Taught course

Pure Mathematics

University of Cambridge · Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK First class Honours Degree or its international equivalent. Applications are under review between September and April. Please note that it may take some time for a final decision to be made. In particular, many decisions are made after the closing date for applications. The application deadline is 15 March, incomplete applications (ie. those without all the required supporting documents) will not be considered after 31 March. For admissions purposes only the MASt is divided into three pathways. Applicants should apply to the pathway which best fits their academic background and interests. The pathways are: MAST in Applied Mathematics (Course code: MASA) MAST in Pure Mathematics (Course code: MASP) MAST in Mathematical Statistics (Course code: MASS)

Months of entry


Course content

This course, commonly referred to as Part III, is a one-year taught Master's course in mathematics. It is an excellent preparation for mathematical research and it is also a valuable course in mathematics and in its applications for those who want further training before taking posts in industry, teaching, or research establishments.

Students admitted from outside Cambridge to Part III study towards the Master of Advanced Study (MASt). Students continuing from the Cambridge Tripos for a fourth year, study towards the Master of Mathematics (MMath). The requirements and course structure for Part III are the same for all students irrespective of whether they are studying for the MASt or MMath degree.

There are over 200 Part III (MASt and MMath) students each year; almost all are in their fourth or fifth year of university studies. There are normally about 80 courses, covering an extensive range of pure mathematics, probability, statistics and the mathematics of operational research, applied mathematics and theoretical physics. They are designed to cover those advanced parts of the subjects that are not normally covered in a first degree course, but which are an indispensable preliminary to independent study and research. Students have a wide choice of the combination of courses that they offer, though naturally they tend to select groups of cognate courses. Normally classes are provided as back-up to lecture courses.

Structure of the Course

The structure of Part III is such that students prepare between six and nine lecture courses for examination. These lecture courses may be selected from the wide range offered by both Mathematics Departments. As an alternative to one lecture course, an essay may be submitted. Examinations usually begin in late May, and are scheduled in morning and afternoon sessions, over a period of about two weeks. Two or three hours are allocated per paper, depending on the subject. Details of the courses for the current academic year are available on the Faculty of Mathematics website. Details for subsequent years are expected to be broadly similar, although not identical.

Most courses in the Part III are self-contained. Students may freely mix courses offered by the two Mathematics Departments. Courses are worth either two or three credit units depending on whether they last for 16 or 24 lectures respectively. Candidates for Part III may offer a maximum of 19 credit units for examination. In the past it has been recommended that candidates offer between 17 and 19 units. An essay (should a candidate choose to submit one) counts for 3 credit units. Part III is graded Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail. A Merit or above is the equivalent of a First Class in other Parts of the Mathematical Tripos.

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Qualification and course duration


full time
9 months

Course contact details

+44 1223 337733