Maths tutorial at Balliol (photo: Stuart Bebb)
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Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics and Statistics at Balliol College

The Mathematical sciences form one of the largest subject groups at Balliol, and have been studied ever since the foundation of the College in 1263. Mathematical discoveries made by former students of Balliol include the famous approximation to n! found by James Stirling, the discovery of fractals by Henry J.S. Smith, and the exact solutions of Einstein’s field equations developed by Geoffrey Walker. Many Presidents of the London Mathematical Society studied at Balliol, and Professor Frances Kirwan FRS, who was a Tutor at Balliol until her appointment as Savilian Professor of Geometry in 2018, was President 20032005.

There is a flourishing Mathematics society (BUMS: Balliol Undergraduate Maths Society), which helps introduce new Mathematics students to the College and also organises an annual dinner with a guest mathematical speaker. There is a large community of mathematicians at Balliol, including our undergraduates, many Masters and DPhil students, the Tutors (listed below), and Research Fellows.

Number of places at Balliol: 58 for Mathematics and Mathematics & Statistics (other Joint Schools with Mathematics have separate allocations of places)

Maths and Statistics teaching

For the first year, the Mathematics and Mathematics & Statistics courses are the same, giving a broad foundation in the mathematical sciences. In the second year, Mathematics & Statistics students take a mix of core and optional papers from both the Mathematics and Statistics departments. In the third year students choose from a range of more specialised options in Mathematics and Statistics. Students who stay on for the optional fourth year will work on an individual dissertation. For most of the first and second year courses, and some of the later ones, the Mathematics & Statistics students are taught with the Mathematics students. 

You can read more about teaching at Balliol in each of the three/four years for the Mathematics course here.

Book loan scheme

Balliol maths books, available for loan by Balliol maths students

Mathematics students at Balliol rarely need to buy any course books, thanks to the Balliol Maths Book Loan scheme. We have numerous copies of all the main course books (for all years of the course, not just the first year), so we can lend each student the books they will need, for the whole year in which they need it. In addition, the College Library has further mathematical books for students to borrow if they wish.

Our students

Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds from across the UK and beyond (recent and current students in the mathematical sciences come from all parts of the UK and as far afield as Australia, the Netherlands, Romania, South Korea and the USA ), and from all sorts of schools. The Mathematics tutors welcome applications from all interested students, and would encourage any prospective applicant to contact our Admissions Office if you have a question not answered on this or the University’s website: undergraduate@​balliol.​ox.​ac.​uk.

After Balliol

Balliol has only recently started offering Mathematics and Statistics, but has a much longer history of Mathematics graduates. A significant number of these choose to stay for a fourth year of study in Balliol. Some choose to take the fourth year of the course (leading to an MMath), some choose to study a Masters course such as the MSc in Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science, and some train to be a school teacher by doing a PGCE. The College also has a significant number of Mathematics graduate students at any one time, studying for an MSc or DPhil (doctorate). Other Balliol maths graduates have gone on to careers in many different fields, ranging from finance, accountancy, management and IT, through to being a barrister, a civil servant, working in publishing, and combining juggling with maths in shows for schoolchildren.


About the course

Please see the Mathematical Institute’s website, the Department of Statistics’ website, and the University’s course pages.

Course requirements and selection criteria

Please see:

How to apply to read Mathematics and Statistics at Balliol College