Outside Options

Most students in year 2/3/4 have either 1/2 or 1 unit of “outside” options open to them. It is your responsibility to find out about any outside courses you want to take, and no guarantee can be made about timetabling. Advice on any options in other departments should be sought from the relevant department, probably in the first case from the web-site.

The choice of outside options is pretty free (with the obvious exception of elementary maths courses), but please consult me about any outside courses you wish to take: I will need to approve your choice. You may also need to bear in mind the rules on levels of courses.

Please note that 4th year MSci students should only take modules at Master's or Advanced Level.

Please see:

Relevant Departments

Students have taken outside options from a wide variety of Departments (including Chemistry, Latin and Psychology) but obvious choices are: the Language Centre, the Statistics Department, the Physics and Astronomy Department, the Management Studies Centre, the Computer Science Department and the Department of Science and Technology Studies. In the first place please look on the relevant web-site for information.

Click here for information about Statistics options for Maths students 2013-14 (does not apply to MASS students)

For information about other departments, please see their web-site or other information

Language Centre

Note that Language courses are normally taken at the Language Centre, and are available as 1/2 unit or full unit courses. They all run throughout the year, and you have to have an interview at the language centre to determine your level.

Kings College

It is possible (timetable permitting) to take courses at other London Colleges – in particular, we have an arrangement with Kings College, which offers various Mathematics topics that UCL doesn’t and is fairly convenient from here – please look at their web-site.

Maths Education Module

Mathematics education’ is an umbrella term that encompasses all aspects of learning and teaching mathematics in schools and in other settings. This module is for undergraduates who are in their third or final year of a mathematics degree or a cognate discipline, students considering teaching mathematics in the future or students curious about how mathematics is learnt and what educational environments support learning and participation.

The course is delivered on Monday afternoons in the Autumn Term from 2pm-5pm at the UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way. There will be opportunities for individual or small group tutorials to support assessment in the Winter/Spring Term and a revision session before the final exam in the Summer Term. Four members of the UCL IOE staff contribute to the teaching: Dr Mudeep Gill, Suman Ghosh, Dr Geoff Kent and Dr Melissa Rodd (programme leader), the administrator is Alison Slade.


The final grade for the course is based on 50% coursework (an essay of 2000 words) and 50% exam (questions are pre-disclosed in March). There are four formative assignments during the course which introduce students to course expectations and assessment criteria.

Learning outcomes

  • You’ll have a better understanding of your own mathematics-learning strategies and capacities.
  • You’ll be able to explain how mathematical ideas can be represented in different ways with various tools or media.
  • You’ll have a coherent view on the content of the school maths curriculum and methods of teaching mathematics.
  • You’ll be able to discuss wider social and political issues related to mathematics education.
  • You’ll have developed your skills in presenting ideas about mathematics in writing; this includes expressing views and observations, synthesising readings and presenting arguments.

Each Monday afternoon students will study a central theme of mathematics education in a workshop format. Each workshop will include activities such as engaging in mathematical tasks, including practical work, investigation of the roles of digital learning technologies, listening and responding to lectures on new topics and reading and discussing mathematics education literature. The workshops will be interactive in which both students and staff contribute to discussion.

Induction week

A meeting will be arranged, in the Mathematics Department, so prospective students can ask teaching staff about the course and decide whether they would like to enrol. It is not necessary to attend the induction; students can start the course by attending on week 1.

The schedule for the rest of the course is overleaf:

Week 1, 5 Oct 2015 Psychology

Development children’s number abilities from infancy to adolescence, neuroscientific insights into learning, attitudes and the role of emotions in learning and participating in mathematics.

Week 2, 12 Oct 2015 Society: an introduction to the sociology of mathematics education

Cross-cultural issues and societal impacts on mathematics learning and participation.

Week 3, 19 Oct 2015 Communication

Language as vital role in the learning and teaching of mathematics; ‘multiple representations’ of mathematics as an aide to learning.

Week 4, 26 Oct 2015 Philosophy

Together with sociology and psychology, R. S. Peters designated philosophy as one of the foundational disciplines of education; the focus will be on the nature of mathematical reasoning.

Week 5, 2 Nov 2015, Pedagogy and Curriculum

Theory of teaching mathematics and how a curriculum evolves or is designed.

Reading week

Week 6, 16 Nov 2015, Assessment in School Mathematics

From details of National Curriculum requirements and marking in practice to discussion of the nature of assessment.

Week 7, 23 Nov 2015, Teaching Secondary School Mathematics

Presentation and discussion on ways of teaching the central topics of school algebra, measurement, statistics and geometry.

Week 8, 30 Nov 2015, Digital Technologies and School Mathematics

How might digital technologies can help or hinder mathematics learning in various areas of the school maths curriculum from calculus to coding?

Week 9, 7 Dec 2015, School Visit

We shall be visiting local schools to observe mathematics lessons and discuss mathematics education in practice!

Week 10, 14 Dec 2015, 2-3:30pm only, Review and Evaluation

There will also be a revision session on Monday 25 April 2016 from 2-3:30pm.

Background reading

There will be several papers distributed for reading during the course. For background and supplementary reading here are three books we recommend:

Johnston-Wilder, S., Johnston-Wilder, P., Pimm, D., & Lee, C. Learning to Teach Mathematics in the Secondary School: a Companion to School Experience. Routledge, 2011.

Singh, Simon. The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.

Watson, A., Jones, K. & D. Pratt, D. Key Ideas in Teaching Mathematics: Research-based guidance for ages 9-19. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Please click here to visit the Institute of Education website (website will open in new window).

Modules Treated as Maths Modules

Note that the following will normally be considered as Mathematics options rather than outside options. However, you still need permission from the relevant department to take the module and if you want to take several of these you will need to discuss your entire choice of options with me.

STAT3101 Probability and Statistics 2
STAT3102 Stochastic Processes
STAT3004 Decision and Risk
PHAS2222 Quantum Physics
PHAS3226 Quantum Mechanics
Mathematics Education module (IoE)
Suitable Mathematics modules taken at Kings or other London college.

Page last modified on 30 aug 12 13:59