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Mathematics at Sidney

Mathematics at Cambridge

The Cambridge Mathematics course is often considered to be the most demanding undergraduate Mathematics course available in Britain and, correspondingly, one of the most rewarding.

Two other aspects of the course that our students greatly appreciate are its flexibility and the breadth of subjects offered. The amount of choice increases each year and after Year 1 the workload isn’t fixed so you can choose the number of options you study to suit your own work pattern. Some students take as many options as they can; others take fewer and study them very thoroughly.

Mathematics undergraduate teaching consists of lectures given by the Mathematics Department and supervisions given by the college.  The lectures are compulsory, and are attended by students from all colleges.  The lecturer provides exercise sheets that students are expected to work on in their own time. Some of these are quite challenging, and only the most able students are able to solve all the problems. Supervisions are arranged by the college, typically last an hour and are held in pairs (two students and one supervisor). In a supervision, students and their supervisor discuss and work through the exercises that students have not been able to do. There is usually one Pure and one Applied supervision per week.

Mathematics at Sidney

The Mathematical Tripos is a demanding course, but students at Sidney receive a lot of support from the Directors of Studies, Dr Berry Groisman (Applied Maths) and Dr Wayne Boucher (Pure Maths). The Directors of Studies oversee students' progress and guide them throughout the academic year. A major part of their role is to arrange supervisions, and  Sidney Sussex is lucky to have academic staff covering a broad range of topics taught in the first year of the Mathematics Tripos, which means that most supervisions can be taught 'in house'. The Directors of Studies also arrange both individual and group meetings with students on a regular basis, advise on subject choices and course work, organise informal progress tests and mock exams, and help with revision for the end of year exams.

Mathematics at Sidney is taught in a supportive atmosphere where students are expected to take charge of their own education from the moment they arrive. The course is demanding, and is aimed at young men and women who have both excellent technical ability and a passion for the subject.

Sidney Sussex is among the smaller colleges, and normally admits between 6 and 8 mathematics students each year, resulting in a close-knit group of students who quickly get to know each other. Collaboration and discussion are encouraged. Students benefit from having Directors of Studies in pure and applied mathematics, and between them they cover most of the topics taught in the first year of the course.

Interaction with the College’s graduate community, and membership of the Allen Society, an active society for Sidney mathematicians, also contribute to the experience of our undergraduates.

The Allen Society

The Allen Society is the student mathematics society at Sidney Sussex. The society organises social events and each year invites one or two distinguished speakers to give a popular mathematics talk that brings together the undergraduates, graduates and Fellows of the College.

The society is named after Sir Roy Allen, CBE, FBA (1906 - 1983), who studied mathematics at Sidney Sussex and was later a Fellow. Allen was awarded a Wrangler scholarship for coming top of his year in the Mathematics Tripos. He went on to be a leading economist and statistician, and spent much of his career as Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics. He was also President of the Royal Statistical Society.

Hear from a student... 

     Maths at Cambridge can be very hard, but don't let this put you off from enjoying it! While it is an extremely difficult course, it is very rewarding, if you're prepared to put the effort in, you will enjoy the course and cope well with the work load. There are no choices to make in the first year but this very much changes as you progress through your degree. Many tend to specialise greatly in the third year, only studying one particular field. If you wish to study further and do more advanced maths, the University offers a fourth year masters course, known as Part III; subject to a strong performance in your third year. Like the undergraduate course, Part III Matt Threadgold, Mathematics undergraduate at Sidney mathematics at Cambridge is renowned among mathematicians across the world and it is here that you can truly delve into your subject.

Apart from your studies, you can participate in many sports and societies in College and across the University. There is a huge range in societies so I'm sure you'll be able to find something you enjoy or find interesting. It is at university where most students try something new for the first time!

Matt Threadhold, Sidney Mathematics undergraduate


Director of Studies (DoS)

Dr Wayne Boucher (College Teaching Associate)

Dr Berry Groisman (Fellow)


Dr Natasha Morrison (Research Fellow)

Professor Ron Horgan

Dr Sergii Strelchuk (Research Fellow)

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

5 - 6

Standard Entry Requirements

A*A*A at A Level, and STEP

41-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level, and STEP

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

Depending on individual circumstances, Sidney Sussex may make an A Level applicant an offer which will be met if they achieve either A*A*A with at least grade 1 in two STEP papers or A*A*A* with at least grade 1 in one of the two STEP papers taken. While every Cambridge College is able to vary individual offers according to particular circumstances, the flexible Maths offer set at Cambridge is specifically designed to encourage applications from UK applicants who are currently under-represented at Cambridge.

All Colleges require A-level Mathematics, A-level Further Mathematics, and STEP. Applicants taking the IB will be required to have Higher Level Mathematics and STEP. A typical STEP offer would include grades 1,1 in Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) II and III, although this can vary.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessments

No admissions assessments. Please note that STEP (Sixth Term Examination Papers) will be used as the basis for conditional offers. You can read more about STEP on the Admissions Testing Service website.


Two interviews; both will have a focus on Mathematics and involve working through some mathematical problems.

Find out more

Mathematics at Sidney

University website Mathematics course page

Faculty of Mathematics admissions information

STEP preparation resources

Mathematics Open Days

Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (