What next after AS/A level Further Mathematics?

If you’ve taken AS or A level Further Mathematics, you’ll have a wide range of options for further study and employment. Here’s some information to help you consider them.

Careers with maths

You probably already know what direction you want to go in but, if not, the websites below might give you some ideas:

  • MathscareersOpens a new window provides information about careers that studying maths can lead to.
  • Plus MagazineOpens a new window includes interviews with people who took maths-related degrees, explaining their career pathway and what they now do.
  • Futuremorph explains what's in a maths degree and who employs mathematicians.
  • Prospects details potential careers following a maths degree, and other careers that require A level Mathematics.
  • StatsLife offers guidance on careers using statistics.
  • The OR SocietyOpens a new window – if you enjoy maths but you're not sure how you'd use it in a career then Operational Research (OR) could be for you.

Several Higher and Degree apprenticeships offer routes into careers that are rich in maths, including accountancy, actuarial science, architecture, engineering and data science.

Choosing a maths degree

If you enjoy maths you might like to consider taking a degree in it. The legacy FMSP produced guidance which will give you an idea of the typical content of the first year of an undergraduate degree course. This is available within the FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.

Maths can be studied as a single subject BSc honours degree or as a combined/joint honours degree with another subject. Some courses include an optional work placement year to gain experience in industry, and some include the option to study abroad. Maths can also be studied as an MMath degree - a four-year degree in which the final year is at masters level.

Before applying, look at the features of the course:

  • How many modules are optional?
  • How much of the course is pure maths and how much is applied?
  • What maths will the various modules involve? The legacy Further Mathematics Support Programme (FMSP) produced a brief overview of a typical first year undergraduate mathematics course. This can be found within the FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.
  • Are any of the modules assessed via coursework?
  • How will the course be delivered? How much is by lectures, and how much by seminars, tutorials and additional classes?
  • What extra support will be available?

There’s lot of information on the universities’ websites, but try to also go to university open days. These provide the opportunity to find out more by talking to the staff, as well as getting a feel for the university itself. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)Opens a new window has lots information on open days, virtual tours and exhibitions.

Maths in other degrees

Degrees other than Mathematics can also involve studying maths at a high level. The legacy FMSP produced some guidance on this within Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science and Geography degrees. This can be found within the FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.

Applying to university

All applications for degree courses are made through UCASOpens a new window. The process for applying to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge is more a bit more involved - these videos provide helpful overviews:

The deadline for most courses is mid-January, but for courses at Oxford or Cambridge, or in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, the deadline is around mid-October.

If you are thinking of applying for a medical degree, here is a list UK medical schools and their entry requirements, highlighting references to post-16 Mathematics qualifications.

Personal statements

As part of the application process you'll need to prepare a personal statement. If you are applying for a maths degree, it's important to convey your enjoyment and interest in the subject. A good way to do this is to focus on some of the Further Mathematics topics that you particularly enjoyed learning. If you’ve been taught Further Mathematics on a reduced timetable, or have self-studied, explain how you’ve managed your studies – this will also demonstrate your enthusiasm.

Admissions tests

If you are applying to a top university, you may need to take a university admission test. If so, there's information to help you on our STEP/MAT/TMUA and Other university admissions tests pages.

Interviews

Most offers for maths degree courses are made without an interview, but some Russell GroupOpens a new window universities interview applicants:

University of Cambridge

Each college has its own particular approach which can be found in the Cambridge University Guide to Admissions in MathematicsOpens a new window. There's normally at least one mathematical interview (often two or three) of around 20-30 minutes. Sometimes the interview is based on previously prepared material or on work done under examination conditions just before the interview. Some additional general guidance can be found on the InterviewsOpens a new window page. A video of a typical interviewOpens a new window is also available.

University of Manchester

After considering applications, many applicants are invited to a Visit Day, which includes a tour and an interview with an academic member of staff which helps determine the conditional offer made.

The University of Oxford

Interviews occur over a three day period in December. They are mainly of a mathematical nature and last around 25 minutes. The aim is for tutors to see how you think when you do maths, and you may be asked to work at the board and talk through your thought processes. You can find a detailed overview of the maths interview process hereOpens a new window, together with advice on how to prepare. There's also lots of general interview adviceOpens a new window, videosOpens a new window of tutors, including extracts of interviews of potential students, and an Interviews Guide for StudentsOpens a new window. This videoOpens a new window provides some general tips from admissions tutors.

The University of York

All students who are made an offer are invited to attend a Visit Day between November and April, which includes a one-to-one chat with a member of academic staff. The interview may lead to an offer reduced by one A level grade or equivalent.

If you are invited to an interview, you may it useful to read the general advice on preparing for interviewsOpens a new window from NRICH. The legacy FMSP produced some examples of typical mathematical and general interview questions, and suggestions for wider reading that will help you demonstrate your interest in maths. This advice can be found within the FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.

Preparing for a mathematically-rich university course or apprenticeship

Whether you intend to go straight to university after Year 13, or take a gap year, preparing will help you to feel more confident and get you off to a good start. Here are some suggestions:

Activities

  • Explore the topics likely to be covered in the first year. The legacy FMSP produced an example of a typical first year undergraduate module outline, with accompanying resources. These can be found in the FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.
  • Try the questions in the University of Cambridge's pre-course workbookOpens a new window.

Suggested reading

  • How to Study for a Mathematics Degree by Lara Alcock (ISBN 978-0-19-966132-9) explains what to expect at university and offers useful study advice.
  • Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction by Timothy Gowers (ISBN 978-0192853615) explains the differences between advanced maths and the maths learned at school.
  • Number: A Very Short Introduction by Peter M. Higgins (ISBN 978-0199584055) provides a comprehensive view of the idea of the number
  • Popular mathematics books by authors such as Simon Singh and Ian Stewart.
  • The University of Cambridge's recommended reading listOpens a new window.
  • Titles suggested by NRICHOpens a new window
  • Articles in Plus MagazineOpens a new window.

The legacy FMSP produced other materials to help prepare for maths and engineering degree courses. These can be found in FMSP Legacy Resources Archive.

This preparation will also be useful if you intend to take a Higher or Degree apprenticeship with a high level of mathematical content.