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MSc Mathematical Modelling
The MSc programme aims to teach students the basic concepts which arise in a broad range of technical and scientific problems and illustrates how these may also be applied in a research context to provide powerful solutions. This said, the emphasis is placed on generic skills which are transferable across disciplines so that the programme is a suitable foundation for anyone hoping to advance their scientific modelling skills.
The Mathematics Department at UCL is at the forefront of research and this programme will allow students to experience the excitement of obtaining solutions to complex physical problems. Students will initially consolidate their mathematical knowledge and formulate basic concepts of modelling before moving on to case studies in which models have been developed for specific issues motivated by industrial, biological or environmental considerations.
The programme will provide a unique blend of analytical and computational methods with applications at the frontiers of research. Successful students will be well placed to satisfy the growing demand for mathematical modelling in commerce and industry. The programme will alternatively form a strong foundation for any student who wishes to pursue further research.
The full-time programme lasts for one calendar year formally starting in the last week of September. The programme consists of taught components which are usually examined in the Third Term. The programme normally consists of 5 compulsory components, 3 optional components, plus an individual project. Each component corresponds to approximately 30 hours of lectures.
Four of the compulsory components are taught in the First Term and the remaining compulsory component is taught in the Second Term. The three optional components are divided between the First and Second Terms. Examinations for all components are held usually in the Third Term. Some components may include assessment by an element of coursework in addition to a written examination. After the examinations, all students will embark on an individual project with the submission early in September. The taught modules account for 2/3 of the final mark with the project making up 1/3. The course is equivalent to 72 ECTS, on the European Credit Transfer Scheme.
If students are unable to, or do not wish to, complete the project element, they may register for the Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Modelling which only covers the taught elements.
The part-time programme will normally span two years and consists of the same components as the full-time programme. Students may spread the 8 taught modules to suit them over the two years, but must take each module coursework and written exam in the year they attended the module. However, the summer project must be taken in the summer of the second year.
The Masters level programme in Mathematical Modelling has three main aims:-
- To provide an understanding of the processes undertaken to arrive at a suitable mathematical model
- To teach the fundamental analytical techniques and computational methods used to develop insight into system behaviour
- To introduce a range (industrial, biological and environmental) of problems, associated conceptual models and their solutions.
Please refer to the courses and modules section of the maths department website to find out more about the modules on offer.
A list of topics and corresponding supervisors will be prepared and made available during the first term. Titles and summaries should be agreed by supervisors and the MSc Tutor by the end of the second term. The projects must be completed and submitted by early September, usually the same day as the project presentations - the date will be fixed and students informed of the date.
MSc Project Guidelines and Information
The MSc summer project MATHGM10 contributes 1/3 of the overall MSc mark, with the 8 taught components making up the remaining 2/3. The module MATHGM10 itself has two components: the written project, and the project presentation. The written project carries 90% of the module marks and the project presentation 10%.
Each year the project submission deadline is early September, the actual date to be announced. All students should submit two hard copies of their Project to the Mathematics Departmental Office in Room 610 by this deadline. Students will also be required to email an electronic version of the project in pdf (portable document format, see http://www.adobe.com/downloads/) format to s.baigent AT ucl.ac.uk.
The MSc presentations will commence 10am on the same day as the submission deadline, with the venue to be announced. Each student will be allocated a 20-minute time slot: 15 minutes for their presentation and 5 minutes for questions. Data projection facilities will be available for use of laptops if required. Members of staff in the audience will grade the presentations. Students will be expected to stay for all the presentations.
General Project Guidelines
Given the wide range of topics, the various focuses of projects, and the different aspirations of students, the rules and requirements for the MSc project are suitably flexible. The project can range from an extensive survey and critique of existing research to the development of a new model or an extension of an existing one. Each project will be assessed taking into account where the main focus of effort lies. A component of original research is not a requirement of the project, but will be given due credit if present. A student should discuss these details with their supervisor.
Whatever the student decides with their supervisor, there are some things that all projects should include:
- An introduction outlining the project and giving a clear statement of the objectives of the project.
- A relevant literature survey with discussion.
- Details of mathematical calculations that can be checked. Where it makes the text more readable, an appendix could be used for some calculations.
- Listings of any innovative computer code (C++, MatLab, Mathematica, etc) that is central to the project in an appendix. (Standard code, or minor modifications of such, need not be listed.)
