Teaching and Learning

There is a general UCL wide website for teaching and learning as well as the information below.

Managing Your Degree Programme

Detailed information about degree structures, options, syllabuses, timetables, supporting material for individual modules etc, can be found on the Mathematics departmental website.

Information about your past module results, your choices of options, which degree programme you are on and so on can be found on PORTICO, an electronic information management system accessed via the college website. You will need to check your own details on PORTICO, for example that you are entered for the correct modules (and resits if applicable), and you will need to enter your choice of options on PORTICO. You will also access the exam timetable for the formal May examinations via PORTICO.

Advice on choice of options is provided at various times of year, in particular at departmental registration at the start of the session. You may also consult your personal tutor or the departmental tutor. PORTICO itself provides some information on the allowable choices, but you may also need to consult the detailed information on the departmental website.

Lectures and Problem Classes

The primary method of teaching and learning in the Mathematics Department is by means of lectures, reinforced by coursework, problem classes, small group tutorials, self-study, peer-assisted learning (PAL), discussion with other students, and discussion with staff on an individual basis. Some courses also involve computer work, and some have a substantial project component.

As lectures are one of the primary means of teaching, it is important to attend and make good use of them. The study skills booklet may help you with this.

First year and second year (first term) Mathematics courses: For each of these (compulsory) courses there are three lectures and one problem class per week, each lasting an hour. The problem classes are used for two purposes: (i) to help you with your current course-work; (ii) to go over points from previous course-work.

Second year second term Mathematics courses: In the second term, there are three lectures per week, which will usually include some time spent going over course-work.

Third and fourth year courses. These normally consist of three lectures per week. Some have assessed course-work or projects.

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 considered by the head of department and the teaching committee. The numerical results are posted on a notice-board in the Department.

Reading Weeks

Mathematics Department lectures and problem classes will not take place during the reading weeks in term 1 and 2. The dates for these weeks can be found with the term dates. These weeks provide a time to go through what you have studied so far and make sure you understand it. If you are doing a combined degree and so are taking courses from other departments, such lectures may continue during the reading weeks. Certain other activities take place during reading week, for example presentation training and assessed presentations for the 4th year project. Small group tutorials do not take place formally in the reading week, but you are free to consult your tutors or course lecturers on an individual basis.

Courses with Project and Computer Work Components

Certain courses involve work on computers and/or project work:

First year
1401 (Mathematical Methods 1): you are expected to spend time in computer lab.

Second year
7601 (Computational Methods): 1 hour per week in computer lab + project on computer work.

Third year
3601 (An Introduction to Mathematica): 4 hours per week in computer lab.

3202 (Galois Theory): includes presentations and a small project.

Fourth year
M901 (Project in Mathematics): a large-scale project, including a presentation.

Course-work: Problem Sheets

In many courses regular course work 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 to solve problems!).

For each first year Mathematics course there is a weekly problem sheet distributed to be handed in a week later. The sheets usually contain both assessed and unassessed questions. You are encouraged to attempt all questions, and help with the unassessed questions will be available for first years from the small group tutor. Some help with the assessed questions will be available during the problem classes. You should give in your solutions to the assessed questions on the date requested: your work will be marked and returned to you about one week later. You will receive model solutions for the assessed questions, and some of them may be gone over in class. It is important to look at your marked work (when returned) to see what you got right, what wrong and to note any comments from the marker.

1401 also has an in-course assessment, which may be attempted more than once, and which has to be passed in order to pass the module.

All second year Mathematics courses and some third/fourth year courses also have course work - assessed work may be given every week or less often. The lecturer will make it clear what work is assessed.

Late submission of course-work

In general it is not possible to submit course-work late and you will obtain a mark of 0 for that exercise sheet. If you have to miss a course-work or cannot submit it on time due to illness or have other extenuating circumstance you should inform the lecturer/problem class teacher.

Please also see section on Assessment.

Keeping Course-work

Please note that you should keep all your returned marked course-works: you may be required to re-submit them for scrutiny at the end of the year. You will also find your course-work useful when you come to revise.

