Information Booklet

MSc Mathematical Modelling

For full syllabus details and module timetables, please see the Courses and Modules Page


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.

Programme Structure


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.

Programme Aims

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.

Modules Available

Modules Available

Term 1

Compulsory modules
Optional modules

Term 2

Compulsory modules
Optional modules

Please refer to the courses and modules section of the maths department website to find out more about the modules on offer for the MSc in Mathematical Modelling degree.

The Project

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 format to s.baigent AT

Project Presentations

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 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.

Writing up

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.

Project Assessment

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.

Scheme of Award

MSc Mathematical Modelling

(effective for students entering the programme in or after 2015-16)

The Academic Regulations for Students published on the UCL web pages are the source of reference for all matters relating to overarching examination and assessment regulations:

In addition to UCL’s minimum requirements as set out in the academic regulations, the Programme Board of Examiners has prescribed the following requirements:

Definition of Terms

An element is a unit of assessment, which has one or more component parts e.g. a coursework component; an examination component; an oral component.

An element is said to be compulsory if it must be passed in order to obtain an award.

Award dependent details

Students take the following 9 elements:

  • 8 taught elements, each with a credit weighting of 15 (total credit weighting 120)
  • Individual project element (total credit weighting 60)

Taught Elements

There are 8 taught modules, each of which is an element. Five of these elements are compulsory.

Project Element

In order to be considered for the award of MSc in Mathematical Modelling, candidates must be complete in the project element. This element is compulsory.

Award Independent Rules

To obtain a pass in an element candidates must normally:

Obtain a weighted average of at least 50% across all the graded components of that element. For specified taught elements, the candidates may further be required to obtain an average mark of at least 50% on both of the coursework component and the examination components individually.

To pass the MSc, candidates must normally:

  • Obtain at least 50% in each element;
  • Pass all compulsory elements;
  • Pass the project element;
  • All the criteria must be satisfied.

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

An award of Merit will be made where:

  • The overall mark, based on 180 credits, is 60% or greater; 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.

All the criteria must be satisfied.

An award of Distinction will be made where:

  • The overall mark, based on 180 credits, is 70% or greater; and
  • The mark for the project element is 70% or greater; and
  • There are no marks below 50%, no condoned marks, no re-sits, and all marks are based on first attempts.

All the criteria must be satisfied.

Resit candidates

  • Candidates who have failed to pass the MSc have the opportunity to re-sit an element that was failed;
  • The Board of Examiners may, at its discretion, require the candidate to re-sit only parts of a failed element;
  • Candidates are only allowed to re-sit each failed element once and must re-sit at the first available opportunity;
  • In all other respects, the same rules as for first-sit candidates apply to re-sit candidates.

Criteria for the Award of a Postgraduate Certificate

  • For an award of a Postgraduate Certificate student must have completed 60 UCL credits or the equivalent 600 learning hours and obtained an overall average mark of 50% or greater.
  • A maximum of 25% of the programme may be condoned at 40-49%.

Criteria for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma

  • For an award of Postgraduate Diploma students must have completed 120 UCL credits or the equivalent 1200 learning hours and obtained an overall average mark of 50% or greater.
  • A maximum of 25% of the programme may be condoned at 40-49%.

Advice and Guidance

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):

  1. Your personal tutor;
  2. The MSc Tutor, Dr S Timoshin
  3. The Departmental Postgraduate Applied Tutor, Professor V Smyshlyaev
  4. The Departmental Postgraduate Pure Tutor, Dr J Talbot
  5. The Head of Department, Professor R McDonald (Room 608), or any other member of staff you know
  6. In the maths office (Room 610), where Mrs Bonita Carboo, the MSc Mathematical Modelling Administrator, will deal with matters concerned with MSc students, although you might also need to see the Departmental Manager, Ms Helen Higgins, about matters to do with finance. 
  7. Outside the Department, there are the College support services, which include:

    • the Director of Student Support and Wellbeing is Denise Long, denise.long AT
    • Out of hours support

      UCL works in partnership with Care First to provide an out-of-hours and information, support and counselling telephone line for UCL students. Further information can be found here: [:]

    • the Studenent Mediator Dr Ruth Siddall, studentmediator AT
    • the UCL Union, The Rights and Advice Centre, First Floor of the Bloomsbury Building, 15 Gordon Street, [ ]
    • the Student Psychological Service, located at 3 Taviton Street (ground floor) (3 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. [  ]
    • UCL Adviser to Women Students - contact Miss Denise Long (Director, Student Support and Wellbeing), Student Support and Wellbeing Office, 4 Taviton Street.