- Clear referencing of all material sourced, whether from books, published journals, the internet, personal communication, or similar. Essentially, if it is not the student’s idea or work, it needs to be referenced. Failure to reference material may be construed as plagiarism. The college takes a firm stance on plagiarism (see the link http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/guidelines/policies/plagiarism). If in doubt the student should ask the advice of their supervisor.
- Conclusions, including a summary of the project findings, and, where new research was carried out, a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the model/method, and possible improvements.
Style and Presentation
There is no imposed style, nor specification of the word-processing package to be used, as long as it is capable of out-putting the final document in pdf format. Projects that are hand-written or typed on a manual typewriter will not be accepted. Some marks will be allocated for the quality of the written work, including its readability, clarity of argument and overall presentation. There is no word limit for the dissertation.
Students should agree with their supervisor how often they meet for supervision. The role of the supervisor is to help guide the student in the production of the project. It is expected that the student will be able to do a significant amount of the project work independently.
Students should be warned to leave ample time for writing-up the project. Penalties will be incurred on projects that are submitted after the deadline.
Each project will be marked by the student’s supervisor and also by a second examiner. A final mark will then be agreed between the two examiners, combined with the presentation score to give a final mark in percent.
For the MSc students must take 8 taught modules and submit a project. For the Postgraduate diploma students must take 8 taught modules only. The pass mark for taught modules and the project are both 50%. The final weighted average is calculated as 2/3 times the mean of the 8 taught modules plus 1/3 times the project mark (all marks in %).
The normal requirements for a pass are 8 passes in the taught modules plus a pass in the project. However, 2 condoned passes (i.e. not less than 40%) of taught modules are permitted provided that the final weighted average is not less than 50% and the project is passed.
There are four possible awards: Distinction, Merit, Pass, Fail.
The criteria for the award of Distinction are (1) the mark for the dissertation, after rounding to the nearest integer, is 70% or more, (2) the overall weighted mark (combining the taught elements and the dissertation) is 70% or more. If the overall mark is 69% a candidate is in the borderline zone, an award of a Distinction can be made
- where the mark in the dissertation is 70% or above; and
- where at least half of the taught credits are at or above 70%, after rounding; and
- where there is no mark below 50%, after rounding; and
- where there are no re-sit marks and all the marks for the modules are first attempts.
An award of Merit will be made where
- the overall mark, based on 180 credits, is 60% or greater; and
- where at least half of the taught credits are at or above 60%, after rounding; and
- the mark for the dissertation is 60% or greater; and
- there are no marks below 50%, no condoned marks, no re-sits, and all marks are based on first attempts.
Rounding should be applied to obtain the integer marks given above: for example, 64.4 is rounded to 64%, but 64.5 is rounded to 65%.
All criteria above must be satisfied.
An award of Pass will be made where the overall mark is 50% or greater, the mark for the dissertation is 50% or greater, and 8 taught modules have been passed with no more than two condoned marks, and with the maximum of one resit allowed per module.
If you have any problems or difficulties, please discuss them with a member of staff. Specific questions about mathematical problems in your courses should in the first instance be taken up with the appropriate course lecturer. For more general questions (academic, personal, financial, accommodation, etc), you can talk with the following (see below for more details):
- Your personal tutor;
- The MSc Tutor, Dr S. Baigent
- The Departmental Postgraduate Applied Tutor, Professor V Smyshlyaev
- The Departmental Postgraduate Pure Tutor, Dr J Talbot
- The Head of Department, Professor Robb McDonald (Room 608), or any other member of staff you know
- In the maths office (Room 610), where Bonita Carboo, the MSc Mathematical Modelling Administrator, will deal with matters concerned with MSc students, although you might also need to see the Departmental Administrator, Ms Helen Higgins, about matters to do with finance.
Outside the Department, there are the College support services, which include:
- the Dean of Students (Welfare), Dr Ruth Siddall, Dean.of.Students AT ucl.ac.uk
- the UCL Union, The Rights and Advice Centre, First Floor of the Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, [http://uclu.org/services/advice-welfare: ]
- the Student Psychological Service, located at 3 Taviton Street (first floor, Room 101) (5 minutes walk from the Department): students can just go along there or phone (020 7679 1487). The Student Psychological Service provides you with an accessible and effective professional resource for students who are facing emotional and psychological problems. [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/student-psychological-services/counselling : ]
- the advisor to women students – appointments can be made through the Dean of Students Office (020 7679 4545).
