**Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions**

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

**Q: What is the BSc Mathematics? What is involved? Is it difficult?**

A: Although you will take modules in other subjects (including elective modules), in each of your four years you will choose from the structured menu of core and option mathematics modules. The modules cover the computational, theoretical and problem solving aspects of mathematics. The topics covered develop in depth and sophistication from year to year as the student grows in experience, knowledge and understanding. It is challenging degree, and so highly valued by employers, but well within the reach of any student who has the interest and the basic mathematical aptitude (e.g. a good Honours Leaving Certificate).

**Q: How does the BSc Mathematics degree compare with what you study at secondary school?**

A: The mathematics degree builds on the skills and knowledge developed (at Honours level) in your secondary education. At university-level, however, there is a much greater emphasis on understanding, reasoning, problem-solving and thinking for yourself. The goal is to 'really get to the bottom of things'. This is underpinned by small-group tutorials and problem-solving classes. Over the course of a mathematics degree at university, you will discover many new topics and tools of mathematics which are not even hinted at in your secondary education.

**Q: Do I need to get an A in Maths in the Leaving Certificate to succeed in the BSc Mathematics degree?**

A: No, H1 in Leaving Certificate Mathematics (or, in the old grading system, and A1 in higher level mathematics) is not a requirement to do a mathematics degree at university. You should have at least a H3 in Leaving Certificate mathematics.

**Q: What is a BA Mathematics?**

A: The BA in Mathematics is a three year honours degree in Mathematics, taken in conjunction with another Arts subject, for example, with English, History, Music etc. While all core areas of mathematics are covered, including, Calculus, Analysis, Algebra and Geometry, this is a well rounded degree also introducing the student to the fundamentals of Probability, Statistics, Financial Mathematics and History of Mathematics, among other topics. Students can further flesh out their program by using their elective modules (2 modules each year) to pursue topics of special mathematical interest. Common to all of the above-mentioned topic areas, is an emphasis throughout on understanding and the development of logical independent thinking and problem solving, skills which translate no matter what eventual career a student may wish to follow.

**Q: What is a BSc Applied and Computational Maths?**

A: Applied Mathematics is the study of real-world problems using mathematical methods. The problems are typically very diverse, and include topics in engineering, biology, physics, and finance. An applied mathematician might model the flow of fluids in engineering processes, predict the spread of diseases using mathematical epidemiology, study the analytic properties of the Schrodinger Equation in Quantum Mechanics, or price options using Black-Scholes theory.

Because many of the equations that are used in these models are extremely complicated, the simulation of these models on computers is essential. Thus, Applied Mathematics couples naturally with computation, and an applied mathematician will typically be proficient in high-performance computing, as well as the use of standard software packages and computer programming languages.

A BSc in Applied Mathematics introduces students to all of the ideas and skills listed above. It includes an extensive set of courses (modules) in core mathematics (analysis, algebra, geometry, calculus), as well as modules on applications. Students are also introduced to scientific computing through modules on numerical analysis and Matlab programming. Students also have the possibility to do a joint major with another Science subject, thereby gaining further abilities to apply mathematical techniques to a complementary scientific discipline.

**Q: What is a BSc Statistics/BA Statistics?**

A: Statistics is often called the science of uncertainty. We live in a world where data is being produced at ever increasing rates; however the skills needed to analyse and extract information from data are scarce. A BSc in statistics will give you precisely this skill set and will leave you in high demand in today’s job market. This degree programme will equip you with the necessary technical skills in statistics and mathematics. But you will also become highly skilled in statistical computer programming and in practical aspects of analysing and presenting data.

**Q: What is the Actuarial and Financial Studies programme? (BAFS)**

A: The Actuarial and Financial Studies degree is a broad ranging degree in actuarial science but it also involves significant components in statistics, finance, economics and accounting. The Actuarial and Financial Studies degree is an accredited degree with the Actuarial Profession. Through this agreement, the degree can lead to exemptions from nine of the actuarial professional exams (CT1-CT8 and CA1). Thus the degree provides students who are interested in becoming actuaries with a strong basis for completing the professional actuarial qualification.

**Q: I want to study the BAFS programme but I am worried that I might not get the points, what should I do? Is there a similar course that I can apply for?**

A: The BSc Financial Mathematics in UCD provides a good background for students who may subsequently wish to become actuaries. The UCD School of Mathematical Sciences offer postgraduate courses in Actuarial Science which suitably qualified graduates from quantitative degrees can apply to. These offer alternative routes into the actuarial profession.

**Q: Can students come in through DN200 MPG; major in a mathematical discipline go on and do an MSc in Actuarial Science?**

A: Yes, this is correct. The Mathematical Sciences students can pick a number of modules that overlap with those taken by BAFS. These would give the student a strong background for commencing the MSc in Actuarial Science.

