University of Chester

Programme Specification
Mathematics BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Mathematics

Mathematics

University of Chester

University of Chester

Thornton Science Park

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years (for full-time undergraduate programme)

7 Years

Annual - September

G100

G100

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Mathematics

Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research

None

Mathematics Undergraduate Board

Thursday 1st May 2014

This programme aims to:

1. provide students with opportunities to develop abstract and applied mathematical understanding in the framework of a programme whose main theme is Computational Applied Mathematics.

2. provide students with opportunities to develop key skills in a wide range of areas.

3. encourage students to think clearly about their plans for employment and provide the necessary skills and experiences that will enhance their chances of success in employment.


Knowledge and Understanding
Demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the basic body of knowledge for the programme of study;
Thinking or Cognitive Skills
Understand logical arguments, identifying the assumptions and conclusions made;

Demonstrate a reasonable level of skill in comprehending problems, formulating them mathematically and obtaining solutions by appropriate methods;

Present straightforward arguments and conclusions reasonably accurately and clearly;
Practical Skills
Demonstrate a reasonable level of skill in calculation and manipulation within this basic body of knowledge;

Apply core concepts and principles in well-defined contexts, showing judgement in the selection and application of tools and techniques;

Use computers and software as appropriate in solving mathematical problems;
Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

(from MSOR Benchmark)

Graduates will possess general study skills, particularly including the ability to learn independently using a variety of media which might include books, learned journals, the internet and so on. They will also be able to work independently with patience and persistence, pursuing the solution of a problem to its conclusion. They will have good general skills of time-management and organisation. They will be adaptable, in particular displaying readiness to address new problems from new areas. They will be able to transfer knowledge from one context to another, to assess problems logically and to approach them analytically. They will have highly developed skills of numeracy, including being thoroughly comfortable with numerate concepts and arguments in all stages of work. They will have general IT skills, such as word processing, use of the internet and the ability to obtain information (there may be very rare exceptions to this, such as distance learning students studying abroad in countries where IT facilities are very restricted). They will also have general communication skills, such as the ability to write coherently and communicate results clearly.
Transferable Professional Skills
(from MSOR Benchmark)

1. Graduates from programmes focusing on applied mathematics will have skills relating particularly to formulating problems in mathematical terms, solving the resulting equations analytically or numerically, and giving interpretations of the solutions;
2. Graduates from programmes focusing on statistics will have skills relating particularly to the design and conduct of experimental and observational studies and the analysis of data resulting from them;

The University of Chester Department of Mathematics offers curricula with foci on Computational Applied Mathematics and Statistics that seek to achieve:

1.      widening of access to higher education study of mathematics

2.      a distinctive experience in studying mathematics within a small, friendly and effective department

3.      development of skills valued by employers 

We seek to achieve this:

1.      through offering programmes of modules that will be attractive to students from A-level and non A-level backgrounds

2.      through the Single and Combined Honours frameworks that allow study of mathematics alone or in combination with a  range of other subjects

3.      through the integration of skills within the curriculum

4.      through the development of a curriculum, particularly at level 6,  that focuses on skills demanded and identified by employers of mathematicians and statisticians

5.      through modes of learning and assessment selected to meet the needs of students, the careful choice of curriculum areas covered, and the University-wide aim of developing self-directed learners. 

We highlight the desired characteristics (relevant to employment and further study) to be developed within the successful student completing the programme:

1.      flexibility to tackle new and interesting mathematical problems that extend beyond concepts met in lectures and other formal courses

2.      ability to render real-world problems in mathematical form and to interpret solutions

3.      ability to think logically and communicate ideas effectively to both mathematical and non-mathematical audiences

4.      ability to use a computer naturally as a tool in mathematics

5.      ability to reflect on the effectiveness of a variety of solution strategies to problems

6.      ability to plan projects, manage their time and produce a persuasive argument in support of a case 

According to the terminology of the MSOR Benchmark document, the Mathematics and Applied Statistics curricula are regarded as providing  practice-based programmes with appropriate theory to underpin practical skills. 

In level 4 students should be able to

1.      apply fundamental mathematical knowledge and skills in calculus, basic pure mathematics and probability theory

2.      demonstrate key written communication skills through understanding and communicating mathematical ideas in coursework and examinations

3.      use basic IT skills in study and management of their work  

in level 5, in addition

1.      synthesise and apply mathematical ideas and methods normally unfamiliar at this stage alongside those skills already developed to solve theoretical and practical problems.

2.      adopt a self-critical approach to technical and non-technical written and oral communication of ideas

3.      complete a work-based or experiential learning module and describe skill development relevant to the workplace and further study  

in level 6, in addition

1.      take significant initiative in project work and investigations

2.      evaluate the quality of solutions to mathematical problems

Note:   

In the module option guides, the level 6 students within the single honours programme will be strongly encouraged to normally choose one module that includes significant project work. The final year modules containing project work are MA6002, MA6003 and MA6004.

