rsen1324
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Hey everyone,

I'm considering doing a joint honours in maths + CS as I like maths a lot but I want to get into more programming/AI so thought a joint in the two is a good idea. Some people I have spoken to say a joint in these subjects isn't a good idea because you do half of each, instead of a full degree in maths or CS. So I was wondering...

1) Would a single degree in either maths or cs be seen as better than a joint honours in both?

2) Any experience doing a joint honours in these subjects, and what was it like? Was it ridiculously hard compared to doing a single honours?

3) Would I be able to do a masters in either subject after? (assuming I studied each 50/50)

4) Does a joint honours in these two subjects open doors in both fields, or prevent you from getting the better jobs available in these fields because you haven't specialised?? E.g going into banking or software development
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artful_lounger
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You can go into banking with any first degree, be it in maths, CS, Assyriology, or gender studies. Investment banks only care if you studied at a target uni and what relevant internships etc you have, not what subject(s) you studied. Outside of investment banking, in general employers aren't that fussed about what subjects you studied. Within the computing sector it would probably be expected you studied CS as part of your degree, although a joint honours I imagine would be fine; people go even from e.g. some engineering fields into software development. Also some (such as Google) don't formally require you to have a particular academic background in the field (but will test you on CS topics in a technical interview I understand, so practically most successful applicants probably have that equivalent background through some route).

You should be aware that the maths taught in a maths degree is very different from the kind of maths you will be used to doing at A-level (which isn't really comparable and those kinds of mathematical methods comprise a fairly small part of the degree; even the applied maths modules aren't necessarily so "methods" oriented). Note also that a CS degree is not a degree in programming/coding, and AI is a relatively small, optional area of undergraduate degrees in CS otherwise. You will learn a lot more besides those topics in a CS degree (joint honours or not), so if you have no interest in learning about e.g. databases, algorithm analysis, computer architecture, theoretical computer science/computational complexity, and be willing to take other optional modules outside of AI as well in e.g. graphics (not making them, the actual programming and modelling of them - lot of vectors and linear algebra I gather), computer networking, concurrency etc, then you may not find a CS degree all that appropriate.

In any case I'm pretty sure there are a fair number of people working in the computing sector who did maths and CS joint honours courses. What relevant work experience you have and what (self-initiated) coding projects you've worked on and documented on e.g. github or similar will probably be more important than whether you did CS or a joint honours CS and maths course. Depending on which particular joint honours course you do, you could probably do a masters in either. I imagine after e.g. the JMC course at Imperial or the maths & CS course at Oxford you would have enough background in both areas to go into a masters in either field. Some other courses might have a narrower scope though; the mathematical computation course at UCL, for example, might not provide sufficient background for all maths masters courses.
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Mrepic Foulger
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Oxford m and CS student here

1) no

2) it is not too much harder, especially if you are good at both. Ask if you have more qs about what it's like.

3)yes

4)no, it opens opportunities
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rsen1324
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You can go into banking with any first degree, be it in maths, CS, Assyriology, or gender studies. Investment banks only care if you studied at a target uni and what relevant internships etc you have, not what subject(s) you studied. Outside of investment banking, in general employers aren't that fussed about what subjects you studied. Within the computing sector it would probably be expected you studied CS as part of your degree, although a joint honours I imagine would be fine; people go even from e.g. some engineering fields into software development. Also some (such as Google) don't formally require you to have a particular academic background in the field (but will test you on CS topics in a technical interview I understand, so practically most successful applicants probably have that equivalent background through some route).

You should be aware that the maths taught in a maths degree is very different from the kind of maths you will be used to doing at A-level (which isn't really comparable and those kinds of mathematical methods comprise a fairly small part of the degree; even the applied maths modules aren't necessarily so "methods" oriented). Note also that a CS degree is not a degree in programming/coding, and AI is a relatively small, optional area of undergraduate degrees in CS otherwise. You will learn a lot more besides those topics in a CS degree (joint honours or not), so if you have no interest in learning about e.g. databases, algorithm analysis, computer architecture, theoretical computer science/computational complexity, and be willing to take other optional modules outside of AI as well in e.g. graphics (not making them, the actual programming and modelling of them - lot of vectors and linear algebra I gather), computer networking, concurrency etc, then you may not find a CS degree all that appropriate.

In any case I'm pretty sure there are a fair number of people working in the computing sector who did maths and CS joint honours courses. What relevant work experience you have and what (self-initiated) coding projects you've worked on and documented on e.g. github or similar will probably be more important than whether you did CS or a joint honours CS and maths course. Depending on which particular joint honours course you do, you could probably do a masters in either. I imagine after e.g. the JMC course at Imperial or the maths & CS course at Oxford you would have enough background in both areas to go into a masters in either field. Some other courses might have a narrower scope though; the mathematical computation course at UCL, for example, might not provide sufficient background for all maths masters courses.
Thank you very much for your detailed response, it was useful! I do enjoy other areas of CS, but i would like to learn more maths, so I will go for the joint degree.
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