**Q: Is there any particular subject the School would recommend majoring in e.g. Statistics or Mathematics or Mathematical Science or Applied & Computational Mathematics?**

A: In order to cover the maximum number of modules that overlap with BAFS they would ideally major in Statistics or Mathematical Science. However, a Mathematics or Applied & Computational Mathematics major would give a strong grounding too.

**Q: Can students coming in via DN200 sit some of the Core Technical Series (CT1:8) exams if they cover the required modules?**

A: A student who does the DN200 MPG course will have a number of courses that overlap with BAFS. At this point in time the Accreditation Agreement between UCD and the actuarial profession only covers BAFS and the postgraduate programmes. However, students can apply on a case-by-case basis to the profession to request exemptions on the basis of their studies. The most relevant core technical subjects for this are CT3, CT4 and CT6.

**Q: What is the Actuarial and Financial Studies programme? (BAFS)**

A: The Actuarial and Financial Studies degree is a broad ranging degree in actuarial science but it also involves significant components in statistics, finance, economics and accounting. The Actuarial and Financial Studies degree is an accredited degree with the Actuarial Profession. Through this agreement, the degree can lead to exemptions from nine of the actuarial professional exams (CT1-CT8 and CA1). Thus the degree provides students who are interested in becoming actuaries with a strong basis for completing the professional actuarial qualification.

**Q: I want to study the BAFS programme but I am worried that I might not get the points, what should I do? Is there a similar course that I can apply for?**

A: The Mathematical Sciences degree and Economics & Finance degrees in UCD provide a good background for students who may subsequently wish to become actuaries. The UCD School of Mathematical Sciences offer postgraduate courses in Actuarial Science which suitably qualified graduates from quantitative degrees can apply to. These offer alternative routes into the actuarial profession.

**Q: Is it correct to advise that if students come in through DN200 MPG; major in a mathematical discipline and choose some of the same modules that form part of the BAFS course, can then go on and do an MSc in Actuarial Science?**

A: Yes, this is correct. The Mathematical Sciences students can pick a number of modules that overlap with those taken by BAFS. These would give the student a strong background for commencing the MSc in Actuarial Science.

**Q: Is there any particular subject the School would recommend majoring in e.g. Statistics or Mathematics or Mathematical Science or Applied & Computational Mathematics?**

A: In order to cover the maximum number of modules that overlap with BAFS they would ideally major in Statistics or Mathematical Science. However, a Mathematics or Applied & Computational Mathematics major would give a strong grounding too.

**Q: Can students coming in via DN200 sit some of the Core Technical Series (CT1:8) exams if they cover the required modules?**

A: A student who does the DN200 MPG course will have a number of courses that overlap with BAFS. At this point in time the Accreditation Agreement between UCD and the actuarial profession only covers BAFS and the postgraduate programmes. However, students can apply on a case-by-case basis to the profession to request exemptions on the basis of their studies. The most relevant core technical subjects for this are CT3, CT4 and CT6.

**Q: What exemptions can students possibly get via the DN200 MPG route?**

A: See above answer

**Q: What is a BSc Theoretical Physics?**

A: The aim of Theoretical Physics is to provide a unified description of the fundamental laws of nature. These laws govern the behaviour of all physical objects in the universe from the very large where Einstein’s laws of general relativity allow us to predict the motion of stars around black holes and the behaviour of the universe as a whole to the very small where atomistic modelling allows us to understand nature’s use of quantum coherence and entanglement in light harvesting nanosystems. Theoretical Physics requires the use of advanced mathematics, indeed since the time of Newton, advances in Mathematics and advances in Theoretical Physics go hand-in-hand and this continues to this day, for example, in the relation between mathematics, string theory and .other approaches to reconciling gravitational physics with the quantum world.

The BSc in Theoretical Physics will provide you with the modern skills required, providing a balanced programme starting from fundamental aspects of physics and mathematics and developing to emergent areas such as nanophysics, gravitational wave astronomy and the computer simulation of large, complex physical systems.

**Q: What is the BSc. Mathematics, Science and Education programme?**

A: The BSc. Mathematics, Science and Education is a four-year programme consisting of four different pathways within DN200. You can study Mathematics and one of Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, along with modules in Mathematics and Science education. On completion of this programme, and the 1-year MSc in Mathematics and Science Education, you will be fully qualified to teach Mathematics and your second subject to Leaving Certificate Level. The combined 4-year BSc and 1-year MSc are recognised by the Teaching Council.