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 Timoshin (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 on the UCL website at: [ ]

Teaching and Learning

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.

Reading weeks

Mathematics Department lectures and problem classes will not take place during the ‘reading weeks’ of 9-13 November 2015 or 15-19 February 2016. 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.

Keeping coursework

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: [ ]

Office Hours

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 25 April until Friday 10 June 2016). 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.


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 the MSc Mathematical Modelling Administrator in the Departmental Office (Room 610) know. 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.

Library, computing and other resources


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.

Computing facilities

Please click here for further information

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.


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:

Please click here for further information

Research Grid

During the Summer term 2015 the graduate Research Grid will be relocating to the 4th floor of the Science Library. The new Research Grid will be providing improved facilities for graduate students along with a greater number of seats available for graduate study.

The new Research Grid will accommodate up to 74 graduate students and will offer a variety of workstations and study spaces which will suit individual study as well as collaborative social learning. The new learning space features a group meeting room with AV for up to 6 people, a private Skype point, student lockers, 24 all-in-one Desktop PCs and a hot water point for tea and coffee.

Departmental Office

The Mathematics Department general office is Room 610.


UCL has Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) connected to a new service called Print@UCL which allows staff and students to photocopy, print and scan.

For further details, please visit:

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 mono single or double-sided 5p

A4 colour single-sided 25p

A4 colour double-sided 45p

A3 mono single-sided 15p

A3 mono double-sided 20p

A3 colour single-sided 50p

A3 colour double-sided 90p

Scanning is free for all UCL users.

Department Student Common Room and Study Room

Room 502 is a student common room. Please note that Room 502 will at times be unavailable for students due to Department events taking place e.g. Open Days for new students, reception events, etc. Notices will be displayed outside Room 502 to inform staff/students of these events. Room 503 is a study room intended for working quietly. Room 503 will be out of use occasionally. 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. Important Note: Please do not leave your belongings unattended, the doors of Rooms 502 and 503 should always be closed and the Digilocks operative. The UCL ID card is not required to enter the building.

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 502 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.

Mathematics Society

There is a student Mathematics society, called the ADM Society, which organizes events in the Department, publishes a newsletter, etc. [ ]

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.


General Information

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.

Extenuating Circumstances

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 examinations

The timetable for the examinations is usually published before the end of the Second Term, 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:

The past solutions are sometimes available Moodle (the module tutor will decide whether these can be uploaded on to Moodle).

The Examination Guide for Candidates is available online at:

[ ]

Marking Criteria

Please click here to download the Making Criteria (PDF file).

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:

[ ]


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.

Graduation ceremony

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 Student & Registry Services, and not the Department, and you should receive your application form for places from the Student & Registry Services, which you must return by the specified date if you wish to attend. Transcripts are also provided by the Student & Registry Services, 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: Jason Clarke
The Registrar’s Office
Student and Registry Services
University College London
Gower Street
Tel: 020 7679 3203 (internal ext: 33203)

Email: srs AT

Location details can be found at:

MAPS Faculty Tutor: Dr Caroline Essex
MAPS Faculty Office
1st floor,
South Wing
Gower Street

Tel: 020 7679 7235 (internal ext: 37235)

Email: c.essex AT

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

Paying Fees

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 by 4pm BST on Friday 16 October 2015. 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 at:

During Term time fees can be paid at the SC2 (Student Centre 2), Chadwick Building (10am - 4pm from Monday to Friday only). There will be no facility for staff to gain authorisation on any card payments that require it and students should 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.