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MASt in Pure Mathematics

Course Description

This course, commonly referred to as Part III, is a one-year taught Master's course in mathematics. It is an excellent preparation for mathematical research and it is also a valuable course in mathematics and in its applications for those who want further training before taking posts in industry, teaching, or research establishments.

Students admitted from outside Cambridge to Part III study towards the Master of Advanced Study (MASt). Students continuing from the Cambridge Tripos for a fourth year, study towards the Master of Mathematics (MMath). The requirements and course structure for Part III are the same for all students irrespective of whether they are studying for the MASt or MMath degree.

There are over 200 Part III (MASt and MMath) students each year; almost all are in their fourth or fifth year of university studies. There are normally about 80 courses, covering an extensive range of pure mathematics, probability, statistics and the mathematics of operational research, applied mathematics and theoretical physics. They are designed to cover those advanced parts of the subjects that are not normally covered in a first degree course, but which are an indispensable preliminary to independent study and research. Students have a wide choice of the combination of courses that they offer, though naturally they tend to select groups of cognate courses. Normally classes are provided as back-up to lecture courses.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/mapmaspmm

Course detail

The structure of Part III is such that students prepare between six and nine lecture courses for examination. These lecture courses may be selected from the wide range offered by both Mathematics Departments. As an alternative to one lecture course, an essay may be submitted. Examinations usually begin in late May, and are scheduled in morning and afternoon sessions, over a period of about two weeks. Two or three hours are allocated per paper, depending on the subject. Details of the courses for the current academic year are available on the Faculty of Mathematics website. Details for subsequent years are expected to be broadly similar, although not identical.

Most courses in the Part III are self-contained. Students may freely mix courses offered by the two Mathematics Departments. Courses are worth either two or three credit units depending on whether they last for 16 or 24 lectures respectively. Candidates for Part III may offer a maximum of 19 credit units for examination. In the past it has been recommended that candidates offer between 17 and 19 units. An essay (should a candidate choose to submit one) counts for 3 credit units. Part III is graded Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail. A Merit or above is the equivalent of a First Class in other Parts of the Mathematical Tripos.

Learning Outcomes

After completing Part III, students will be expected to have:

- Studied advanced material in the mathematical sciences to a level not normally covered in a first degree;
- Further developed the capacity for independent study of mathematics and problem solving at a higher level;
- Undertaken (in most cases) an extended essay normally chosen from a list covering a wide range of topics.

Students are also expected to have acquired general transferable skills relevant to mathematics as outlined in the Faculty Transferable Skills Statement http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/course/transferable_skills.pdf .


Courses are delivered predominantly by either 16 or 24 hours of formal lectures, supported by additional examples classes. As an alternative to one lecture course, an essay may be submitted. There is also the possibility of taking a reading course for examination. There are normally additional non-examinable courses taught each year.

Essay supervision and support for lectures by means of examples classes is approximately 30 hours per year.

Formal examinable lectures and non-examinable lectures total approximately 184 hours per year, of which on average 112 hours are for examinable courses.

Some statistics courses may involve practical data analysis sessions.

There is an opportunity to participate in the Part III seminar series, either by giving a talk or through attendance. This is encouraged but does not contribute to the formal assessment.

Twice a year students have an individual meeting with a member of academic staff to discuss their progress in Part III. Students offering an essay as part of their degree may meet their essay supervisor up to three times during the academic year.


Candidates may substitute an essay for one lecture course. The essay counts for 3 credit units.

Lecture courses are assessed by formal examination. Courses are worth either two or three credit units depending on whether they are 16 or 24 hours in length respectively. A 16 hour course is assessed by a 2 hour examination and a 24 hour course, a 3 hour examination. Candidates for Part III may offer a maximum of 19 credit units for examination. In the past it has been recommended that candidates offer between 17 and 19 units.


MASt students wishing to apply for the PhD must apply via the Graduate Admissions Office for readmission by the relevant deadline. Applicants will be considered on a case by case basis and offer of a place will usually include an academic condition on their Part III result.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MASt in Pure Mathematics page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The minimum requirement is a First class Honours degree or equivalent in mathematics, physics, statistics or another subject with significant advanced mathematical content. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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