Dissertation in Mathematics

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jan van den Heuvel


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Applicable Mathematics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The Dissertation in Mathematics is an individual, substantial project as an introduction to mathematical research methods. The student will investigate and study an area of mathematical research or application of advanced mathematical techniques, and to write a report on their findings. The project may include some programming. The dissertation topic will normally be proposed by the Department.


10 hours of seminars and 3 hours of seminars in the MT. 9 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

The seminars include a mixture of lecture time, presentations and discussion.  The ratio of lecture time and seminar time varies each week. Seminars do not include personal supervision time, which is scheduled independently with student supervisors.

Several seminars will include presentations by members of the Department of Mathematics on proposed topics for dissertations that they would be interested in supervising. Additional seminars will cover important aspects of writing a dissertation in mathematics, including: what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, the use of libraries for research, electronic research, general aspects of writing mathematics, and preparing a manuscript using mathematical text processing software (in particular, LaTeX). Each student will be assigned a supervisor who will monitor their progress and provide appropriate guidance thorough the LT, ST, and over the summer.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce an initial report (in LT) for which feedback will be provided.

Indicative reading

Detailed suggestions for reading will be provided by the supervisor.


Dissertation (90%) in the LT and ST.
Oral examination (10%) in the ST.

Assessment is primarily based entirely on the Dissertation, three hard copies and one electronic copy of which must be submitted by 1st September 2018. (The report may include some software relating to the project.) Detailed information about the required format for this submission will be provided during the Seminars.

At the end of summer term, each student will give a presentation to an audience including their supervisor on the topic of their dissertations. This will be graded and worth 10% of the course grade. Students will be given support in the seminars on how to prepare, how to present and what is expected.

Key facts

Department: Mathematics

Total students 2016/17: 31

Average class size 2016/17: 31

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills