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Natural Sciences Tripos


Mathematics options in Part IA (the first year).

A level Mathematics is an essential entry requirement, and all students take one of the two Maths courses on offer.


This course is generally for those following the physical sciences routes and is expected to be taken if a student takes Physics in the first year.

The subject matter of this course is drawn from mathematical techniques used in the physical sciences and includes lectures on vector calculus, vector algebra, matrices, complex numbers, ordinary and partial differential equations, elementary probability theory, and computing techniques.

There are two options within Mathematics.
Course A will be followed by most students and provides a thorough grounding in methods of mathematical science and contains everything prerequisite for all physical-science courses in Part IB of the Natural Sciences Tripos.
Course B contains additional material for those students who find mathematics rewarding in its own right, and it proceeds at a significantly faster pace.

Mathematics is run by the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, in the University of Cambridge Faculty of Mathematics. More information can be found here.


Mathematical Biology

This course is generally for those following the biological sciences routes.

Mathematical Biology provides a broad base for further studies across all of biology and is the primary choice by our biology students. The course also provides sufficient mathematical background for certain “physical” subjects in Part IB and Part II, and students reading Mathematical Biology in Part IA have successfully gone on to later studies in, for example, Chemistry and Earth Sciences (although in some cases additional study over the long vacation between first and second year is required).

Mathematical Biology is a joint course taught by staff from across all our biological departments. More information on the course content can be found here.


Any student who is concerned about their mathematical background should discuss this with their Director of Studies before or soon after arriving in Cambridge, and in some cases it is likely that their College will be able to make extra support available, such as extra supervisions.