- Course: BSc Mathematics
- Location of year abroad: Sweden
Tell us a bit about your course
Studying maths at the University of Leeds comes mainly in three parts: Lectures cover new content, tutorials explore topics in greater depth to consolidate understanding, and problem sets offer practice questions on what is being taught at the time. The problem sets are really useful as they train us to know every inch of the module inside out, and also contribute towards our final grade, taking a bit of weight off the exam. Of course, there is loads of other support available, lecturers and tutors welcome emails with any questions or concerns about their modules, and also have certain hours every week set aside for students to drop in to discuss things in person. Degree level maths isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either and Leeds provide a really good ‘get out what you put in’ scenario. If you put the work in, its definitely manageable and you learn a lot, and if you do fall a bit behind then the support is always there to get you back up to speed.
What do you enjoy most about it?
My favourite thing about the course is the freedom to study what I want. Maths is an incredibly broad subject and it is rare that someone will enjoy all aspects of it, and Leeds appreciates that. The range of optional modules lets you study the maths you find most interesting; you can focus on certain branches of maths if you like or take modules in a variety of areas. I know people who have focused on statistics and finance who are now on track to get accreditation from the Royal Statistical Society and the Royal Institute of Actuaries, which is exciting. I have chosen a pretty broad range of modules myself, studying some abstract pure maths, like logic and geometry, alongside maths that is more applied, like finance and fluid dynamics. Because of all this, the maths degree at Leeds is actually quite unique to each individual student, you sculpt your learning to suit your interests and this really lets you make the degree your own.
Was there anything in particular that made you study Mathematics at Leeds rather than another university?
What I liked about Leeds was its focus on the students. I had been to some other open days where the uni only seemed interested in talking about its notable alumni and academic achievements, but Leeds looked more at what it’s like to study here, and what it can offer you as a university and a city. I got the message that the university were really engaged with ensuring that we enjoy our time studying with them, they put a high priority on student experience which, for me, made them stand out from other institutions.
What do you think about the choice of optional modules available to study?
The range of optional modules really is huge. I’m generally quite indecisive and always have a hard time finalising my module choices for the upcoming semester. Not only is there a lot of freedom within the maths course, there is also the option to take discovery modules, which are modules outside of the School of Maths. These are a really good way to look at other subjects that you find interesting, whilst also making your transcript look a little different from a standard maths degree. I have taken a few modules in philosophy and I know others who have looked at subjects like psychology and music, and an hour or so each week of something completely different has proven to be a really nice change of tune. Leeds also offer courses in a wide range of languages, ranging in ability from beginners to near native fluency. These are a great way to look at other cultures as well as being able to add something really impressive to you CV.
What’s your favourite module and why?
My favourite module so far has been Mathematical Logic (MATH2040) which looks at the requirements for, and implications of, truth and falsity. It’s one of my pure maths optional modules that I’ve taken this year and is a type of maths I’ve never seen before. I find the way it breaks down the nature of argument and applies a mathematical approach really interesting and also quite philosophical. I like it because it’s not like any of my other modules whilst still being very mathematical, its different and similar at the same time.
Have you had the opportunity to study abroad?
The study abroad scheme at Leeds is absolutely huge. They have partnerships with universities all over the world and whichever country you may want to study in, the high likelihood is that Leeds will have an exchange programs set up with at least a couple universities there. I am going to study at Lund University in Sweden next year, I’ll be sad to leave everyone in Leeds (and also leave Leeds itself) for a year but the idea of living somewhere totally different, experiencing a new culture and learning a new language, is incredible. I will still be studying maths when I’m abroad, but the university also offer what they call Horizon years abroad, where you don’t study your degree subject, but instead focus on learning a country’s culture and language, which is another great opportunity.
What do you most enjoy about student life at Leeds, in general?
In my totally unbiased opinion, nowhere can offer a student life like Leeds. The university is huge, and with an incredibly diverse student body and an unparalleled union, there is a great sense of community on campus. The location is also brilliant, I hadn’t been to Yorkshire before university and now I’m not sure I’ll ever want to leave. Leeds itself is a really great place to be a student. Along with the other nearby universities, our demographic makes up around a third of the population, which means all kinds of things are marketed towards us. There are loads of places to eat and drink, and so many clubs that there is at least one student night somewhere in the city, every night of the week. It is also one of cheapest cities for a pint, and one of the best for affordable housing, which is always useful when you’re on a student budget.