BSc Mathematics with Physical Geography

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

In choosing to study a degree in Mathematics and Physical Geography at Aberystwyth University, you will be taught in two of the university’s departments. The Mathematics with Physical Geography degree course offers an interactive, varied and exciting course structure that combines theory, field studies and laboratory-based studies. You will be taught by world class staff who will help develop your understanding of the essential core disciplines of Mathematics, as well as the physical processes shaping the earth, from sea to rivers, glaciers to volcanoes, including landscapes from the arid to the Arctic. You will be given the option to travel on an international field trip in your second year of study. Aberystwyth is an area rich in natural beauty, and as a student here, you can't go far without catching glimpses of the sea, beautiful beaches, mountains or rivers.

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Mathematics is a subject that has fascinated humanity for thousands of years from the ancient world to the present day. A degree in Mathematics and Physical Geography will allow you to develop the skills to apply this knowledge to understanding the processes which structure the natural world.

Our Mathematics courses are accredited by the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the UK’s learned and professional society for mathematics. The IMA exists to support the advancement of mathematical knowledge and its applications, and to promote and enhance mathematical culture in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, for the public good.

The Department is the highest rated for Mathematics in Wales, and in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment all of the research submitted by the Department in Mathematics was rated as being internationally recognised, with one in eight outputs being rated world-leading or internationally excellent. You can therefore be assured that you will be taught by leading and highly qualified academics in their respective fields.

Mathematics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making it the oldest Mathematics department in Wales. Despite our heritage we have continued to innovate ensuring that the degree schemes we offer will provide you with the best Mathematics degree you can possibly obtain.

100% of our 2014 Maths graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating. 71% were in professional work or graduate level education, above the UK average for the subject (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction amongst Mathematics and Statistics students, with 84% reporting satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received, and 92% satisfaction with learning resources (5 points above the UK average for the subject).

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth is one of the oldest and most well-respected departments of its kind in Britain. As one of the largest and most dynamic Geography communities in the UK, we are able to offer you an extremely broad range of geographical specialisms, ranging from concerns over climate change, the environmental impact of volcanic eruptions, and current trends in geohazards to urban sustainability, regional development and the future of the nation state, amongst others.

Many of our lecturers are active researchers working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest geographical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment 78% of research submitted by the Department was rated as being world-leading or internationally excellent.

The teaching and research laboratories are equipped with an impressive array of analytical equipment such as mass spectrometers and core scanners, and an extensive range of equipment is available for fieldwork, such as surveying, remote sensing, and water and sediment sampling. Other resources include a digital map library, and our computer provision is second to none, with superb web-based support available.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction results show high levels of satisfaction in both Human and Social Geography and Physical Geography and Environmental Science courses, with 91% of students satisfied with the quality of the teaching. Overall satisfaction was above UK national averages for the subject.

96% of our Geography and Earth Science graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, 11 percentage points higher than the previous year and 3 percentage points higher than the UK subject average (DLHE 2014).

Our Staff

Most lecturers in the Department of Mathematics are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Many have a postgraduate teaching qualification.

Department of Geography and Earth Science: lecturers are all qualified to PhD level or working towards a PhD.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (80 Credits) Mathematics (Major): The following modules are core

Semester 1

Coordinate And Vector Geometry MA10110

Probability MA10310

Algebra MA10510

Calculus MA10610

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010

Mathematical Analysis MA11110

Differential Equations MA11210

Statistics MA11310

Year 1 Options Core (10 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA11900/10 instead of GG11900/10.

Semester 1

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11900

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11900

Semester 2

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11910

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11910

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Geometreg Gyfesurynnol A Fectoraidd MT10110

Tebygoleg MT10310

Algebra MT10510

Calcwlws MT10610

Semester 2

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Dadansoddi Mathemategol MT11110

Hafaliadau Differol MT11210

Ystadegaeth MT11310

Year 1 Options (30 credits) Students must choose 30 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES or in the university. DA10110 and GG14410, DA10210 and GG10210, DA10610 and GG10610 cannot be taken together.

