Questions about the MAS Programme
1. What constitutes Mathematical Sciences?
Mathematical Sciences describes a broad range of topics relating to mathematics, statistics and their applications. It includes areas commonly known as Pure Mathematics, Applied and Computational Mathematics, and Statistics. Certain subfields of computer science, engineering, life sciences, physical sciences and social sciences, where mathematical methods play an important role, are also included.
In the Mathematical Sciences major programme, students can choose to focus on one of several tracks (Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Business Analytics) – hence the name of the major.
2. What are my career prospect with a degree in Mathematical Sciences?
A BSc (Hons) degree in Mathematical Sciences equips a graduate with the skills for a wide range of careers in both the private and public sectors. Organisations in Singapore where graduates in Mathematical Sciences have found satisfying careers include: banks, insurance companies, IT companies, SIA, PSA, the education service, DSO National Laboratories, various government ministries (Defence, Home Affairs, Health, Trade and Industry, etc.), as well as Research and Development (R&D) organisations.
The jobs secured by previous Mathematical Sciences graduates include: actuary, computer analyst, computer programmer, cryptologist, data analyst, financial analyst, financial planner, investment analyst, market research analyst, numerical analyst, operations research analyst, quality control analyst, research scientist, resource management analyst, software analyst, statistician, systems analyst, teacher, transportation analyst, etc. Other graduates have found employment in non-technical positions such as administrators, where their training in analytical and problem-solving skills also come in handy.
Here are some other helpful websites providing answers to this question:
3. What are the requirements for applying to the major in Mathematical Sciences?
Click here for our admission requirements. Broadly speaking, you need a good pass in A-Level Mathematics or its equivalent. If you are a diploma holder from a polytechnic in Singapore, you should preferably have done well in several mathematics courses.
4. Would I be disadvantaged if I did not do Further Mathematics at A-Level?
The curriculum for our Mathematical Sciences major programme does not assume knowledge of A-Level Further Mathematics. Students who have studied A-Level Further Mathematics might have a slightly better background, but the main things that matter are each student's readiness to learn, ability to absorb new knowledge, and effort put into the subject.
5. How does Mathematical Sciences in the university differ from the Mathematics we learnt in junior college or polytechnic?
For one thing, you can expect to learn a wide range of new mathematical topics (both pure and applied) which are not covered in pre-university curricula. Moreover, Mathematical Sciences at the university level places special emphasis on thinking and reasoning in a logical and rigorous way, and arriving at deep understandings of concepts and proofs (which can include eventually developing one's own concepts and proofs).
6. What are the special features and strengths of the undergraduate programme in Mathematical Sciences at NTU?
Similar to many other undergraduate programmes in the Mathematical Sciences, our programme aims to equip the graduates with strong logical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Compared to some other Mathematics or Mathematical Sciences programmes, ours stands out in the following ways:
- Our curriculum incorporates computational elements in many places, as we believe that information technology (IT) skills are increasingly important both in the workplace and in mathematical research. Apart from a compulsory course in scientific programming, many courses include a programming component.
- Special challenges for outstanding students. We offer "Advanced Investigations" courses that are taken in tandem with our regular courses (calculus, linear algebra, etc.), and enrich the material by introducing additional challenging problems to solve. At higher levels, we provide a variety of Special Courses and the opportunity to pursue a research project under the personal supervision of a faculty member.
- Our programme is deliberately interdisciplinary in nature, in recognition of the important role played by mathematics and statistics in science, engineering and social sciences. Our curriculum is not limited to courses from the Division of Mathematical Sciences; it also includes prescribed electives offered by many other schools, which can be used to help fulfill the programme's coursework requirements.
7. What do the "tracks" in the major programme refer to?
Once each student has acquired a strong set of mathematical fundamentals, it is important to specialize in one area for advanced study. We have organized the programme into four distinct tracks – Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Business Analytics.
- Pure Mathematics focuses on theoretical and foundational issues, as well as proving techniques. It is ideal for students who enjoy mathematics for the beauty and rigour of the subject, as well as those planning to pursue a career in mathematics research or education.
- Applied Mathematics is concerned with the development and use of mathematical methods that have scientific, technological, or business applications. Emphasis is given to problem-solving and IT skills that are useful in tackling real-world problems. Students are encouraged to learn about disciplines outside mathematics, such as engineering, computer science, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, etc.
- Statistics is about the collection, analysis and interpretation of numerical data. It has important and specialized applications in biological sciences, economics and finance, computer science, etc. Students in this track are encouraged to venture into some of those application areas, to gain better insight into how statistical techniques are used in practice.
- Business Analytics is about the application of advanced mathematical methods for optimizing, predicting and decision-making in the business world. This includes topics such as Optimization, Operations Research, Data Mining, Time Series Analysis, etc. This track includes courses from the Nanyang Business School and the School of Computer Engineering.
For Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics, the choice of track only needs to be made in the second year of study. For the Business Analytics track, some additional advance planning is necessary, due to the need to take courses from other schools. Click here for the curriculum details.
8. After I have chosen one track, can I still read courses from the other tracks?
Yes. Within the curriculum, there is some room (a few AU) in each track for students to read any MH3XXX/4XXX course as Prescribed Electives (so long as course prerequisites are met). You can also take courses from other tracks as Unrestricted Electives.
9. Can I complete the degree in less than 4 years?
While the programme is structured for four years of study, students who can handle more than 18 AU per semester can accelerate their studies and graduate sooner; click here for information about the Accelerated Bachelor Programme. If a student meets the prerequisites for a particular course, he/she is permitted to read it. However, we do not advise students to overload in every semester, so that they have ample time to gain an in-depth understanding of the material.
Students who enter the programme with exceptional amounts of prior preparation might be granted some course exemptions. For inquiries, please email SPMS_UG_Adm@ntu.edu.sg.
10. As a Mathematical Sciences major, will I need to read other science courses (e.g., physics or chemistry)?
For Mathematical Sciences majors in the Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics tracks, there are no requirements to read physics or chemistry courses (although we do encouorage students to broaden their knowledge and build up interdisciplinary interests). For students in the Business Analytics track, some courses in the Nanyang Business School are required.
For students in joint programmes, courses in the allied discipline are obviously required; for example, the Mathematical Sciences and Economics (Double Major) programme requires taking Economics classes.
11. I am interested in Actuarial Science. Does your programme prepare students to become actuaries?
Actuarial Science is an interdisciplinary field involving a combination of skills from mathematics, statistics, econonomics, finance, etc. To qualify as a full-fledged actuary is very demanding, and involves passing a series of professional examinations as well as several years of working experience. To our knowledge, no degree program in any university automatically qualifies its graduates as actuaries.
A good undergraduate program in Mathematical Sciences can be an excellent preparation for becoming an actuary, and may even enable the student to obtain exemptions from some stages of the professional examinations. Students in the Mathematical Sciences and Economics (Double Major) programme are particularly advantaged, because of their extra exposure to economics and finance topics.
To take an example, at a popular Actuarial Science programme at the London School of Economics, abour 3/4 of the BSc in Actuarial Science programme overlaps with our Track in Statistics, while most of the remaining ones are covered by the economics portions of the Double Major in Mathematical Sciences and Economics programme.
Questions about the Minor in Mathematics
1. Is there an entry requirement to take a Minor in Mathematics?
No, except that you must satisfy the prerequisites for each course you choose to read.
2. Can the School help me if there are clashes in the time-table?
Unfortunately not. It is the responsibility of the students to ensure that there are no clashes in their class and examination time-tables.
3. If I am not in the Minor programme, can I just take one Course?
Students who do not intend to pursue a Minor in Mathematics, but who are interested in reading some mathematics courses, may certainly also do so. However, note that most MAS courses have a quota for enrolment, due to constraints in available teaching resources. Priority is given to students who need to complete the course to fulfill major or minor requirements.
4. Will I be dropped from the Minor programme if I fail a MHXXXX course?
No. If you fail a course, you can always read it again the next time it is offered, or even read a different Course to fulfill the requirements of the Minor in Mathematics. So long as you satisfy all the requirements by the time you graduate, you will graduate with the Minor in Mathematics. If, for some reason, you are unable to complete the requirements for the Minor in Mathematics by the time of your graduation, then you will simply graduate without the minor.
5. The curriculum for my major includes some mathematics. Can the credits from those courses count towards the Minor in Mathematics?
No. Credits from the same course cannot count towards both a major and a minor.
6. Some MAS courses topics overlap with courses in my major. Can I still read MAS courses on topics I have already learnt?
You are strongly advised and encouraged to read something different in this case – and there are enough MAS courses for you to choose from to avoid such overlaps. The intended purpose of a minor is to help you build expertise in a subject beyond your major. Reading MAS Courses that overlap significantly with courses in your major defeats this purpose. You are missing a great opportunity to add value to your education!
