You are here: Home Prospective Students Undergraduate Available Subjects Mathematics and Joint Schools

Mathematics and Joint Schools

Mathematics & Computer Science (also see Computer Science)
Mathematics & Statistics

When entrance candidates are asked why they want to read mathematics, two of the commonest replies are 'Because it's fun' and 'Because it's useful'.  Both views are correct; taken together, probably more so than for any other subject.  It could be said that you have three or four undergraduate years in which to make the most of the first of these, before earning a living by the second.  However, do not underestimate the emphasis on applicable mathematics which is an important aspect of the undergraduate curriculum. Many graduates continue to enjoy their mathematics, while others (the majority) use their analytical training in ways that are not directly mathematical. Career opportunities for mathematics graduates are excellent.

Advantages of Keble

  • A dedicated team of tutors and lecturers covering the subject
  • Also a good set-up for Statistics, with a member of the Department of Statistics as Tutorial Fellow and a further member as College Lecturer.
  • Keble is very close to the Mathematical Institute, Department of Statistics, and Department of Computer Science
  • The Deirdre Tucker Memorial Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science (£500) is awarded annually for the best presentation on a mathematical topic by second-year undergraduates.

Typical pattern of teaching

Lectures at the Mathematical Institute are given to all first-year mathematicians (about 250) by lecturers from all colleges - about 10 lectures per week; Classes are given in Keble to groups of up to 8; Tutorials are given usually in pairs and triplets, about 2 per week.

We have three main tutors in mathematics and statistics. Between them, these cover most of the subjects in the undergraduate curriculum, with the exception of some specialised options which are taught by means of inter-collegiate classes during the third and fourth years.  College teaching is by means of a combination of tutorials and classes, averaging at least two hours per week during the first two years, and rather less during the third year.  They are planned so as to complement the lecture courses provided by the University which are detailed in the Oxford University Undergraduate Prospectus.  Second-year undergraduates also write an extended essay during the long vacation on a mathematical topic, and give a presentation on this to the rest of the mathematicians in College.

Qualities sought for entry

Perhaps the most frequent reply of all to the question mentioned in the first paragraph is 'Because I've always found it easy'.  This may be true, but may make the interviewer think that you expect to find Oxford mathematics easy too.  Very few people find this to be so, though it helps to be well prepared.  In most cases this means taking 'double' mathematics at A level (although many applicants sit other examinations, including international qualifications).  For some schools this is difficult to arrange, so candidates offering a single mathematics A level are also considered.  It does not matter whether your mathematics course is traditional or 'modern' and whether or not it is modular.  For those sitting A levels, a third subject is required, but the choice of that subject is an individual matter.  Economics and physics are both important areas of application of mathematics, and either would be a sensible choice if your interest lies in these areas.  Interviews focus mainly on mathematics, and to some extent are of a technical nature.

The required conditions are likely to be two A* grades, and one grade A, with an A* in Mathematics and an A* in Further Mathematics if this is also taken, unless there are unusual educational circumstances.  Other equivalent non A-level qualifications are welcome.

Written test at interview and Written Work: Candidates will be set a 2½ hour written test prior to the interview period to be taken in the candidate’s school or college, or at a test centre, early in November.  The MAT consists of five mathematical questions, all based upon the SCAA Common Core Syllabus for A-level Mathematics.  Information on the test, including past papers, may be obtained on-line at the Department website.

For further information, see the selection criteria at the subject website and the Mathematics and Joint Schools pages of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.


Approx yearly intake: Mathematics Keble: 6
Faculty: 180
Approx yearly intake: Maths & Statistics Keble: 1.5
Faculty: 23
Approx yearly intake: Maths & CompSci Keble: 2
Faculty: 23
Department Website Mathematical Institute


Via the College Office.


Prof András Juhász PhD (Tutorial Fellow, Royal Sociery Research Fellow) Prof Juhász is a pure mathematician working in geometric topology

Prof Francois Caron PhD (Tutorial Fellow in Statistics) teaches and researches on Statistical Machine Learning, Bayesian Methods, Bayesian nonparametrics, Monte Carlo methods, and Statistical Network modeling

Prof Helen Byrne PhD (Tutorial Fellow in Applied Mathematics) researches on the development and analysis of mathematical and computational models that describe biomedical systems

Dr Apala Majumdar PhD (Senior College Lecturer) works in the area of physical applied mathematics

Dr Neil Laws DPhil (Senior College Lecturer)  interests lie in probability and operations research