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    Regarding MATHEMATICS undergraduate curriculum


    I have a question on which university or universities have the best ACADEMIC programme, curriculum, syllabi or whatever you'd like to call it - basically the topics, subjects, contents of material taught to undergraduates - in the usa and uk.

    My estimate is it is a toss up between oxbridge, imperial, warwick, ucl etc in UK vs ivy league, mit, caltech, stanford etc in usa. however feel free to add or exclude names from UK & USA only in this list of best universities ON PURELY ACADEMIC TERMS within uk&usa exclusively (no other countries in this debate plz).

    Can I also ask posters to include, if relevant, their "allegiance" - which universities they study(ied) at-, which they feel are some "nonanglo-saxon" universities with strong maths departments (incl. in france, germany, russia, italy etc) that can compete with or excel cambridge maths department?

    So here it goes. Tell us in as much detail as possible
    1. which is/are your pick(s) for the best maths departments in Uk/USA on PURELY ACADEMIC terms, i.e. based on content of syllabi for undergrads, for subject matters taught at undergrad level, but NOT based on resources, job prospects, extracurriculars, surroundings, nightlife and other "peripherals". Pure academic terms who rules the roost in this transatlantic duel?
    2. what are some of your picks for maths departments outside uk/usa which equal, come close to or exceed the VERY BEST in uk/usa? i believe ecole superiure normale/polytechniques in france, and other institutes in germany, russia deserve mention as equals to cambridge uk if not higher than cambridge uk.....but what do you think IF YOU KNOW anything about those places?
    3. RESTRICT the discussion to PURELY ACADEMIC TERMS. EXCLUDE resources, weather, job prospects, extracurriculars, nightlife and other "peripherals".
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    It's generally accepted that Cambridge is best for maths within the UK. I don't know about the USA. Why does it matter? Getting into any of those universities would be a great achievement.
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    Irrespective of the various universities research strengths, I'd imagine from looking at the courses offered that someone who's done the MMath at Oxford or part III at cambridge is going to be at a higher level than someone who's done 4 years at MIT or Princeton - partly due to the focus on one subject, partly due to the wider array of topics studied in the UK at school level (Even the A-level remains a complete joke). I should imagine things level out quite considerably at graduate level.

    I'm applying for Maths and Philosophy at Oxford by the way.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    It's generally accepted that Cambridge is best for maths within the UK. I don't know about the USA. Why does it matter? Getting into any of those universities would be a great achievement.
    thx for ur reply. why does it matter? that's the topic of the thread, i want to know (from those who've experienced either/both/neither but know enough) where does the top 10-12 US universities Maths curriculum stand at undergraduate level in comparison with, let's say Cambridge Uni UK.

    and NO OFFENCE, I know for many ppl getting into ANY of those universities would be a great achievement, but that's a different topic. here i'm concerned ONLY with the relative strengths of academic matters of these universities' maths departments, not their resources, library size, date of inception, number of faculty who've a certain qualification (whatever that may be), job prospects etc etc....NONE OF THOSE matter in THIS discussion.

    i just want to compare the top UK vs USA universities for their maths curriculum strengths at undergraduate level, if possible also at postgraduate level but that can be conveniently left out.

    Q. what in your view are the strongest maths departments ACADEMICALLY (purely academics, nothing else matters) in the USA? name top 5, 6, 10 or as many as you think deserve special mention.
    Kindly compare them with cambridge UK's maths department. where do they stand in your opinion, from informed sourced and from any other point of view you can think of?
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    Heh.

    You're being a bit rude to be honest. I asked you a question and you ranted at me and started getting territorial about your thread. I don't know how good these universities are, because I haven't studied at every single one of them. Nor do I see why you want to know so badly. But your stubbornness is irritating me, so I'm afraid to say I wouldn't answer you even if I knew.
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    (Original post by HPSH)
    Irrespective of the various universities research strengths, I'd imagine from looking at the courses offered that someone who's done the MMath at Oxford or part III at cambridge is going to be at a higher level than someone who's done 4 years at MIT or Princeton - partly due to the focus on one subject, partly due to the wider array of topics studied in the UK at school level (Even the A-level remains a complete joke). I should imagine things level out quite considerably at graduate level.

    I'm applying for Maths and Philosophy at Oxford by the way.
    if I am not wrong, you mean MMath (is it M.Sc at math or equivalent?) at Oxford is more advanced curriculum wise than 4 years undergrad B.S/B.A in maths @ princeton or MIT. I tend to agree. But that's just my opinion. i want to check what others think and why they do.

    But isn't it also true (no offence to anyone) that generally the quality of coursework is lacking in US universities in maths at least? I mean would you say, MIT/Stanford/Ivy league universities' maths graduates will be able to adapt well in to a cambridge or oxford undergraduate maths course?