If you become unhappy with your programme of study, or feel that you are falling behind and cannot cope, or are experiencing other problems, it is very important that you contact the Course Director, Professor FT Smith or the MSc Tutor Dr S Baigent (or another member of staff of the Department) straightaway. These difficulties can often be resolved but it is much easier if they are dealt with promptly (this is true regardless of whether you need some help to continue with the course, wish to change course, or even to give up the course).
If you experience racial or sexual harassment, please discuss it with someone from the list above. More details on this are given in the UCL Student Handbook at: [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/support: ]
The primary method of teaching and learning in the MSc is by means of lectures, reinforced by coursework, self-study, and in some cases computer classes. There is also a substantial project component for the MSc.
Student assessment of lectures
Students are asked at the end of each Mathematics course to fill in an anonymous questionnaire on their assessment of the course. The forms will be analysed, and the summary of results posted on the noticeboard in the Student Common Room.
Mathematics Department lectures and problem classes will not take place during the ‘reading weeks’ of 3-7 November 2014 or 16-20 February 2015. These weeks provide a time to go through what you have studied so far and make sure you understand it. Important: If you are taking courses from other departments, such lectures may continue during the reading weeks. Certain other activities may also take place during reading week.
Coursework: problem sheets
In some courses regular coursework is set. In most courses, this consists of problem sheets given out to be completed and handed in a week later. This is a very important part of the course - working on problems is one of the best ways of getting a good understanding of the topics (as well as learning how to solve problems!). Requirements for each course may vary; students should check individual course units.
Please note that you should keep all your returned marked coursework: you may be required to re-submit them for scrutiny at the end of the year. You will also find your coursework useful when you come to revise.
Co-operation and plagiarism
Plagiarism, which includes copying the work of other students, or copying from books, research papers or websites without proper acknowledgment and citation, is strictly forbidden, and could lead to severe penalties. When you are working on a problem, it may well be helpful to discuss it with other students, and indeed you may sometimes be asked to work in groups. However, you must write the work up independently and on your own. All written project work should be carefully referenced to acknowledge sources of information. Students will be required to submit both hard and electronic copies of their written work and you should be aware that, if deemed necessary, a project will be submitted to the Turnitin plagiarism detection system for evaluation.
Please also read the entry on Plagiarism in the UCL Student Handbook, available online at: [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/guidelines/plagiarism: ]
The lecturer for each course will allocate an office hour each week, when they will normally be available in their office to answer questions on the course. This time will be advertised on the office doors. A list of lecturers with their room numbers is given on page 3 in the MSc Mathematical Modelling Handbook; you can also find photographs of members of staff in the Student Common Room, Room 502.
Assessment is predominantly by formal written exams, held in the Third Term (Thursday 27 April until Friday 12 June 2015). Some courses have a coursework component (e.g.10%). It is necessary to attend the lectures and complete the coursework satisfactorily in order to pass a course. If inadequate coursework is attempted, you may be considered to be "Not complete" and withdrawn from the exam, resulting in automatic failure in that course. The normal criterion for coursework to be considered adequate is that you make a reasonable attempt at a minimum of 50% of the coursework sheets. Please also note the section on Examinations later in this booklet and the information in the UCL Student Handbook.
You are expected to be available to attend classes during all of term time, and therefore to attend all lectures, problem classes, etc. If your attendance is very poor, you may be asked to leave the MSc course.
Absence due to illness or other unavoidable cause
If you have to be absent for a period of more than 2 days, please let Bonita Carboo,the MSc Mathematical Modelling Administrator in the Departmental Office (Room 610) know (telephone: 020 7679 2841). If your absence is longer than a week, please see the MSc Tutor when you return to college, providing a doctor's note if relevant.
UCL has a substantial collection of Mathematics books in the library. The Mathematics collection is on the 3rd floor of the Science Library in the DMS Watson Building, at the south end of college. There may be relevant material, particularly in applied mathematics, elsewhere in the Science Library. It is worthwhile getting to know about the facilities of the library.
The Graduate Hub
A new space for graduates to meet on central campus, comprising a seminar room for group discussion and presnetations, a breakout space with integrated kitchenette, and a common room. The room is located in the South Wing basement opposite the Print Room Cafe. From spring 2014, the Graduate Hub will be further extended with a suite of 9 individual study carrels.
OPENING HOURS: 24-7
The DMS Graduate Cluster Area
A PC cluster for graduates has been set up in the Science Library (DMS Watson building) alongside other clusters.
If you would like to use this new facility, you will need:
- Your ID card to enter the building
- Your UCL User ID and password.