7. Some MAS courses topics overlap with courses in my major. Can I use the courses from my major to fulfill course prerequisites for MAS courses?
This will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors like the extent of the overlap, the approach used, etc. For inquiries, please email SPMSUndgrad@ntu.edu.sg.
Questions about Final Year Project (FYP) / Internship / Attachment
1. Can I do both the Final Year Project and an Internship/Attachment?
For students who matriculated in Academic Year 2015/2016 or earlier, the MH4901 (Professional Attachment) module can be taken regardless of whether the student is doing or planning to do the Final Year Project (FYP). Students who are doing (or planning to do) the FYP should read MH4901 as an Unrestricted Elective; thhose who are not doing the FYP should read MH4901 as a Major Prescribed Elective.
For students who matriculated in Academic Year 2016/2017 or later, those doing (or planning to do) a Final Year Project are not allowed to take MH4903 (Professional Internship), the 22-week long internship programme. However, it is still possible to take the 12-week attachment, MH4907 (Professional Attachment), as an Unrestricted Elective.
2. Can I choose not to do the Final Year Project or an Internship?
For most of our programmes, the answer is yes. You simply have to make up the remaining AU through other courses in the chosen track; please consult the curriculum for details. Please note that students are only eligible to graduate with Honours (Highest Distinction) if they take the Final Year Project, and obtain a grade of A- or better.
However, the Double Major programme in Mathematical Sciences and Economics does require a Final Year Project.
3. How do I choose between Final Year Project and Internship?
It depends on each student's needs. The Final Year Project is strongly encouraged for students who intend to pursue further studies (at the Master and/or PhD level). Students who have a strong interest in building a career may benefit from doing an internship.
Please also note that students are only eligible to graduate with Honours (Highest Distinction) if they take the Final Year Project, and obtain a grade of A- or better.
4. I am doing a Double Major in Mathematical Sciences and Economics. Can my Final Year Project supervisor be from the Division of Economics?
For students pursuing a Double Major in Mathematical Sciences and Economics, the Final Year Project (MH4900) must have an MAS faculty member as the main supervisor. If the project covers both Mathematics and Economics disciplines, students can choose a co-supervisor from the Division of Economics.
5. Will I be automatically granted Honours (Highest Distinction) if I do the Final Year Project?
No, you will need to satisfy all the requirements for Honours (Highest Distinction). This includes receiving an FYP grade of A- or above.
6. How do I prepare the Final Year Project proposal?
The proposal should be no more than 2 pages, and it should succinctly describe the motivation/significance of the project, the fundamental problems and underlying difficulties, and your research plan and methods. For more detailed advice, please consult the faculty member who has agreed to be your supervisor.
7. How do I prepare for the FYP presentation?
A good FYP presentation should cover the following ground:
- General introduction to the project
- Motivations and relevance
- Difficulties and your specific goals
- Relevant highlights from your literature review
- Your choice of methods / techniques / equipment
- Your main results, outline of the proofs and/or the experiments you conducted
- Your insights and conclusions
- Some ideas for extending your work
For more detailed advice, please consult your supervisor.
8. How do I write the Final Year Project thesis?
Here are some basic requirements and tips:
- The thesis should be prepared in Word or LaTeX, formatted for printing on A4 paper with appropriate fonts (Word: Arial 11; LaTeX: Computer Modern 11pt). A good size for margins is 2.5 cm top and bottom, 2 cm on the right and at least 2.5 cm on the left (maybe more, depending on the binding process).
- The title page should contain the project title, your name, the purpose of the project (“it is submitted as part of the honours requirements”), the name of supervise/co-supervisor, the submission date (month and year), and the Division (“Division of Mathematical Sciences, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University”). The next page should contain an Abstract. The page after that may be used for Acknowledgements.
- There should be a table of contents, listing the chapters, sections and sub-sections (if any), each with its page number. Do not subdivide any further.
- After the table of contents, you may incldue separate lists of figures, tables, and/or code segments.
- Chapters constitute the main body of the thesis. In all, they should occupy about 30–50 pages (single-spaced). Writing more than 50 pages is discouraged.
- A list of references, and possibly an annotated bibliography, should follow the main body. References should use the commonly used styles (including author and year).
- You may include appendices containing relevant but secondary material (e.g., program listings) may be added. Appendices help to keep the main text more focused.
9. What are the marking criteria for Final Year Project?
The FYP grade consists of:
- FYP thesis (40%)
- FYP presentation (25%)
- FYP middle-term progress report (35%)