    


 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
MA4001 4 Mathematical & Numerical Methods 20 Comp
MA4002 4 Pure Mathematics 20 Comp
MA4003 4 Probability & Statistics I 20 Comp
MA4004 4 Groups & Abstract Algebra 20 Comp
MA4006 4 Finite Mathematics 20 Comp
MA4007 4 Statistical Methods 20 Comp
MA5001 5 Analysis & Complex Algebra 20 Comp
MA5002 5 Linear Algebra & Numerical Linear Algebra I 20 Comp
MA5005 5 Theory & Practice of Linear Programming 20 Comp
MA5006 5 Probability Theory and Statistical Methods 20 Comp
MA5007 5 Theory & Applications of Geometry 20 Comp
MA5099 5 Mathematics Experiential Learning 20 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
MA6001 6 Real & Complex Function Theory 20 Optional
MA6002 6 Linear Algebra & Numerical Linear Algebra II 20 Optional
MA6003 6 Numerical Analysis 20 Optional
MA6004 6 Differential Equations & Mathematical Modelling 20 Optional
MA6005 6 Quality Control 20 Optional
MA6013 6 Delay Differential Equations & Partial Differential Equations 20 N/A
MA6016 6 Integral Equations & Fractional Differential Equations 20 Optional
MA6021 6 Differential Geometry & Partial Differential Equations 20 Optional
MA6022 6 Functional Analysis & Group Algebras with Applications 20 Optional

Level 4 - 120 credits (60 ECTS) are required to complete a full undergraduate level. Students may obtain an exit award of Cert HE on completion of level 4 (120 credits).
Level 5 - 120 credits (60 ECTS) are required to complete a full undergraduate level. Students may obtain an exit award of Dip HE on completion of levels 4 and 5 (240 credits).
Level 6 - 120 credits (60 ECTS) are required to complete a full undergraduate level. Honours degree on successful completion of levels 4, 5 and 6 (360 credits).

The admissions data provided below was correct at the time of creating this programme specification (August 2014). Please refer to the prospectus pages on the corporate website www.chester.ac.uk for the most recent data.

    *  Admission requirements, in terms of the number of UCAS points to be obtained from GCE and/or VCE A Levels (12 or 6 unit awards) and including a grade C in A level Maths, are given in the Mathematics section of the current undergraduate prospectus. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE and/or VCE A/AS Levels, VCE double award, or from Level 3 Key Skills certification
    * BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: pass profile plus grade C in A2/AS Level Maths
    * Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects including Maths
    * International Baccalaureate: 30 points including 4 in an appropriate Maths course
    * European Baccalaureate: a minimum of 70% including a grade of 4 in Maths
    * QAA recognised Access course, Open College Units or Open University Credits.

The following Summary is contained in the MSOR Subject Benchmark document:

5.1       Introduction

5.1.1    Because the general subject area covered by the MSOR benchmark statement is very wide, the standards that may be expected of graduates in the area can only be specified in a fairly general way

5.1.2    Benchmark standards for MSOR are defined at threshold and modal levels.

5.1.3    In MSOR, the distinction between the two levels lies largely in the depth of the student's understanding of concepts or techniques, the breadth of the student's knowledge, the amount of support and guidance the student requires to undertake an extended task, the complexity of the problems that the student can solve or model, the student's ability to construct and present a reasoned argument or proof and how far the student can progress through it, and the facility with which the student performs calculations or manipulations.

5.1.4    Interpretation of adjectives such as reasonable in the benchmarking standards is a matter of professional judgement for the internal and external examiners.

5.1.5    Professional judgement of examiners is of fundamental importance. It is predicated partly on collective experience, taken in conjunction with the knowledge of the ready employability of MSOR graduates.

(see the Benchmark document for more details)

5.2       Threshold

5.2.1    The points made in section 5.1 must be borne in mind when interpreting the threshold benchmark standard for MSOR. It is intended that students should meet this standard in an overall sense, not necessarily in respect of each and every of the statements listed.

5.2.2    A graduate who has reached the threshold level should be able to:

demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the basic body of knowledge for the programme of study;

demonstrate a reasonable level of skill in calculation and manipulation within this basic body of knowledge;

apply core concepts and principles in well-defined contexts, showing judgement in the selection and application of tools and techniques;

understand logical arguments, identifying the assumptions and conclusions made;

demonstrate a reasonable level of skill in comprehending problems, formulating them mathematically and obtaining solutions by appropriate methods;

present straightforward arguments and conclusions reasonably accurately and clearly;

demonstrate appropriate transferable skills and the ability to work under guidance.