Co-operating and Plagiarism

Plagiarism, or copying work from other students or books, is not allowed, and may lead to 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. Please also read entry on Plagiarism in the UCL Student Handbook.

First Year Tutorials

First year Mathematics students have 2 tutorials each week, one on pure maths (1101/2 and 1201/2) and the other on applied maths (1301/2 and 1401/2). (Slightly different arrangements apply for combined honours students.) These tutorials are held in a small group (about 6 - 8 students) for an hour. Tutorials provide a good opportunity to sort out any material from the lectures that you haven't understood. Don't be afraid to ask questions - this is one of the things the tutorials are for! Small-group tutorials are not offered in later years.

Office Hours

The lecturer for each course will allocate an office hour each week, when they will be available in their office to answer questions on the course. This time will be advertised on their office doors and you can also access the list of office hours below.

Office hours

A list of teaching staff with their room numbers can be found on Mathematics departmental website; you can also find photographs of members of staff in the Student Common Room.

Pear Assisted Learning (PAL)

These are voluntary, student-run sessions for first year students. PAL is run by second or third year student mentors with the help of the Transition Team. The student leaders do not act as teachers but as facilitators, i.e. they don't give lectures, but help the group arrive at better understanding. The academic staff don't attend sessions or receive any reports of individual attendance. Some students have found this very helpful. More details about PAL sessions will be posted on the notice-board.

First Year Mid-sessional Exams

For first year students only, there are exams half way through the first year (after Christmas, in the first week of the spring term). These are compulsory, and are used as indicators of progress; if your results in these exams are very poor, you may be asked to consider leaving the degree programme. They do not count towards your final degree.


Assessment is predominantly by formal written exams, held in the summer term. Many courses have a coursework component (often 10%). It is necessary to attend and do coursework satisfactorily in order to pass a course. If inadequate course work is attempted, you may be considered "Not complete" and withdrawn from the exam, resulting in automatic failure of that course. The normal criterion for course work to be considered adequate is that you make a reasonable attempt at a minimum of 50% of the course work sheets. Please also read the section on Examinations, and note the information in the UCL Student Handbook as well.

Please note some more detailed information:

First year honours modules (MATH1*)

All first year honours mathematics modules (MATH1101,1102,1201,1202,1203,1301,1302,1401,1402) have a 10% course-work component. In the case of the first term modules (MATH1101, 1201, 1301,1401) this is obtained from the midsessional exam result (5%) and the weekly course-works (5%). In the remaining modules (MATH1102, 1202,1203, 1302, 1402) it is based on the weekly course-works. MATH1401 also has an in-course test which accounts for 5% of the final mark.

For all these first year modules, in order to pass the module you must obtain a mark of at least 40% in both the final mark (exam and course-work combined) and in the exam mark alone. In order to get a referral, you must obtain a mark of 30% or more in both the final mark and the exam mark alone (as well as meeting other conditions for a referral).

Second year honours modules (MATH2* and MATH7*)

Many of these have a course-work component. In order to pass the module you must obtain a mark of at least 40% in both final mark (exam and course-work combined) and in the exam mark alone. In order to get a referral, you must obtain a mark of 30% or more in both the final mark and the exam mark alone (as well as meeting other conditions for a referral).

Third year honours and ancillary modules (MATH3*, MATH6*)

Many of these have a course-work component. In all these modules, in order to pass you must obtain a mark of more than 40% for the final combined mark.

Fourth year honours modules (MATHM*)

Some of these have a course-work component. In all these modules, in order to pass you must obtain a mark of more than 50% for the final combined mark.

Attendance and Absence due to Illness


You are expected to be available to attend classes during all of term time, and therefore to attend all lectures, tutorials, problem classes, etc. If your attendance is very poor, you may be asked to leave the 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 the Mathematics Departmental Office know (telephone: 020-7679 2894). If your absence is longer than a week, please see the Departmental Tutor when you return to college, providing a doctor's note if relevant.