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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 how people learn and use mathematics. You'll also gain a good grounding in pure and applied mathematics and statistics. The BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning can also help you gain recognition from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q46 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree, but we offer four pathways, depending on your interests and your experience and confidence with mathematics.

In order to complete your studies at Level 3 in this degree, you will need access to learners of mathematics working at Key Stages 2 to 4.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

You'll be well placed for a career in teaching mathematics, or for a career that requires communicating mathematically. 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. It will contribute to you gaining Chartered Mathematician status from the professional body, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and some of the modules in this degree give exemption from specific Royal Statistical Society examinations. You can view or download our Recognition leaflet 3.6 and Recognition leaflet 3.11 for further information.

It's widely accepted that a degree in statistics and the mathematical sciences particularly enhances the following transferable and much sought-after skills:

  • 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.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The programme aims that you should:

  • be able to understand the notion of a mathematical approach
  • have a foundation in mathematics, statistics and mathematics education
  • be able to use mathematical thinking in a range of situations
  • be aware of the ways that people learn mathematics
  • have an awareness of, and facility with, ICT in the learning of mathematics.

You should acquire both of the following:

  • familiarity with the essential ideas of pure mathematics and the ability to recognise a rigorous mathematical proof
  • an ability to apply the main tools of applied mathematics (including mathematical methods, mathematical modelling and numerical analysis).

You should:

  • be able to use a modern mathematical computer software package
  • be aware of some uses of modelling in real world situations
  • be able to follow complex mathematical arguments, and to create short arguments of your own
  • experience study in some breadth and depth in mathematics and mathematics education
  • develop the capability for manipulating abstract concepts
  • be able to communicate mathematical and statistical ideas, arguments and conclusions effectively
  • acquire the skills necessary to use mathematics in employment.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will know and understand:

  • the basic elements of linear algebra, analysis and group theory; the basic concepts behind, and the application of, mathematical methods for differential equations, vector calculus, multi-variable functions, numerical analysis, Newtonian mechanics and mathematical modelling; basic methods for analysing data, probability models and statistical inference
  • the mathematical and/or statistical concepts and methods included in the chosen electives.

You will develop an understanding of:

  • the role of mathematical thinking
  • some current issues in mathematics education
  • different theories relating to the teaching and learning of mathematics
  • connections between different mathematical topics, between mathematics and other subjects and between mathematics and the world.

Cognitive skills

You will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability in mathematical and statistical manipulation and calculation
  • an ability to assemble relevant information for proofs and construct appropriate mathematical arguments, and exercise judgment in selection and application of a wide range of mathematical and statistical tools and techniques
  • an ability to create appropriate mathematical and statistical models and draw justifiable inferences
  • qualitative and quantitative problem-solving skills
  • an ability to reason with abstract concepts
  • an ability to approach mathematical problems and tasks in a flexible way.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will be able to:

  • apply mathematical and statistical concepts and principles
  • analyse and evaluate criteria and specifications appropriate to specific problems and plan strategies for their solutions
  • use information technology with confidence to acquire and present mathematical and statistical knowledge and data, to model and solve problems and to develop mathematical and statistical insight
  • develop and use mathematical resources effectively with learners
  • recognise opportunities where learners can be encouraged to develop their mathematical thinking.

Key skills

You will be able to:

  • apply appropriate mathematical and numeracy skills
  • become an independent learner
  • communicate relevant information accurately and effectively, using a form, structure and style that suits the purpose
  • use and apply mathematical and statistical software and information technology
  • use skills to improve own learning and performance to the extent that you are prepared for lifelong learning after graduation
  • articulate personal strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning mathematics.

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