5.3       Modal

5.3.1    The points made in section 5.1 must be borne in mind when interpreting the modal benchmark standard for MSOR. It is intended that students should meet this standard in an overall sense, not necessarily in respect of each and every of the statements listed.

5.3.2    A graduate who has reached the modal level should be able to:

demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the main body of knowledge for the programme of study;

demonstrate a good level of skill in calculation and manipulation of the material within this body of knowledge;

apply a range of concepts and principles in loosely-defined contexts, showing effective judgement in the selection and application of tools and techniques;

develop and evaluate logical arguments;

demonstrate skill in abstracting the essentials of problems, formulating them mathematically and obtaining solutions by appropriate methods;

present arguments and conclusions effectively and accurately;

demonstrate appropriate transferable skills and the ability to work with relatively little guidance or support.

MSOR Benchmark  Quality Assurance Agency 2002


Mapping the Curriculum against the Benchmark

As can be seen from the above list, the subject benchmark summary does not make reference to specific curriculum areas. Further there is a close matching between Learning Outcomes in the University of Chester Mathematics Module Descriptors and the benchmark statements at both threshold and modal levels.

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy of the mathematics department at the University of Chester has been developed in support of our aim to to provide students with a high quality experience in their studies that will equip them for further study and/or employment while widening access to the study of mathematics at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We aim to support students by promoting study in an environment where academic staff are approachable and supportive and where students are encouraged to aim to produce work of a high standard regardless of their previous experience and performance. Our assessment strategy is designed to use a balance of well-chosen coursework and formal written examinations that provide students with opportunities to show their understanding and skill development and that promote equality of opportunity. We aim to continue to develop our teaching, learning and assessment through staff development activities, consultancy activities, and peer review (by internal and external reviewers).

Teaching and learning

In level 4 our teaching and learning strategy is characterised by the approach adopted in lectures, where tutors seek to ease the students' transition from school/college to HE mathematics. The style of formal teaching adopted is selected to reproduce familiar school experience and support students in their mathematical development. The speed with which new topics are presented is carefully monitored and there is a balance between the introduction of new material and the revisiting and development of more sophisticated ideas relating to familiar work. The University policy on contact hours reflects a belief that students at this level require more support and more direction by tutors to help them succeed and this is reflected in the mathematics timetable. Students are encouraged to develop ways of coping with any problems that arise (through the use of books and electronic media and through attendance at regular classes and at tutorials arranged, by appointment if necessary, with tutors). The careful management of learning resources and the choice of work set for personal development and as part of coursework assessment is designed to ensure that students begin to develop skills which encourage greater autonomy in their learning. Students are given formal feedback at the end of each module and feedback to assist their personal development whenever work is submitted for assessment. The purpose of the feedback is to provide information about the level of the student's current performance and to give advice as to how to improve the quality of work.

In level 5, students are expected to take greater responsibility for their learning; the number of contact hours is reduced and some of the lectures become more formal with more new material presented in one session than would be normal in level 4. In formal lectures tutors will pause to provide opportunities for discussion and individual working to support students as they study. The focus of courses at this level is on developing new themes that are essential for further study of level 6 specialisms and this means that there is greater emphasis on the use of computers within the Mathematics curriculum.  Students are actively encouraged to make use of books to support their work, and emphasis is placed on the need to extend their knowledge beyond the material visited in lectures. Work-based learning and experiential learning modules in level 5 also give students opportunities to develop key skills and work-related experience.  At this stage students are expected to take on significant responsibility for their own learning and to reflect on its effectiveness. Students are supported by work-based learning tutors or by tutors in Mathematics according to their choice of module. Feedback is provided to students throughout each module. Formal marks are reported at the end of the modules, and provisional grades and marks are explained to students after each piece of work is assessed. Students have the opportunity to discuss their provisional marks with tutors and are given a clear indication of how they can improve.

In level 6, students are expected to take on significant responsibility for their own learning with formal contact time further reduced. Staff continue to encourage students to interact both during and outside formal classes, and students are expected to take the initiative in raising points for discussion. Tutors of specialist options provide extra help as required at the initiative of students. At this level there is an expectation that students will make use of books and other materials that go beyond the work covered in lectures if they are to be really successful. Project work and coursework at this level involves significant individual investigations and clarity in presentation. Feedback is provided to students throughout each module. Where interim reports are required, detailed feedback is provided in time for students to address issues raised before the final report is submitted. Students are encouraged to discuss early drafts of coursework with tutors before it is submitted. For examination-based courses, students are expected to prepare well in advance and to play a full part in revision sessions with tutors when a detailed criticism of their proposed solutions is discussed by a tutor and a group of students.

Assessment

Assessment in each module is selected with the aim that the form of assessment chosen should be the most effective way to assess students attainment of the learning outcomes of that module. This implies that it must both assess the learning outcomes and also be selected so as not to disadvantage any group of students. Therefore, in many modules assessment balances coursework and formal written examination. The coursework is selected to assess skills that are more effectively assessed through project work, investigations and the writing of computer programs. It is carefully designed to reduce the likelihood of cheating, and steps are taken to monitor student submissions for evidence of malpractice. Formal written examinations provide the most effective way to assess many mathematical skills. The balance between examination and coursework serves to help many students (who would otherwise lack confidence) to gain reassurance through successful completion of coursework before attempting a formal examination and this makes a significant contribution to equality of opportunity.

The quality assurance procedures relating to assessment are detailed elsewhere, as is the way in which assessment is cross-referenced to learning outcomes. Each year the effectiveness of the assessment in providing a reliable measure of the quality of student performance in each module is considered and informs the following year's planning.

(Adapted from the MSOR Benchmark document)

Graduates will have subject-specific skills developed in the context of a very broad range of activities. These skills will have been developed to a sufficiently high level to be used after graduating, whether it be in the solution of new problems arising in professional work or in higher academic study, including multi-disciplinary work involving mathematics.

A number of subject-specific skills are to be expected of all graduates. Most of these will be formally assessed at some stage during the degree programme. However, it must be recognised that some are not necessarily susceptible to explicit assessment. Some pervade all mathematical activity and will be reflected in assessments focused on many areas of subject content.

Many of the subject-specific skills to be expected of all MSOR graduates are directly related to the fundamental nature of MSOR as a problem-based subject area - whether the problems arise within MSOR itself or come from distinct application areas. Thus, graduates will have the ability to demonstrate knowledge of key mathematical concepts and topics, both explicitly and by applying them to the solution of problems. They will be able to comprehend problems, abstract the essentials of problems and formulate them mathematically and in symbolic form so as to facilitate their analysis and solution, and grasp how mathematical processes may be applied to them, including where appropriate an understanding that this might give only a partial solution. They will be able to select and apply appropriate mathematical processes. They will be able to construct and develop logical mathematical arguments with clear identification of assumptions and conclusions. Where appropriate, they will be able to use computational and more general IT facilities as an aid to mathematical processes and for acquiring any further information that is needed and is available. They will be able to present their mathematical arguments and the conclusions from them with accuracy and clarity.

1. Graduates from programmes focusing on applied mathematics will have skills relating particularly to formulating problems in mathematical terms, solving the resulting equations analytically or numerically, and giving interpretations of the solutions;
2. Graduates from programmes focusing on statistics will have skills relating particularly to the design and conduct of experimental and observational studies and the analysis of data resulting from them;
3. Graduates from programmes focusing on operational research will have skills relating particularly to the formulation of complex problems of optimisation and the interpretation of the solutions in the original contexts of the problems.


Graduates from the MSOR area will have acquired many general skills honed by their experiences of studying MSOR subjects. All these subjects are essentially problem-solving disciplines, whether the problems arise within MSOR itself or come from areas of application. Thus the graduates experiences will be embedded in a general ethos of numeracy and of analytical approaches to problem solving. In addition, an important part of most MSOR programmes is to take theoretical knowledge gained in one area and apply it elsewhere. The field of application is often a significant topic of study in its own right, but the crucial aspect of the process is the cultivation of the general skill of transferring expertise from one context to another.

A number of general skills are to be expected of all MSOR graduates, though in some cases they are likely to be developed more in graduates from some programmes than others. Even more than in the case of the subject-specific skills, it must be recognised that some are not susceptible to explicit assessment and indeed some are better not assessed so as to avoid creating imbalances.

Graduates will possess general study skills, particularly including the ability to learn independently using a variety of media which might include books, learned journals, the internet and so on. They will also be able to work independently with patience and persistence, pursuing the solution of a problem to its conclusion. They will have good general skills of time-management and organisation. They will be adaptable, in particular displaying readiness to address new problems from new areas. They will be able to transfer knowledge from one context to another, to assess problems logically and to approach them analytically. They will have highly developed skills of numeracy, including being thoroughly comfortable with numerate concepts and arguments in all stages of work. They will have general IT skills, such as word processing, use of the internet and the ability to obtain information (there may be very rare exceptions to this, such as distance learning students studying abroad in countries where IT facilities are very restricted). They will also have general communication skills, such as the ability to write coherently and communicate results clearly.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard there are no other cultural issues.

The Department of Mathematics at the University of Chester is committed to a high quality experience in Mathematics study for all students. Students are taught in classes whose size is appropriate to the activity being undertaken so that large groups may be split into several smaller classes for particular activities.

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