cflau_
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QS rankings said it's not very good, but some other ranks say St. Andrews is one of the best universities in UK for Mathematics, possibly behind oxbridge. Does anyone know how good it actually is in comparison to universities like Warwick and IC for Mathematics?
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swanseajack1
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(Original post by cflau_)
QS rankings said it's not very good, but some other ranks say St. Andrews is one of the best universities in UK for Mathematics, possibly behind oxbridge. Does anyone know how good it actually is in comparison to universities like Warwick and IC for Mathematics?
I dont know a great deal about this in particular but it is a very good university generally. The problem with ratings like QS and THE is that they strongly rate universities in big cities and the universities in smaller cities end up doing less well. This happens year on year and far that reason I take their rankings with a pinch of salt. Places like Bristol, Manchester and Kings do well in the international rankings whilst place like Durham and St Andrews dont.

I gather St Andrews is very good for Maths but what you need to ask yourself is whether it is the right university for you. It is a very small town quite remote from most places in the UK. Some find it too quiet but others love it.
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mnot
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(Original post by cflau_)
QS rankings said it's not very good, but some other ranks say St. Andrews is one of the best universities in UK for Mathematics, possibly behind oxbridge. Does anyone know how good it actually is in comparison to universities like Warwick and IC for Mathematics?
The QS rankings aren’t really a good indicator of education. The methodology behind them is fairly arbitrary and a lot of the underlying data is collected from surveys. The reality is when trying to look at unis you have to be pragmatic. League tables serve a purpose but all of them are flawed in some capacity.

St Andrews does not have the same reputation for mathematics as say Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial but it has an excellent reputation overall and probably slides in behind these along with several others such as Southampton, Nottingham, Manchester, bath etc.
(I’m not a mathematician just my impression).

_gcx (am I right in thinking you study maths)
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cflau_
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(Original post by mnot)
The QS rankings aren’t really a good indicator of education. The methodology behind them is fairly arbitrary and a lot of the underlying data is collected from surveys. The reality is when trying to look at unis you have to be pragmatic. League tables serve a purpose but all of them are flawed in some capacity.

St Andrews does not have the same reputation for mathematics as say Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial but it has an excellent reputation overall and probably slides in behind these along with several others such as Southampton, Nottingham, Manchester, bath etc.
(I’m not a mathematician just my impression).

_gcx (am I right in thinking you study maths)
Yeah I am aware of the flaws prevalent in a lot of these league tables. As I am an international applicant I really am not aware of which uni is better for Maths disregarding league tables though :/ (except ofc ik oxbridge are top)

Hopefully a maths student can provide their views!
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_gcx
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(Original post by mnot)
The QS rankings aren’t really a good indicator of education. The methodology behind them is fairly arbitrary and a lot of the underlying data is collected from surveys. The reality is when trying to look at unis you have to be pragmatic. League tables serve a purpose but all of them are flawed in some capacity.

St Andrews does not have the same reputation for mathematics as say Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial but it has an excellent reputation overall and probably slides in behind these along with several others such as Southampton, Nottingham, Manchester, bath etc.
(I’m not a mathematician just my impression).

_gcx (am I right in thinking you study maths)
I do but I admittedly do not know much about Scottish universities. St. Andrews isn't generally rated among cowi I'd think. Possibly similar to Durham in rep? I saw a few Cam firms insure St. Andrews but mainly it seemed to be Warwick/Imperial and a few Durham.

What I will say (less subjective) is that I have friends that do Maths at St Andrews and they commented that the options offered are primarily applied, if you're more interested in the pure side you may be better served elsewhere. That said, pure maths at uni is very different from "pure" at A-level with the latter actually being more comparable to the maths seen as part of physics/engineering, so I'm not sure if someone can really predict whether they'd prefer pure or applied unless you've done some university level maths. Something to bear in mind anyway.
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cflau_
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(Original post by _gcx)
I do but I admittedly do not know much about Scottish universities. St. Andrews isn't generally rated among cowi. Possibly similar to Durham in rep? I saw a few Cam firms insure St. Andrews but mainly it seemed to be Warwick/Imperial and a few Durham.

What I will say is that I have friends that do Maths at St Andrews and they commented that the options offered are primarily applied, if you're more interested in the pure side you may be better served elsewhere. Looking at their offerings myself I can see that too. That said, pure maths at uni is very different from "pure" at A-level with the latter actually being more comparable to the maths seen as part of physics/engineering, so I'm not sure if someone can really predict whether they'd prefer pure or applied. Something to bear in mind anyway.
Oh ok. To be frank I imagine myself more pure than applied, but I can see how I wouldn't be very sure (at all) now. Similar to Durham... ok, I kind of have the rep in mind then Thanks!
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_gcx
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(Original post by cflau_)
Oh ok. To be frank I imagine myself more pure than applied, but I can see how I wouldn't be very sure (at all) now. Similar to Durham... ok, I kind of have the rep in mind then Thanks!
Some "standard" advanced pure modules (eg. algebraic/differential geometry, algebraic topology in third/fourth year etc.) are missing for pure so it's definitely something to bear in mind.

If you are particularly keen you could look into some basic real analysis or set theory-type stuff. But there's no rush. Would recommend getting some exposure before going to uni because the transition can be rough for some.
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lucypaulman
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(Original post by cflau_)
Oh ok. To be frank I imagine myself more pure than applied, but I can see how I wouldn't be very sure (at all) now. Similar to Durham... ok, I kind of have the rep in mind then Thanks!
Hi, I'm a second-year studying maths at Warwick. St Andrews was one of my options, and I did visit on an open day, so hopefully I'll be able to give a little bit of help.

There were a couple things that put me off St Andrews. First was the international league table ranking, where it's generally placed pretty poorly outside the top 200 for maths. Lots of people will say to largely ignore this because it's not a great indication of education quality or student experience, and they use a lot of factors that may not be relevant to you. Whilst this is true I do think it should be taken into account. I've read that when applying for masters / phd studies one of the things they look at is university ranking. I would guess the same is true when appling for your first job, especially if you want to work outside the UK like me.

I also wasn't too keen on the atmosphere. It felt a bit posh and stuck-up to me, with quite a lot of private schooled students. The town is quite small so it might feel a bit isolating if you don't like it there.

With regard to pure vs applied, pretty much everyone imagines themselves as more pure than applied ... but after a year or two of actual pure university maths I think lots of people tend to end up liking applied more. This was the case for me Maybe you end up liking pure more but yeah you can't be sure at this stage.

My best advice would be to go and visit the uni if possible. I know it might not be with things how they are but I do think the feel of the place matters. Also, whilst it's obviously an important decision and you want to make the right one, I think you should follow your heart. If somewhere doesn't feel right to you, I wouldn't recommend going there. That's my advice, do take it with a grain a salt as I spent ages deciding where I wanted to go and I'm still not sure if I made the right choice with Warwick (the course is very good, and the societies are great ... but it's a LOT of work).
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cflau_
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(Original post by lucypaulman)
Hi, I'm a second-year studying maths at Warwick. St Andrews was one of my options, and I did visit on an open day, so hopefully I'll be able to give a little bit of help.

There were a couple things that put me off St Andrews. First was the international league table ranking, where it's generally placed pretty poorly outside the top 200 for maths. Lots of people will say to largely ignore this because it's not a great indication of education quality or student experience, and they use a lot of factors that may not be relevant to you. Whilst this is true I do think it should be taken into account. I've read that when applying for masters / phd studies one of the things they look at is university ranking. I would guess the same is true when appling for your first job, especially if you want to work outside the UK like me.

I also wasn't too keen on the atmosphere. It felt a bit posh and stuck-up to me, with quite a lot of private schooled students. The town is quite small so it might feel a bit isolating if you don't like it there.

With regard to pure vs applied, pretty much everyone imagines themselves as more pure than applied ... but after a year or two of actual pure university maths I think lots of people tend to end up liking applied more. This was the case for me Maybe you end up liking pure more but yeah you can't be sure at this stage.

My best advice would be to go and visit the uni if possible. I know it might not be with things how they are but I do think the feel of the place matters. Also, whilst it's obviously an important decision and you want to make the right one, I think you should follow your heart. If somewhere doesn't feel right to you, I wouldn't recommend going there. That's my advice, do take it with a grain a salt as I spent ages deciding where I wanted to go and I'm still not sure if I made the right choice with Warwick (the course is very good, and the societies are great ... but it's a LOT of work).
Interesting.. I haven't thought of the effect for postgraduate studies, I'll look into this more, cuz I do plan to do postgrad.

Personally I am fine with a small town (I think), I think that would be fine

As an international student, I won't be visiting St. Andrews most likely lmao, but it is better to read more to get myself familiar with the university so as to make an informed decision that I won't regret.

Thanks! Would take your post in mind!
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zetamcfc
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(Original post by lucypaulman)
I've read that when applying for masters / phd studies one of the things they look at is university ranking.

With regard to pure vs applied, pretty much everyone imagines themselves as more pure than applied ... but after a year or two of actual pure university maths I think lots of people tend to end up liking applied more. This was the case for me

My best advice would be to go and visit the uni if possible. I know it might not be with things how they are but I do think the feel of the place matters. Also, whilst it's obviously an important decision and you want to make the right one, I think you should follow your heart. If somewhere doesn't feel right to you, I wouldn't recommend going there. That's my advice, do take it with a grain a salt as I spent ages deciding where I wanted to go and I'm still not sure if I made the right choice with Warwick (the course is very good, and the societies are great ... but it's a LOT of work).
1) Literally doesn't matter when applying for masters from my experience (Got offers from everywhere when applying with a degree from Aberdeen, my friends similarly). PhD, you just need to have the right basis of knowledge for the topic you apply for (i.e have studied things that are essentially pre-requisites for the topic you've chosen) and perform well at interview.

2) Sad to hear that.

3) Great advice. Being in a place you despise for 3/4 years whilst studying maths will not be a great experience at all.
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cflau_
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(Original post by zetamcfc)
1) Literally doesn't matter when applying for masters from my experience (Got offers from everywhere when applying with a degree from Aberdeen, my friends similarly). PhD, you just need to have the right basis of knowledge for the topic you apply for (i.e have studied things that are essentially pre-requisites for the topic you've chosen) and perform well at interview.

2) Sad to hear that.

3) Great advice. Being in a place you despise for 3/4 years whilst studying maths will not be a great experience at all.
Yeah, I will look into St. Andrews more and see if I like the environment or not. Can't study there if I hate the place!
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