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If you want to develop your mathematical problem-solving and decision-making capabilities, this postgraduate diploma is an excellent place to begin. It's for students who want to delve more deeply into particular aspects of pure and applied mathematics, and can be used as a stepping stone to a masters in mathematics.

Key features of the course

•Extends your understanding of key areas of mathematics, including analytic number theory, advanced calculus and differential equations

•A wide choice of modules enables you to tailor the course to your needs

•The opportunity to top up to our MSc in Mathematics in just one more year

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

•Knowledge and understanding
•Cognitive skills
•Practical and professional skills
•Key skills

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematics entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Maths (Open) after your name.

You may continue your studies and add a further 60 credits to your diploma to gain an MSc in Mathematics (F04).

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 diploma course by completing our diagnostic quiz.

If you are new to postgraduate study in mathematics you are advised start with a single module: either the applied mathematics module 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 four 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

120 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 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 120 credits as follows:
30–60 credits from:

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

60–120 1 credits from:

Intermediate-level modules Credits
Advanced mathematical methods (M833) 30
Analytic number theory II (M829) 2 30
Galois theory (M838) 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, M841 and M860, M861, MZX861, PMT600 and PMT601.

1 Only under exceptional circumstances may you study 120 credits at intermediate level, i.e. without first studying an entry-level module.

2 If you choose Analytic number theory II (M829), you must take Analytic number theory I (M823) first.

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 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!