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Mathematics is at the heart of advances in science, engineering and technology, as well as being an indispensable problem-solving and decision-making tool in many other areas of life. This MSc course enables you to delve deeply into particular aspects of pure and applied mathematics, through a wide choice of modules in fascinating areas such as fractal geometry, coding theory and analytic theory. You'll complete your MSc with a piece of independent study, exploring one of a range of mathematical topics in detail and concluding this study by writing a dissertation.

Key features of the course
• Ideal for mathematically inclined scientists and engineers as well as mathematicians

• Extends your knowledge and refines your abilities to process information accurately, and critically analyse and communicate complex ideas

• Develops an enhanced skill set that will put you at an advantage in careers as diverse as mathematics, education, computer science, economics, engineering and finance.

• The most popular MSc in mathematics in the UK.

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Mathematics and entitling you to use the letters MSc (Maths) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Entry requirements

You should normally have a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree in mathematics or a 2.1 honours degree in a subject with a high mathematical content. Whatever your background, you should assess your suitability for this MSc in Mathematics course by completing our diagnostic quiz.

If you are new to postgraduate study in mathematics you are advised to start with a single module: either the applied mathematics module The calculus of variations and advanced calculus (M820) or the pure mathematics module Analytic number theory I (M823).


Minimum 2 years.

Most students study this qualification in six years at the rate of one module per year. The minimum time to complete is two years. There is no maximum time limit for completing this qualification but we cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available. Not every module is presented each year.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
Mathematics postgraduates can be found throughout industry, business and commerce, in the public and private sectors. Employers value the intellectual rigour and reasoning skills that mathematics students can acquire, their familiarity with numerical and symbolic thinking and the analytic approach to problem-solving which is their hallmark.

There are a variety of reasons for studying mathematics at postgraduate level. You may want a postgraduate qualification in order to distinguish yourself from an increasingly large graduate population. You may find that your undergraduate mathematical knowledge is becoming insufficient for your career requirements, especially if you are hoping to specialise in one of the more mathematical areas, which are becoming more sought after by employers. Or you may want to move on to a PhD in Mathematics. The extent of opportunities is vast and mathematics postgraduates are equipped with skills and knowledge required for jobs in fields such as finance, education, engineering, science and business, as well as mathematics and mathematical science research.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught


To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:
30 credits from one of the following entry-level modules. You should start with either or both entry-level modules. If you're thinking of studying both an entry-level and an intermediate-level module in your first year, contact us for advice.

Entry-level modules Credits
Calculus of variations and advanced calculus (M820) 30 Analytic number theory I (M823) 30

120 credits from the following intermediate-level modules (you may include 30 credits from the other entry-level module above). Most intermediate-level modules start once every two years – in October.

Intermediate-level modules Credits
Advanced mathematical methods (M833) 30
Analytic number theory II (M829) 1 30
Applied complex variables (M828) 30
Approximation theory (M832) 30
Coding theory (M836) 30
Fractal geometry (M835) 30
Nonlinear ordinary differential equations (M821) 30

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules M431, M822, M824, M826, M827, M830 and M841.

1If you choose Analytic number theory II, you must take Analytic number theory I first.

30 credits from the following dissertation module. You must pass four modules before you can start the dissertation module.

Dissertation module Credits
Dissertation in mathematics (M840) 30

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!