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BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning

Mathematics education has long been a government priority. This unique degree course will give you an understanding of how people learn mathematics, and an insight into different teaching approaches. Designed primarily with teachers – or aspiring teachers – in mind, it will develop your knowledge and understanding of the teaching of mathematics and statistics, and broaden your ideas about what it means to learn and use mathematics. 

Key features of the course

  • Gain a good grounding in mathematics (pure and applied), and in statistics
  • Focus your studies on either mathematics or statistics as you progress
  • Ideal preparation for a career in teaching mathematics
  • Contributes to membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
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Degree

Course code
Q46
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6–8 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
None

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Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 04/12/2014

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Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits (equivalent to one year's full-time university study). Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

We offer two starting points for this degree – gentle or standard. We strongly recommend the gentle start if you’re not confident with algebra and trigonometry; you’ve not previously studied mathematics to an advanced level; or if you’ve not studied mathematics for some time and need to refresh your skills. Visit our MathsChoices website for information about what each starting point involves, and to try some diagnostic quizzes. 


Gentle start

Compulsory modules (120 credits)

  • Discovering mathematics (MU123)

    Introduces and helps integrate key ideas from statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry into your everyday thinking to build your confidence in learning and using mathematics.

  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)

    This introductory university-level mathematics module covers key topics including calculus, vectors, matrices, sequences and functions, and assumes you are confident with the underpinning algebraic ideas.

  • Introducing statistics (M140)

    Learn statistical tools and quantitative methods, covering topics such as summarising data; examining relationships; randomness and sampling distributions; probability; testing hypotheses; and estimation.

  • Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    An introduction to essential topics – such as proof, differential equations, mechanics and discrete mathematics – and an opportunity to extend your knowledge of calculus and its applications.

Standard start

Compulsory modules (90 credits)

  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)

    This introductory university-level mathematics module covers key topics including calculus, vectors, matrices, sequences and functions, and assumes you are confident with the underpinning algebraic ideas.

  • Introducing statistics (M140)

    Learn statistical tools and quantitative methods, covering topics such as summarising data; examining relationships; randomness and sampling distributions; probability; testing hypotheses; and estimation.

  • Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    An introduction to essential topics – such as proof, differential equations, mechanics and discrete mathematics – and an opportunity to extend your knowledge of calculus and its applications.

Optional module (30 credits)

Choose from a wide selection of modules – for example, in engineering, personal finance, IT, social sciences or a modern language.

Decision to make

You can choose a gentle or standard start, depending on your experience and confidence with mathematics. See Am I ready? for more help and a diagnostic quiz.

Stages 2 and 3 (240 credits)

You’ll develop your own skills and knowledge of mathematics or mathematics with some statistics. Then, armed with a solid grounding yourself, you’ll study how to teach these subjects to school pupils, and the ways in which they learn – exploring how to explain and communicate mathematical and statistical ideas clearly and succinctly to others. You’ll also extend your experience in the use of appropriate mathematical software.



The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

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

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

Study skills for this qualification

The BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning begins with one of two modules: Discovering mathematics (MU123) (gentle start) or Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) (standard start). Your choice will depend on your experience and confidence with mathematics.

Visit our MathsChoices website for information about what each starting point involves, and to try some diagnostic quizzes. We strongly recommend that you take the gentle start if: you don’t score well on the standard start quiz; you’re not confident with algebra and trigonometry; you’ve not previously studied mathematics to an advanced level; you’ve not studied mathematics for some time and need to refresh your skills.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don't worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This fascinating, multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

The module is divided into three blocks:

Block 1: Life

Block 1 starts with biology and ecological ideas and uses varied examples to describe interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment while developing your study skills. You will learn about the unique role of humans, and explore how we have changed the environment to suit our needs through farming or conservation. You’ll consider how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have on the environment by introducing the ecological footprint model and look at sustainable living and how we can conserve declining species and habitats. This block also introduces key mathematical ideas and you will learn techniques to help you tackle everyday mathematical problems.  