**Q: What subjects can I qualify to teach?**

A: With the BSc in Mathematics, Science and Education and the 1-year MSc in Science and Mathematics Education, you can choose to become a Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Mathematics and Biology, Mathematics and Chemistry, or Mathematics and Physics teacher. If you choose the pathways involving Biology, Chemistry or Physics, you will also be qualified to teach Science to Junior Certificate Level. These options are offered due to the identified shortage of teachers in the subjects of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics.

**Q: What will I study during this programme?**

A: In this programme you will study modules in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry or Physics (including laboratory experiments, fieldwork placements and tutorials) with other students in the College of Science. You will study over 60 ECTS credits in each of your two qualifying subjects and may also take elective modules from across the suite of modules offered in UCD.

**Q: ****If I am not sure I want to be a teacher, do I have to follow this programme?**

A: If you are not sure you want to be a teacher, you can keep your options open until the end of second year. At that point, you will have studied two modules in Mathematics and Science Education and one module in the Sociology and Philosophy of Education. You will also have participated in observational school placements and have taken part in group assignments with other students considering this programme. At the end of second year, when you can make an informed decision on your future career pathways. DN200 is unique in its flexibilty – you only commit to following an Education pathway at the end of second year.

**Q: Because DN200 is common entry, am I guaranteed a place on a Science, Mathematics and Education programme at the end of Stage 2, or are limited places awarded on a competitive basis?**

A: You are guaranteed a place on any of our Science, Mathematics and Education programmes if you choose to pursue one of them at the end of Stage 2.

**Q: What will my qualification be at the end of this programme?**

A: Depending on your subject choices in DN200 you will qualify with a BSc. in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Education, BSc. in Mathematics, Biology and Education, BSc. in Mathematics, Chemistry and Education or BSc. in Mathematics, Physics and Education. You will then proceed to a 1-year MSc. in Science and Mathematics Education at the UCD School of Education, where you will complete your final school placement and undertake a research thesis.

**Q: How do I apply for this programme?**

A: Application for this programme is through DN200. This can be done through the CAO or through the various UCD Access and Lifelong Learning routes (e.g. HEAR and DARE routes).

**Q: Why does this pathway take 5 years and not 4?**

A: In order to ensure that the teachers qualifying from UCD have the highest standard of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, this programme has been constructed so that graduates study Mathematics and Science to the highest levels (Stages 3 and 4) during their undergraduate degree. Students will then undertake a 1-year Masters qualification in order to meet the Teaching Council requirements for a second year-long school placement, core education modules and research thesis. By completing this 5-year programme students will have qualified with a Level 8 Bachelor of Science degree and Masters of Science.

**Q: Are there entry requirements for the Masters?**

A: Students are expected to achieve a 2:1 in their BSc. before proceeding to the MSc in Science and Mathematics Education.

**Q: Do I have to organise my own placements? **

A: Undergraduate placements from Stages 1 – 4 are arranged in conjunction with the Placement Coordinator in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics. Support is provided for students to attain their Stage 5 placement.

**Q: Am I qualified to teach after the four-year BSc in Mathematics, Science, and Education?**

A: No. You will have met the subject criteria from the Teaching Council for Mathematics and your second subject by the end of the BSc. However, to fulfil the additional Teaching Council criteria you must also complete the 1-year MSc in Mathematics and Science Education?

**Q: Can I complete my school placements anywhere in Ireland?**

A: During your undergraduate degree you will simultaneaously be on school placement and completing modules in UCD. Therefore, the schools where you undertake your placement(s) should be within commuting distance of UCD. Distances for the MSc. placement are arranged with the UCD School of Education.

**Q: How does the 1-year MSc differ from the 2-year Professional Masters in Education (PME)?**

A: The PME is intended for those who complete a bachelors degree in a chosen subject(s) with no Education components. If they wish to qualify as a post-primary teacher in that subject(s), they must then complete the 2-year PME. The 1-year MSc in Mathematics and Science Education is a dedicated masters programme which builds on the BSc in Mathematics, Science and Education in the UCD College of Science. Entry to this MSc is only through the BSc in Mathematics, Science and Education.

**Q: Do I get two awards if I choose this way of becoming a post-primary teacher?**

A: Yes. You graduate with a BSc in Mathematics, Science and Education on successful completion of the 4-year undergraduate programme, and then with an MSc in Mathematics and Science Education on successful completion of the 1-year postgraduate programme.

https://www.ucd.ie/science/study/prospectiveundergraduatestudents/sciencemathematicsandeducation/

if you have any queries in relation to the BSc. Mathematics, Science and Education, please contact Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabhain aoibhinn.nishuilleabhain@ucd.ie or Associate Professor Maria Meehan maria.meehan@ucd.ie

If you have any queries in relation to the MSc. Science and Mathematics Education, please contact Dr Shane Bergin shane.bergin@ucd.ie.

## Social Media Links