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MSc Coursework and Examinations

See the linked page for the latest available version of the official University Course Regulations .

Course Requirements for Mathematics MSc

Course Requirements for Interdisciplinary Mathematics (MIR@W) MSc

Course Requirements for Two Year MSc

Reading Modules and Mini-projects


[For other academic and welfare matters see the linked page]


Mathematics MSc requirements

There are two levels of modules available to Mathematics MSc students: List D (MA5xx) modules worth 24 CATS and List C (MA4xx) modules worth 15 CATS. All candidates are required to take at least 90 CATS worth of modules. The Taught Modules section contains detailed information about the modules that are available. You should follow carefully around three modules in each of Terms 1 and 2. Students often attend many lectures in the first week or two of each term before deciding which modules they will follow for examination credit. You should discuss your module selection with your supervisor and meet regularly with him or her to report on what you have been learning. For the more advanced modules you may need to fill in gaps in your background knowledge. Postgraduate students often independently read undergraduate texts or attend undergraduate lecture modules (not for examination credit) which they did not take as an undergraduate. It is possible for MSc students to take a limited number of reading modules in place of some of the lectured modules. The procedures for taking these are described below.

Taught postgraduate students must register their module choices on-line by the end of week 3 in Term 1. To do this, you need to use the eMR system, available in my.warwick (go to the right hand side box on insite to log on).

Your module selection will be approved by the Director of MSc Studies. If you wish to make changes to your selection of modules after the deadline date (end week 3, Term 1), there will be another opportunity to revise Term 2 modules at the start of Term 2. If you have any queries, please see the Postgraduate Coordinator in Maths. Research students registering for modules must do so through the department Postgraduate Coordinator before the above deadline.

Interdisciplinary Mathematics (MIR@W) MSc requirements

All of the above conditions apply to Interdisciplinary Mathematics (MIR@W) students, but in addition the module choices must include enough mathematical content and be sufficiently interdisciplinary. To ensure this, all of the following conditions normally apply to the modules offered for credit:

  • Modules equivalent to at least 22.5 CATS must be taken from lists C and D offered by the Mathematics Department. Modules equivalent to at least 22.5 CATS must be taken from MIR@W participating departments other than Mathematics.
  • At least 45 CATS must be taken from a list designated as "mathematical" by the MIR@W Director of Graduate Studies. All modules from the Mathematics Department are so designated.
  • Some lower-level (undergraduate) modules may be taken subject to approval of the MIR@W Director for Graduate Studies, but at least 45 CATS must be taken from MSc (List C or D) level modules.

Two-year MSc requirements

Each student registered for a two year Mathematics MSc produces a plan of study by the end of week 3 of the Autumn Term in consultation with their supervisor and the Director of MSc Studies. This plan should include a statement of the basis for assessment of a student's progress during the first year and the weighting to be given to the various modules taken over the two years.

All first year students are required to be examined in at least 96 CATS of modules and to submit a project (24 CATS) by the published deadline in September. Typically, during the first year a student takes examinations in two List C (4xx) modules and a number of undergraduate modules selected to broaden their knowledge.

During the second year, students are required to be examined in a further 90 CATS or more of appropriate List C and List D modules. Candidates must not take courses for credit in successive years that are substantially the same. The final examination mark excluding dissertation will include marks from both the first and second year with a relative weighting of approximately 20% (first year examinations, but not the project) and 80% (final year examinations).

Before the beginning of the second year, the student must submit a project worth 24 CATS which will be marked by the supervisor and a second marker. The project will contribute to the first year mark. An average of 60% including the module and project marks is required to proceed to the second year. However, the first year project will not contribute to the final mark at the end of the second year. The second year dissertation may be a continuation of the first year project, but the same material cannot be used in both. As for the one-year MSc, the final dissertation is worth 90 CATS.

Two Year Interdisciplinary Mathematics MSc

Please see the MIR@W Director of Studies.

Reading modules and mini-projects

Reading modules (12 or 24 CATS) may be arranged based either on modules that have been given in the past but which are not being lectured this year, or on other topics. Proposals for reading modules may be made by students through a member of staff. If the module is approved, details of the module and of the method of examination will be announced so that all students may be given the same opportunity to participate. For this reason it is best to get approval as early in the first term as possible, and in any case the last opportunity is early in the second term (proposals must be given to the Postgraduate Coordinator before the first staff meeting of the second term). A reading module may have a written or an oral examination.

A mini-research project (12 CATS), which could be combined with an existing module, has to be approved in the same manner as a reading module but need not be made available to other students.

It is not usually permitted to arrange extra reading and a special exam to turn an 15 CATS List C module into a 24 CATS List D module. A lecturer who particularly wishes to make such an arrangement must convince the Reading Course Committee (which approves reading courses and mini-research projects) that the extra reading is needed and appropriate. For an MSc student wishing to pursue List C material further, the usual routes allowed by the Course Regulations are (i) a mini-research project (if the lecturer is willing to arrange this with an individual student); or (ii) a Reading module (for 12 or even 24 CATS) which must be available to all MSc students and may be examined or else assessed by written work with an oral. Normally a student is not permitted to take more than 24 CATS from reading modules and mini-projects.


Examinations mostly take place in Term 3. Some examinations from other departments may take place earlier (particularly relevant to MIR@W students). Graduate students, especially those from overseas, are advised to obtain past examination papers from the Maths Department General Office. These serve as a very useful guide to the expected level and style of questions. You should discuss with your supervisor your preparations for examinations. You should also visit the Taught Modules pages (and linked pages) as it contains a lot of useful information about modules, often including maths past examinations.

In June there is an internal board of examiners for the MSc where all the available examination results are considered and the average is reported. Comments from supervisors and other staff members, and also any special circumstances of individual candidates that are known about, may be taken into account. Based on all available information the board will usually make one of the following recommendations, based on the University Regulations:

  • Average of greater than 50%, with 50% or more in at least 60 CATS of level 7 taught modules (year 4 or above e.g. MA4xx, MA5yy) - proceed to dissertation. (In the very unusual event of a student averaging 50% overall but failing to get 50% in 60 CATS of relevant taught modules, there is the possibility of resitting one or more exams in September, and the student may still be allowed to proceed to dissertation.)
  • Average of 40 - 49% with 50% or more in at least 60 CATS of level 7 taught modules - candidates are normally recommended to proceed to Postgraduate Diploma.
  • Average of less than 40%, or a failure to achieve 50% or more in at least 60 CATS of level 7 taught modules - this is inadequate for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma. The Board may allow the candidate to submit a Diploma Project and to resit one or more exams in September.

Feedback to candidates will be given after this meeting, generally from the student's supervisor. Students will be advised of any conditions which must be met in order to proceed to dissertation or to pass the MSc.

Note that only final marks on each examination are given to the candidate. Our procedures involve careful checking for errors, and external examiners look at the marking of scripts. It is Departmental policy that marked examination booklets are confidential and neither supervisors nor students may see the marked scripts.


Inadequate acknowledgment regarding the work of others in essays or dissertations might easily be interpreted as plagiarism. For full details of the elaborate investigation which will pursue any student accused of cheating or plagiarism, see the Academic Office webpage on Plagiarism.


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