    IF the A-Level remains a complete joke in your opinion, may i ask what your opinion is of SATs, APs etc in USA?

    thx
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Heh.

    You're being a bit rude to be honest. I asked you a question and you ranted at me and started getting territorial about your thread. I don't know how good these universities are, because I haven't studied at every single one of them. Nor do I see why you want to know so badly. But your stubbornness is irritating me, so I'm afraid to say I wouldn't answer you even if I knew.
    there must have been a misunderstanding. i dont/didn't mean to be rude. i don't know why you thought that. it must be the lack of emoticons in my post!
    what question did you ask? can you repeat that so I can try clarifying my point of view?
    I want to know the standing of these unis simply because i've been having a discussion with an acquiantance or two over this topic, and we can't seem to agree. hence i asked this question here so i can get a different view point or two, and may be understand whether i was right in my "knowledge" of cambridge, uk's maths department's superiority over other departments in USA or not.....no offence to anyone, i don't know maybe you're an american so you feel offended. well friend that was not the intention.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Heh.

    I don't know how good these universities are, because I haven't studied at every single one of them. Nor do I see why you want to know so badly.
    I confess, something about the poster's style is making me wonder when Greek Mathematical Standards(tm) are going to be invoked...
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    (Original post by maths-enthusiast)
    there must have been a misunderstanding. i dont/didn't mean to be rude. i don't know why you thought that. it must be the lack of emoticons in my post!
    what question did you ask? can you repeat that so I can try clarifying my point of view?
    I want to know the standing of these unis simply because i've been having a discussion with an acquiantance or two over this topic, and we can't seem to agree. hence i asked this question here so i can get a different view point or two, and may be understand whether i was right in my "knowledge" of cambridge, uk's maths department's superiority over other departments in USA or not.....no offence to anyone, i don't know maybe you're an american so you feel offended. well friend that was not the intention.
    I'm not American, and it wasn't the lack of emoticons in your post. It was the irritating repetitions, arbitrary capitalisation, and generally the whole patronising nature of your post, as if I hadn't understood the first time round. I did understand, and I didn't have an answer, and I knew no one would have an answer, because it's a question that can't be answered.

    Some departments at Cambridge will be better than the equivalents in some Ivy League universities, and vice-versa. In the end, they're both reaching pretty much the same standards. But no one can give you exact answers, because no one's ever studied at all the universities you mention, and the surveys and research done into this is very little and naturally very biased depending on who does it. (Cf. Oxford appearing top in the Sunday Times league tables, Cambridge in the Times league tables, or vice-versa.) And of course it varies entirely by the individual survey-takers' learning style, and so on. There's no way it could possibly ever be unbiased.

    I asked you why you wanted to know this.

    (Original post by maths-enthusiast)
    IF the A-Level remains a complete joke in your opinion, may i ask what your opinion is of SATs, APs etc in USA?
    Again, you're asking impossible questions. I know no one who's sat both and know absolutely no reason why anyone ever would.

    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I confess, something about the poster's style is making me wonder when Greek Mathematical Standards(tm) are going to be invoked...
    :rofl:

    I'm sensing there are too few emoticons for there to be a connection, sadly.
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    CAPS LOCK can be SWITCHED off you KNOW?
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    it's rainy in cambridge and the nightlife ain't great, so cambridge deffo isn't number one. it does have a river though.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    I'm not American, and it wasn't the lack of emoticons in your post. It was the irritating repetitions, arbitrary capitalisation, and generally the whole patronising nature of your post, as if I hadn't understood the first time round. I did understand, and I didn't have an answer, and I knew no one would have an answer, because it's a question that can't be answered.
    okay mate tell me how my post was generally "patronising" in nature. that way i'll learn how to avoid that tone


    Some departments at Cambridge will be better than the equivalents in some Ivy League universities, and vice-versa.
    the thread is about Mathematics, it's a subthread within "mathematics" thread, the title or heading said regarding "mathematics" .....

    so that no one repeats the oft repeated nonsense of one department is better here, the other there; there is no one factor for judging who's better etc etc I specifically LIMITED the criterion to academic curriculum of maths departments.....just how good is cambridge maths department undergrad VS princton undergrad maths (academically), or cambridge uk maths vs mit usa maths..etc


    In the end, they're both reaching pretty much the same standards. But no one can give you exact answers, because no one's ever studied at all the universities you mention, and the surveys and research done into this is very little and naturally very biased depending on who does it. (Cf. Oxford appearing top in the Sunday Times league tables, Cambridge in the Times league tables, or vice-versa.)
    for example HPSH(sp?) thought cambridge uk maths undergrad will be > mit maths undergrad/princeton maths undergrad. he has his own reasons for thinking so, as do i. but what about you? or other posters here?