Semester 1

Cefn Gwlad A'r Ddinas DA10210

Amgylcheddau Wyneb Y Ddaear DA10610

Planet Earth EA11510

The Atmosphere And The Water Cycle EA12210

The City And Country: Processes Of Conflict And Change GG10210

Earth Surface Environments GG10610

Place, Culture And Society GG14410

Semester 2

Pobl A Lle DA10110

Amgylchedd Cymru DA10810

Methodoleg Maes Amgylcheddol DA10910

Byw Gyda Risg DA12810

Global Ecology And Soil Systems GG10410

Climate Change: Impacts, Perceptions, Adaptations GG10810

Global Environmental Issues GG12710

Power, Place And Development GG14210

Year 2 Options Core (10 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA22100/10 instead of GG122100/10.

Semester 1

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22100

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22100

Semester 2

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22110

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22110

Year 2 Options (30 credits) Students must choose 30 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES or in the university. (please note that you cannot take GG22610 and DA22510 together)

Semester 1

Geomorffoleg Afonol DA22510

Reconstructing Past Environments GG20310

Catchment Systems GG22610

Sedimentary Environments GG23410

Glacial Processes And Landforms GG23910

Semester 2

Hanes Amgylcheddol DA22710

Environmental Management EA20110

Geohazards EA22810

Year 2 Core (30 Credits) Mathematics (Major). The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Real Analysis MA20110

Semester 2

Linear Algebra MA21410

Complex Analysis MA21510

Year 2 Options Mathematics (Major). 50 further credits must be taken from level 2 Mathematics and Mathematical Physics modules.

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Dadansoddiad Real MT20110

Semester 2

Algebra Llinol MT21410

Year 3 Options (40 credits) Students must choose 40 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES or in the university.

Semester 1

Adnoddau Dwr A Hydroleg Bydol DA31620

Oceanography And Marine Geology EA30520

River Systems And Global Environmental Change GG30420

Earth Observation From Satellites And Aircraft GG32020

Geographical Information Systems GG32820

Palaeoenvironmental Change Beyond The Ice Sheets GG33120

Palaeoglaciology GG33920

Landscapes Of British Modernity GG36220

Semester 2

Volcanic Activity: Hazards And Environmental Change EA30420

Engineering Geology EA32620

Process Glaciology GG30320

People, Climate And Environment: A Palaeoenvironmental Perspective GG33720

Geographies Of The Global Countryside GG36820

Final Year Options Mathematics (Major). A minimum of 70 credits must be taken from Level 3 Maths modules and another 10 credits from Maths Level 2/3 modules.


Your BSc in Mathematics and Physical Geography will prepare you for a broad range of employment and further training options. You will be a strong candidate for opportunities in cartography, surveying, geographical information systems, teaching and research. Your degree would also be useful for careers involving logistics and distribution, transport planning and land management. These include working for organisations such as the Meteorological Office.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Mathematics with Physical Geography will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills

• enhanced mathematical and computational skills

• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills

• the facility to deal with abstract concepts

• a thorough grounding in information technology skills

• the ability to work independently

• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form

• self-motivation and self-reliance

• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year, you will follow a clearly defined pathway through the study of core disciplines in mathematics, including algebra and calculus, coordinate and vector geometry, probability, mathematical analysis, differential equations, and statistics. You will choose from a range of options in Physical Geography, such as the Water Cycle, Global Ecology, and Climate Change, according to your interests.

In the second year you will study real analysis, complex analysis, and linear algebra. Optional modules in mathematics include numerical analysis, hydrodynamics, statistical methods,  mathematical physics, and regression and anova. In Physical Geography you will choose from a range of options including Glacial Processes and the Ice Age record, as well as undertaking fieldwork. In your final year you will be able to specialise further by choosing from a wide range of elective modules in both departments to suit your own interests.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, supplemented by smaller seminars and tutorials, to practicals, field trips, and individual and group-based project work.

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, presentations, essays, reports and examinations

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Personal Development Plan

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Key Information Set