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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.


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, or 40-42 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.

All Colleges require A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and STEP. At Sidney, we require AS Further Mathematics. A Level Further Mathematics or IB Higher Level Physics are highly desirable. A typical STEP offer would include grades 1,1 in Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) II and III, although this can vary.

Please note that for 2019 entry onwards, All Colleges will require A Level students to have A Level Mathematics, A Level Further Mathematics and STEP, and IB students to have Higher Level Mathematics and STEP.

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