School Admissions Statement
This statement should be read in conjunction with University’s policies. Year of admissions cycle: 2013.
The Admissions Process
A professional undergraduate selection team, working in close cooperation with the admissions tutor, will be responsible for the selection process for the undergraduate programmes in Mathematics.
Undergraduate Admissions Office
Bristol BS8 1TH
Tel: 0117 928 8235
Fax: 0117 331 7391
Outline of assessment methods
All applications are considered on an equal basis. Forms are not segregated by the type of educational institution attended. All applicants are contacted within 4 weeks of receipt of application, to establish contact and inform the applicant of the process to be followed. Occasionally, the Admissions Office may seek further information from a candidate or their referee when there is an apparent mistake on or omission from the UCAS form that prejudices their application.
All applications are allocated scores on the academic record and the personal statement/reference. The weighting is as follows:
Academic score: (70)%
Personal Statement/Reference score: (30)%
Departmental visit days and other correspondence with applicants
Candidates who hold an offer will be invited to attend one of the Mathematics visit days held in the Spring Term. Attendance is recommended but not compulsory.
Interviews: The School of Mathematics does not usually interview applicants. However, mature applicants are sometimes invited to interview when:
- The UCAS form does not provide sufficient information on which to base a decision;
- The applicant shows interest in and aptitude for the subject but does not satisfy the normal eligibility criteria.
All interviews intended to select students are conducted by two members of the admissions team, include a member of department with training in fair and effective recruitment techniques and are undertaken in accordance with the University’s policy on equal opportunities.
Tests/written work: We have not asked for any extra work in recent years.
Procedures for specific categories of applicants
Mature applicants: Applications from applicants aged 21 and above are welcome. Mature applicants with suitable mathematical background but who may not meet all of our standard requirements may be invited to an interview.
Cross-dept/joint course admissions arrangements
The procedure for admissions to the joint honours degrees is the same as single honours, with consideration being given independently by members of the admissions team.
Criteria for assessing applicants
Offers: We make a limited number of offers based on the number of available places on our single -honours courses. Successful applicants normally receive one or more of the conditional offers below. In view of the strong competition, not every applicant meeting (or predicted to meet) these conditions can expect to receive an offer. It is important that applicants read the Advice for Applicants so that they are fully aware of the details which we consider when making offers.
A-Level qualifications: Most applicants follow the traditional UK route through GCSE, AS and A level examinations. Our offers for these A level students target 3 specific groups.
- For students who study Mathematics to A level but not Further Mathematics, our standard offer is: A*AA, including Mathematics and a preferred subject (by which we mean Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science or Economics). An alternative offer of AAA plus a grade 2 in STEP will be made to applicants holding this offer who are also taking STEP papers.
- For students who study Mathematics to A level and Further Mathematics to AS, our standard offer is: AAAa, with A in Mathematics, plus A in Further Mathematics at AS-Level. (At least one A level in one of the maths-related subjects above is preferred, but is not required.) An alternative offer of AABa plus a grade 2 in STEP will be made to applicants holding this offer who are also taking STEP papers.
- For students who study Mathematics and Further Mathematics to A level, our standard offer is: AAA, including Further Mathematics. An alternative offer of AA(Maths and Further Maths)B plus a grade 2 in STEP will be made to applicants holding this offer who are also taking STEP papers. This has been by far the most common offer in recent years, accounting for well over 90% of successful applicants.
These conditions are adjusted if one or more A-level(s) has been completed, and unconditional offers may be made to students who have completed their qualifications. Please remember, however, that not all students who meet these conditions are made offers.
General Studies and Critical Thinking are excluded from all offers.
Where an applicant is taking Further Mathematics, we may insist on this subject in all offers we make to that applicant.
Other qualifications: The most commonly encountered qualifications other than A levels are:
- Scottish Highers: AAAAA plus AB in Advanced Highers (A in Mathematics) or AAABB plus AA in Advanced Highers (A in Mathematics).
- International Baccalaureate: 37 points overall with 6 in Higher Level Mathematics and 6,6 in the other Higher Level subjects.
- We have had a small number of applications for the Cambridge Pre U examination, but expect more in the future. Our offer for this will be D3D3D3 in the principle subjects, which must include Mathematics and at least one preferred subject. An alternative offer will be made to applicants holding this offer who are also taking STEP papers and for those offering the Global Perspectives and Independent Study aspects of this qualification.
Offers based on other, comparable overseas qualifications are determined individually.
Please note - cross school/joint honours courses may have different subject and/or grade requirements that must be met. Prospective applicants are therefore advised to look carefully at the information provided in the online Undergraduate Prospectus, for requirements specific to your intended course of study.
Academic record criteria
Applicants are assessed according to their capacity or potential to succeed on our undergraduate programmes, as demonstrated by the qualifications, personal statement and reference provided on their UCAS form. Specific criteria are listed below.
Academic qualifications: GCSE, AS- and A-level grades (either gained or predicted) and/or comparable qualifications. For applicants presenting A levels, an A grade in Mathematics is required. We would also require applicants to have studied a closely related subject to A level (or AS in the case of Further Mathematics). This means one of the following: Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics and Computer Science. Applicants who choose more than one of these subjects are looked on favourably. These preferred subjects may be specified as part of any offer.
Further Mathematics: This is our most favoured "other subject". Applicants are encouraged to study Further Mathematics A level if is offered at their school. If Further Mathematics is offered only at AS level at your school or college, or not at all, this should be mentioned in the personal statement and/or reference; otherwise, we may assume you have elected not to study it.
Participation in maths-related activities:
- AEA and STEP examinations: These provide experience of longer questions in longer examinations, and are good preparation for undergraduate study in Mathematics. This year we will make alternative offers to applicants who take STEP examination.
- Mathematics and maths-related competitions, including UK Mathematics Challenges and the British Mathematical Olympiad.
- Mathematics and science-related enrichment programmes organised by your school or college, or by bodies such as the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth, the Mathematical Association, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, and local Further Maths centres.
The weight accorded to these activities depends upon the extent of involvement and degree of success attained.
Please note - cross school/joint honours programmes may have additional/different requirements specific to the particular course of study. Prospective applicants are therefore strongly advised to refer to the Admissions Statements provided by partner Schools for their intended course of study.
We take an holistic approach to all applications, ensuring that the educational and social context in which an applicant applies is taken into consideration, where supported by clear evidence that this may have adversely affected academic achievement. This may include time spent in Local Authority care, information about which is provided in the UCAS application.
Such applications are awarded a one grade uplift on the academic score, e.g. an AAB applicant will be awarded the same academic score as an AAA applicant. Applicants still need to satisfy specific subject requirements.
We also consider evidence of clear motivation to study. This may include attendance at a University summer school, a targeted Access Scheme (such as Access to Bristol or Realising Opportunities), or participation in other higher education outreach activities.
We do not take the following into consideration when making admissions decisions: the school type attended by an applicant or whether an applicant’s parent has any experience of higher education.
Personal statement Criteria
The Personal Statement is assessed against 5 criteria. These are
- Exposure to Further Mathematics
- Overall subject choice (including STEP)
- Excellent performance post 16
- Mathematical activity beyond the classroom
- Other factors including sports, music, student representation and service.
Educational disadvantage: We take account of evidence of restricted educational opportunities and relevant medical and family circumstances.
Local students: Applications from local schools are encouraged. Further detail can be found under Advice for Applicants.
Applicants are not discriminated against on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, disability or age.
All applications from home fee applicants will be assessed by a centrally based admissions team.
We expect the school reference to back up the qualities demonstrated in the personal statement. The School of Mathematics is aware that some applicants (for instance, mature students) may well have referees with less experience of the UCAS system. Whilst all candidates should try to ensure they have a reliable and informed referee, the School will endeavour to ensure that a poorly written reference does not significantly disadvantage an applicant.
Please note - cross school/joint honours programmes may have additional criteria specific to the partner school. Prospective applicants are therefore strongly advised to refer to the Admissions Statements provided by partner schools for their intended course of study.
Criteria for international applicants (if different)
English Language requirements can be found on the International Students' website.
As with home-based students, we give great credit to applicants who take our preferred subjects. These are Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Economics and Physics. We often specify these subjects in the offers we make. The University also demands a good standard of English language capability. This is currently IELTS at 6.5 with no section below 6.0 or an equivalent standard.
Applicants are not discriminated against on the grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, disability or age.
Please note – Typical offers for cross school/joint honours courses may vary to that of the single honours courses offered by the School. Prospective applicants are therefore advised to look carefully at the information provided in the online Undergraduate Prospectus, for requirements specific to your intended course of study.
Variations in offer level: We may make lower offers based on whether an applicant is deemed to have experienced educational disadvantage, as defined in section 7.5 of the University’s Admissions Principles and Procedures.
Requests for transfers to our courses may be made from suitable applicants from other degree programmes within the University at the end of year one. We would only consider a transfer into year one of a Mathematics programme.
We may make lower offers based on whether an applicant is deemed to have experienced educational disadvantage, as defined in section 7.5 of the University’s Admissions Principles and Procedures. Transfer into year 2 of a mathematics programme is possible for students who have successfully completed year 1 of a mathematics course at another university. Conditions would apply. These include entry scores (A levels) in line with those of the current cohort; experience of a Mathematics course elsewhere that supports study of our year 2 units; success in that course usually at or above a 60 point average; and a good reason for transfer. We may set a condition of success in certain University of Bristol examinations if an applicant is unable to meet the above.
Professor Noah Linden