Block 2: Water

Water is essential for life and fundamental to what we do. In Block 2 you’ll investigate how water has shaped our planet and our lives. You will learn and develop skills that will aid your understanding and use of a variety of tools used in science. You will also access the Open University Library and the wide variety of materials that this can offer. You will investigate the presence of water in potatoes and how water is required for yeast to respire in some home experiments, and through these home experiments, learn about how we can use experimental data to develop and refine hypotheses. Underpinning this is some essential mathematics and further computing skills to develop your study of science, technology and mathematics.

Block 3: Home

Block 3 introduces you to the subjects of design, engineering and computing around the central concept of home. You will find out how homes are designed, and can be designed better, through the use of engineering and computing. Block 3 is a practical block where you will complete a number of design, engineering, and computing activities and experiments. You’ll also be introduced to an online design studio where you will keep a portfolio of the work you do. You’ll also continue to learn mathematics and IT skills to support your developing knowledge of some computing and engineering concepts.

The module includes a DVD and website which include further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.

As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:

  • reading and interpreting information
  • producing written communications
  • time management and organisational skills
  • problem solving.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic IT skills you will need for the next step in your studies.

Please note that you will need access to the internet and a computer to study and pass this module. You will need to use a computer early on in the module but not straight away, so if you don’t currently have one you’ve got time to make arrangements. You can use your own computer or one at a library or drop-in centre.

On successful completion of this module you will receive an Open University Access Module Certificate.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
6 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

*The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees information for courses starting between 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016 will be available in March 2015.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632*.
  • Our current fee is £5,264* – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £15,792* based on our current fees.

Additional costs

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable than you might think. Options include Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you for courses starting before 1 August 2015. Updated information for courses starting after this will be available in March 2015.




How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study


Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • Only currently serving members of the British armed forces, who are temporarily and unavoidably working abroad and using BFPO addresses, are eligible to pay UK course fees for the total time spent outside the UK. Other students who are able to use BFPO addresses need to contact the Student Registration and Enquiry Service (SRS) Pricing Area Team on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees for courses starting from 1 August 2015 will be available in March 2015.

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

This degree provides good preparation and professional development for careers in teaching mathematics, or for jobs that require mathematical communication skills. This degree will also equip you with the mathematical skills and knowledge required for a range of jobs in government, business, accountancy, banking, management and administration, and the voluntary sector. This qualification will contribute to you gaining all grades of membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), from Student Membership to Chartered Mathematician status. It is widely accepted that a degree in mathematical subjects particularly enhances the following transferable and much sought-after skills. It will also equip you with highly-valued transferable skills, applicable to a wide range of jobs across all sectors:

  • communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
  • explaining mathematical ideas to others
  • understanding complex mathematical texts
  • working with abstract concepts
  • thinking logically
  • expressing problems in mathematical language
  • constructing logical arguments
  • working on open-ended problems
  • finding solutions to problems
  • interpreting mathematical results in real-world terms
  • analysing/interpreting data
  • using professional and relevant software.

Career relevance

If you’re thinking about teaching mathematics, or you’re already in teaching and want to improve and update your skills, this degree course is an excellent choice. Mathematical skills and knowledge are also sought after in fields such as finance, accountancy, engineering, science, defence, the pharmaceuticals industry and business. Other career areas directly related to mathematics include:

  • banking
  • bioinformatics
  • insurance
  • tax
  • investments
  • stockbroking/trading
  • retail
  • economics
  • market research
  • pensions
  • quantitative analysis/risk analysis.

Other careers

Mathematics graduates are employed in all areas of the public and private sectors, business and commerce, large and small firms, and in positions of responsibility that lead to management. A qualification in mathematics also offers opportunities for self-employment – as a financial adviser, for example.

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline – some may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • mathematics teacher
  • aeronautical engineer
  • lecturer
  • investment analyst
  • meteorologist
  • secondary school teacher
  • actuary
  • chartered accountant
  • corporate investment banker
  • financial risk analyst
  • operational researcher
  • systems developer
  • management consultant
  • auditor
  • pensions administrator.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

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