-Levels and mathematics at a top university are not even remotely comparable.
    No, in June. In January I think I sat around 5 or 6, though I don't quite recall. Obviously I only remember the 19:P

    And I agree that they're not comparable, but 9 months and 24 months aren't either. The issue was really whether it was logistically possible - and he didn't mention a top uni anyway.

    I think the take home message is that you're going to have to either plead the most convincing case in history, or settle for doing the three years. Considering that you're so confident about how well you can do, you might consider doing mathematics full time with the OU, whilst doing a job part-time. English fees for the whole thing are around 15k - much cheaper than 27k +15k living costs and if you can live with your parents then you'll be fine.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by rayquaza17)
    What about coursework/assignments also?

    The uni will have pre-requisites for the modules he wants to study in 3rd year, so he will have to study the 2nd year ones and have finished the exams before he is even allowed to study them. But to do the 2nd year ones, he will have had to study the 1st year ones.

    OP: Is there any reason why you can't attend university for 3 years? Do you not get a student loan? Or do you have personal circumstances? In any case, I think you would be best speaking directly to the maths department at a university you are interested in and ask them.
    Very good points and I concur with them - take them on board, OP.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I don't think there's much more to say, thanks for taking the time to advise me in this thread at any rate. I wasn't so invested in this idea, mainly there were 2 questions I had about this thing, one about the 'mechanics' of this possibility which was really being passed around in the last few responses, and one about the economics. I couldn't really make up my mind as to which I should ask first and where, in the end I decided to ask the questions in the OP here before phoning OU, taking this up further with my school etc. Either way I got some pretty strong advice on both here. Thanks.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BestProfileName)
    Very good points and I concur with them - take them on board, OP.
    Yeah, I should say so. Again I wasn't so concerned with advice about what I would say the 'mechanics' are with this thread since these would vary from university to university, I would have asked these questions from the mathematics departments at universities. Nonetheless, probably widely applicable and good advice.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.