    And of course it varies entirely by the individual survey-takers' learning style, and so on. There's no way it could possibly ever be unbiased.


    I asked you why you wanted to know this.

    Again, you're asking impossible questions. I know no one who's sat both and know absolutely no reason why anyone ever would.

    :rofl:

    I'm sensing there are too few emoticons for there to be a connection, sadly.
    mate there are many students i know who sat for both a levels and sat's, many students from commonwealth former british colonies when (if) they opt for undergrad in USA they sat for SATs too.
    it's not at all an impossible question to answer. i have my views and in my view, no offence to any americans or anybody else, a levels in britain or elsewhere in commonwealth quite easily exceeds sat i,ii, even ap's i'll say in quality of materials covered.
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    (Original post by Chewwy)
    it's rainy in cambridge and the nightlife ain't great, so cambridge deffo isn't number one. it does have a river though.
    wth does it have 2 do with curriculum?
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    (Original post by maths-enthusiast)
    okay mate tell me how my post was generally "patronising" in nature. that way i'll learn how to avoid that tone
    Alright, how's this:

    so that no one repeats the oft repeated nonsense of one department is better here, the other there
    I'm bored of your rudeness, and consequently I shall not reply to the rest of your post, other than this:

    I specifically LIMITED the criterion to academic curriculum of maths departments
    You do know maths has more than one topic, don't you? And various branches of maths may require different departments? There isn't just one huge mathematical "entity" in Cambridge, one in Princeton, etc., they're all made up of individual lecturers and faculties (pure and applied maths would be two blatantly obvious ones), and some will be better in Princeton than in Cambridge, some will be better in Cambridge than in Princeton. Maths in one university is made up of more than one department; a department is made up of more than one person; each person can give lectures and provide research help on more than one topic; all of these factors will vary, and each individual's perception of these factors will be different.

    Adding to this fact that no one person can take an undergraduate course at both universities at the same time (or if they do, they'll be biased as they already know some of the material), no one person can see every individual lecturer and tutor, no two people learn in the same way, and everyone has different interests and captivations, I guarantee you that no one will be able to answer you, and no two people who claim to be able to answer you will have exactly the same views.

    It's not just pure subjectivity, an answer to this question is quite frankly impossible unless some serious extensive (length of the course or more) scientific research is performed... which it hasn't been. So please stop acting like we're thick and we don't understand you.
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    (Original post by maths-enthusiast)
    wth does it have 2 do with curriculum?
    It doesn't. He's taking the piss because you're being a bit arsey.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    He's taking the piss because you're being a bit arsey.
    And because he's Chewwy...
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    And because he's Chewwy...
    Also true. Never ceases to amuse me. (But I shouldn't say that too loudly around him. :p:)
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    I'm not sure you will find many (if any) people who have enough knowledge and experience of all those Maths departments and syllabuses to answer the question reasonably.

    (If the question can even be given an answer! What if one department provides an unparalleled Statistics education, while another provides an unparalleled Pure education, and another tries to strike a balance? How can you say one is then better than another academically?)
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    (Original post by Lusus Naturae)
    I'm not sure you will find many (if any) people who have enough knowledge and experience of all those Maths departments and syllabuses to answer the question reasonably.

    (If the question can even be given an answer! What if one department provides an unparalleled Statistics education, while another provides an unparalleled Pure education, and another tries to strike a balance? How can you say one is then better than another academically?)
    your last sentences contain "what if" questions....but in reality that is not the case. in reality, if i pit a university or universities from let's say some country X with little industrialization or advancement and cambridge uk, you'll probably not argue in favour of "X" universities. you will probably pick cambridge.

    but why the hesitation when it comes to picking cambridge against caltech, say? as for your separation into applied, pure/theoretical maths or stats, mate you can provide separte answers as well as a comprehensive one containing separate analysis for all these different divisions.

    but as for generalebriety i'd better not answer to him, since he himself answers like an idiot. i dont know why.
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    You have to be a bit careful about going to the US to do undergrad maths because the spirit of study there is that no-one proves themselves by doing well in an undergrad programme; it's *grad school* where the hard work really starts. So even at Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Chicago you're not going to be as well-prepared to start a PhD as with Cambridge Pt3 (which is the main course in the UK in which people learn advanced maths, and which you need to aim to pass through). Failing that, Oxford, Warwick and IC, especially, will do a good if perhaps a little patchier job for you. An MMath in any other of the top 10-20 maths depts in the UK will be able, in that dept's specialist areas, to get you to the equivalent of about the first term, possibly the 2nd, of Pt3. Things are beginning to improve with groups of depts running networked lectures in wide ranges of grad courses - but these usually kick in *after* MMath level.
 
 
 
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