Part B Mathematics 2020-21

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The confirmed synopses for Part B 2020-21 will be available on the course management portal before the start of Michaelmas Term 2020.

Honour School of Mathematics - Units

See the current edition of the Examination Regulations ( for the full regulations governing these examinations. Examination Conventions can be found at:

In Part B each candidate shall offer a total of eight units from the schedule of units. Each unit is the equivalent of a sixteen-hour lecture course.

(a) A total of at least four units offered should be from the schedule of 'Mathematics Department units'.

(b) Candidates may offer up to four units from the schedule of 'Other Units' but with no more than two from each category (Statistics options, Computer Science options, Other options).

(c) Candidates may offer at most one double unit which is designated as an extended essay or a structured project. (Units which may be offered under this heading are indicated in the synopses.)

All Mathematics Department lecture courses are independently available as units.

Details of Part C units, examinable in 2021, will be published before Michaelmas Term 2020.

Mathematics Department Units

  • B1.1 Logic (MT)
  • B1.2 Set Theory (HT)
  • B2.1 Introduction to Representation Theory (MT)
  • B2.2 Commutative Algebra (HT)
  • B3.1 Galois Theory (MT)
  • B3.2 Geometry of Surfaces (MT)
  • B3.3 Algebraic Curves (HT)
  • B3.4 Algebraic Number Theory (HT)
  • B3.5 Topology and Groups (MT)
  • B4.1 Functional Analysis I (MT)
  • B4.2 Functional Analysis II (HT)
  • B4.3 Distribution Theory and Analysis of PDEs (MT)
  • B4.4 Fourier Analysis and PDEs (HT)
  • B5.1 Stochastic Modelling of Biological Processes (HT)
  • B5.2 Applied Partial Differential Equations (MT)
  • B5.3 Viscous Flow (MT)
  • B5.4 Waves and Compressible Flow (HT)
  • B5.5 Further Mathematical Biology (MT)
  • B5.6 Nonlinear Systems (HT)
  • B6.1 Numerical Solution of Differential Equations I (MT)
  • B6.2 Numerical Solution of Differential Equations II (HT)
  • B6.3 Integer Programming (MT)
  • B7.1 Classical Mechanics (MT)
  • B7.2 Electromagnetism (HT)
  • B7.3 Further Quantum Theory (HT)
  • B8.1 Probability, Measure and Martingales (MT)
  • B8.2 Continuous Martingales and Stochastic Calculus (HT)
  • B8.3 Mathematical Models of Financial Derivatives (HT)
  • B8.4 Information Theory (MT)
  • B8.5 Graph Theory (MT)
  • SB3.1 Applied Probability (HT)
  • BEE Mathematical Extended Essay (MT/HT) [double unit]
  • BSP Structured Projects (MT/HT) [double unit]

The Guide to Mathematics Options at Part B is available at

Other Units

  1. Statistics Options

    Students in Part B may take the units listed below, which are drawn from Part B of the Honour School of Mathematics and Statistics.

    The Statistics units available are as follows (please note these are all TBC):

    • SB1 Applied and Computational Statistics [double unit] (MT/HT)
    • SB2.1 Foundations of Statistical Inference [unit] (MT)
    • SB2.2 Statistical Machine Learning [unit] (HT)
    • SB3.2 Statistical Lifetime Models [unit] (MT)

    For full details of these units see the syllabus and synopses for Part B of the Honour School Mathematics and Statistics, which are available on the web at

  2. Computer Science Options

    Students in Part B may take the units listed below, which are drawn from Part B of the Honour School of Mathematics and Computing.

    The Computer Science units available are as follows:

    • OCS1 Lambda Calculus and Types [unit] (HT)
    • OCS2 Computational Complexity [unit] (HT)

    For full details of these units see the Department of Computer Science's website

  3. Other Options

    • BO1.1 History of Mathematics [double unit] (MT/HT)
    • BOE: "Other Mathematical" Extended Essay [double unit] (MT/HT)
    • Philosophy options - see below for details (double units)

    Students in Part B may take the units listed below, which are drawn from Part B of the Honour School of Mathematics and Philosophy. Students interested in taking a Philosophy double unit are encouraged to contact their college tutors well in advance of term, to ensure that teaching arrangements can be made.

    The Philosophy units available are as follows:

    • 101 Early Modern Philosophy [double unit] (MT/HT)
    • 102 Knowledge and Reality [double unit] (MT/HT)
    • 122 Philosophy of Mathematics [double unit] (MT)
    • 127 Philosophical Logic [double unit] (HT)

    [Paper 101, 102, 122 and 127 in all Honour Schools including Philosophy. Teaching responsibility of the Faculty of Philosophy.]

    For full details of these units see the Philosophy Faculty website

Registration for Part B courses 2020-21

Students will be asked to register for the options they intend to take by the end of week 10, Trinity Term 2020. It is helpful if their registration is as accurate as possible as the data is used to make teaching resource arrangements. Towards the start of the academic year students will be given the opportunity to make edits to their course registration. Students will then be asked to sign up for classes at the start of Michaelmas Term 2020. Further information about this will be sent via email before the start of term.

Students who register for a course or courses for which there is a quota should consider registering for an additional course (by way of a "reserve choice") in case they do not receive a place on the course with the quota. They may also have to give the reasons why they wish to take a course which has a quota and provide the name of a tutor who can provide a supporting statement for them should the quota be exceeded. Where this is necessary students will be contacted by email after they have registered. In the event that the quota for a course is exceeded, the Mathematics Teaching Committee will decide who may have a place on the course on the basis of the supporting statements from the student and tutor, and all relevant students will be notified of the decision by email. In the case of the "Undergraduate Ambassadors' Scheme" students will have to attend a short interview in Week 0, Michaelmas Term.

Every effort will be made when timetabling lectures to ensure that mathematics lectures do not clash. However, because of the large number of options, this may sometimes be unavoidable. The timing of lectures for a course taught by another faculty will usually be set by that faculty and the Mathematical Institute has little control over the arrangements. In the event of clashes being necessary, then students will be notified of the clashes by email and in any case, options will only be allowed to clash when the take-up of both options is unlikely or inadvisable.


By and large, Part B options lead naturally to one or more related Part C options in the fourth year. The most obvious exceptions to this are the options

  • BSP Structured Projects
  • BO1.1 History of Mathematics

Any student taking two of these three options (taking all three is not permitted) should realize that this may limit or make difficult a choice of options in the fourth year. The only current means of continuing with the history or pedagogy of mathematics in the fourth year is via a dissertation.