OPENING HOURS: During the Science Library opening hours
This study suite, solely for the use of our graduate students, is located in the Wilkins basement, between South Junction and the Refectory. It includes 16 large study desks with PCs and a group working room for 6. There is a small bank of lockers in the entrance lobby, alongside comfortable seating and a tea point.
OPENING HOURS: 24-7
To ensure that these facilities are restricted, the PCs in the Cluster Room and Common Room only allow access to registered users of the Staff WTS service, and not the general Cluster WTS service.
To use Staff WTS you MUST be a Postgraduate. More details on accessing Staff WTS can be found on http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/
NOTE: Use your UCL ID and password to initially access the page
Click on the managed button for the first option in the list.
Fill in the form and click on the submit button. You will receive details of your password for WTS within 4 working days via internal mail.
The Mathematics Department general office is Room 610.
All UCL Libraries except the UCL Institute of Neurology - Queen Square Library, have Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) connected to a new service called Print@UCL which allows UCL staff and students to photocopy, print and scan.
For further details, please visit: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/students/print
UCL students are allocated £12 of free credit at the start of the academic year, after which, they need to pay for additional credit online or via an onsite cash loader. Other users need to purchase from a cash loader.
Pricing for photocopying and printing is as follows:
A4 b/w single or double-sided 5p
A4 colour single-sided 25p
A4 colour double-sided 45p
A3 b/w single-sided 15p
A3 b/w double-sided 20p
A3 colour single-sided 50p
A3 colour double-sided 90p
Scanning is free for all UCL users.
Student Common Room and Study Room
Room 502 is a student common room. Room 503 is a study room intended for working quietly. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the department. Lockers are provided in Room 503 on a first-come-first-served basis. You must not leave anything in there over the summer. Please come to Room 610 and inform a member of staff if you would like to use one of these lockers.
Informal use of lecture rooms on 7th and 8th floor
If unoccupied, you may use these for quiet study, but you must leave promptly if asked to do so.
Any physical mail that comes for you will be put in the pigeonholes in room 502. This includes anything from members of staff, library etc. Please check the post tray in Room 501 regularly.
Although we endeavour to update the information on the website regularly, further details of all courses, including tutorials, exams, any change of time of classes, are placed on the information boards on the 5th and 6th floors.
E-mail and web page
Please check your email regularly, and also look at notices on the departmental web-page. The Department will send all important information to your main UCL account only.
There is a student Mathematics society, called the ADM Society, which organizes events in the Department, publishes a newsletter, etc. [https://www.facebook.com/ucl.adm: ]
Mathematics Department Staff Student Consultative Committee
This is a committee made up of representatives from the undergraduate and postgraduate students (chosen by election) and from the staff of the Department, which meets twice a year, approximately in the middle of the Spring and Autumn. It provides a forum for students to raise issues relating to the course or the Department. Some issues may be dealt with immediately informally; others may be referred to the Departmental Teaching Committee or the Head of Department. The minutes are posted on the Student Common Room noticeboard, and also go to staff in the Department and to the College Staff Student Committee as well as the Dean of the Faculty.
The Doctoral school offers a variety of skills courses for all postgraduates. These can be viewed at: [http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/list-training.pht: ]
The examinations are normally set by the lecturer for the course, checked by a second internal examiner and also by a Visiting (or External) Examiner (from outside the college). Student scripts are similarly marked by the two internal examiners, and the marking checked by the Visiting Examiner. Examination scripts are marked anonymously. Recommendations about the results of individual courses and degrees awarded are made by the Taught Postgraduate Courses in Mathematics Board of Examiners to the College Board, which makes the final decisions. The Taught Postgraduate Courses in Mathematics Board of Examiners includes the MSc internal Examiners and Visiting Examiners.
If there are any circumstances which affect your performance, either during the period of study or during the exam period, and which you would like taken into account, you should discuss this with the MSc Tutor as early as possible. If the issue relates to an examination then you should inform the MSc Tutor no later than 7 days after the exam. Typical circumstances which might be taken into account are serious or prolonged illness, disability or bereavement. Documentation is normally required (e.g. doctor's note). Information will be kept confidential and special circumstances will be discussed by a small committee of examiners.
Missing exams due to illness or other unavoidable cause
If you miss an examination due to illness or some other unavoidable cause, please inform a member of staff, preferably the MSc Tutor, as soon as possible. The MSc Tutor should be given a doctor's note if the absence is due to illness, and any possible documentary evidence supporting absences due to other reasons.
Withdrawal from examinations
If you wish to apply to withdraw from some or all your examinations, you must do so before the end of the first week of the summer term. You will need to see the MSc Tutor, and fill in a form for approval by the Faculty Tutor. Withdrawal after this date is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, namely ill health supported by a medical certificate or the death of a near relative.
The timetable for the examinations is usually published mid-March, and shortly afterwards you will be able to access your personal exam timetable through PORTICO. Before the exams start, please check your timetable for the dates, times and locations of your examinations. It is your responsibility to turn up to the right place at the right time with the right equipment (usually just pens, your personal exam timetable and your ID for a Mathematics examination). You will be provided with a candidate number through the post - please make sure that you have this number with you, as it must be entered on your script. The candidate number is a mixture of capital letters and digits, and should not be confused with your student number. Your seat number also has to be entered on the script (this will change for each exam). Please make sure that you read and follow instructions on the paper. It is important to write legibly. Calculators are not permitted in most Mathematics exams and where used elsewhere they must be of UCL standard type as sold in the UCL shop (these are unable to store characters). Past papers will be on the UCL website and in some cases past solutions are sold by the Department of Mathematics via the Department Office.
The Examination Guide for Candidates is available online at:
Cheating and plagiarism
Cheating or attempts to cheat may lead to serious consequences, including the degree not being awarded. Unless you are explicitly informed otherwise, you are not allowed to take any written material into the examination - for example, you are not allowed to write formulae on your timetable, which you take into the examination. Please also see information on plagiarism online at:
Please note that if you owe money to the college or residences, or have unreturned library books, your degree results are likely to be withheld - so please make sure that you have cleared any debts to college, and returned any library books! Once the provisional exam results are processed, the MSc tutor will contact students by email to arrange to discuss their performance. Students should therefore make sure that they can be contacted after the examinations are finished. This is particularly important for anyone who has failed examinations and may prefer not to proceed to the project component.
The Examiners’ Meeting to finalise the marks usually takes place in late September. The marks will then be entered on PORTICO for students to access.
The graduation ceremony (for students who have completed their degree) normally takes place in early September (so the following year for MSc students). Arrangements for this are made by the Registry, and not the Department, and you should receive your application form for places from the Registry, which you must return by the specified date if you wish to attend. Transcripts are also provided by the Registry, and not the Department.
You can normally retake any examination you have failed or been absent from the following year (unless you have graduated). You must re-enter at the first possible opportunity (usually one year later). You cannot retake any examination you have passed.
Please note that students will normally be allowed only one retake of any failed examination.
If you are unhappy with your results or any aspect of your course in the first place please discuss your concerns with the MSc Tutor. If you then wish to pursue matters further, there are procedures for formal appeals. You should first contact the MSc Tutor or the MSc Programme Director, Professor FT Smith. You should also consult the UCL current student pages on the Registry website. You may also contact the following:
Director of Academic Services: Derfel Owen
The Registrar’s Office
Student and Registry Services
University College London
Tel: 020 7679 3203 (internal ext: 33203)
Email: srs AT ucl.ac.uk
Location: Room G18, Ground floor, South Wing, Main Campus
MAPS Faculty Tutor: Dr Caroline Essex
MAPS Faculty Office
Tel: 020 7679 7235 (internal ext: 37235)
Email: c.essex AT ucl.ac.uk
Location: 1st floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
UCL Students’ Union
The Rights and Advice Centre,
First Floor of the Bloomsbury Theatre,
15 Gordon Street,
Tel: 020 7679 2998
Email: uclu-rights.advice AT ucl.ac.uk
All new postgraduate students who have not provided proof of sponsorship, or payment of at least the first installment of fees, will be provisionally enrolled. The last date that new students can enrol is 10 October 2014. Students who have not paid or provided proof of sponsorship will be deregistered after this date.
New students with a UK address will have their invoices sent out to them, those with only an overseas address will be able to collect an invoice at enrollment. Returning students will have had their invoices sent to their home addresses during the summer.
Students can pay fees online whether they have a UCL Login or if they do not have a UCL Login. For full details please login and you will be given instructions on how to pay within the on line enrolment facility. Alternatively fees can be paid in the Registry, Room G19, Ground Floor, South Wing, Main Campus. There will be no facility for staff to gain authorisation on any card payments that require it and we ask that students contact their card issuers prior to payment to ensure no authorisation will be requested.
Information relating to tuition fees including fee levels, instalment forms, bank transfer instructions and credit card forms can be found on the UCL website.
Page last modified on 06 may 15 16:24