MSci Mathematical Sciences (Ecology and Evolution)

UCAS code GF17
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer AAA; IB: 36; BTEC: DDD
Discipline Mathematics
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


The modern application of mathematics operates at the interface of multiple disciplines, and integrates data analysis, computer science, and statistics. The explosion of ‘big data’, in sectors including genome sequencing, ‘eco-informatics’, and on-line consumer behaviour, means there is an urgent need for mathematicians who can handle complex datasets, communicate effectively, and fully understand the techniques, pitfalls, and potential of advanced mathematical methods.

Mathematical Sciences combines traditional mathematics subjects with advanced courses in statistics, programming, and data science, that will prepare students for the array of numerate and analytical professions that are found at the core of both modern research and the digital economy. There is an outward facing approach to mathematics with options available in ecology, business, engineering, social science, and environmental science. On completion of the programme students will have a deep understanding of the techniques and methods of modern mathematical sciences, and a clear insight into the industrial and scientific areas in which they are applied.

The four-year MSci degrees allow you to explore your mathematical interests to a greater depth and to obtain a higher level qualification than the standard three-year BSc degree.

MSci Mathematical Sciences (Ecology and Evolution)

Mathematics has played a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of ecology and evolution, building on the major scientific theories of Darwin, Fisher and others. The MSci Mathematical Sciences (Ecology and Evolution) programme offers you an opportunity to explore mathematics and statistics, and the development of underpinning theory relevant to applications in ecology and to understanding the evolution of life itself.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Year 1

The first year modules introduce you to the main areas of university-level mathematics, consolidating and building on the material you will have learned at A level. Alongside traditional core mathematical expertise, the Fundamentals of Interdisciplinary Mathematics module will give you problem-based learning skills around a number of important scientific themes. As a further key element of the programme you will develop skills for analysing and interpreting complex data, for which the Information Systems module provides the foundation.

Year 2

Core modules further develop fundamental concepts in mathematics and statistics whilst optional modules open up areas of applications of mathematics in science and technology. Problem-based learnings are strengthened in Fundamentals of Interdisciplinary Mathematics II. Data analysis skills are further enhanced in the Data, Signals and Systems and Statistical Modelling modules. Progression to the third year of the MSci programmes, or transfer from BSc to MSci Mathematical Sciences, is conditional on satisfactory performance in the second year.

Year 3

In the third year, a wide range of modules are available in both mathematics and in numerous important areas of science and technology. These give you the option to specialize in a specific area of mathematical sciences or to continue with a generalist mathematics programme. MSci students also have the option of studying in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand for half of the third year.

Year 4 (MSci Ecology and Evolution)

You will study modules in Ecological Dynamics and Advanced Statistical Methods as well as options in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, and Biodiversity and Conservation. The field course provides you with a unique opportunity to put your mathematical skills into action. The research project allows you to make an in-depth study in a chosen area of specialisation.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

A level

GCE AL Maths grade A

Candidates may offer GCE AL Maths, Pure Maths or Further Maths.


IB Maths HL6 and/or Analysis and Approaches

BTEC Extended Diploma (2010 and 2016)

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE AL Maths grade A

For any questions relating to entry requirements please contact the team via our online form or 01392 724061

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

By choosing to study mathematics in Cornwall you will have the opportunity to develop your core and advanced mathematical skills in an inspirational setting, and apply these skills to important global challenges including biodiversity, energy security, environmental change, human health and wildlife disease.

Your studies will benefit from

  • Research led teaching: all academic staff are research active and draw on close links to the Environment and Sustainability Institute or the European Centre for Environment and Human Health;
  • Flexibility and choice: many options in mathematics and across applied disciplines allow you to tailor your studies to your personal interests, eg, in mathematics, biology, geography and energy engineering;
  • Interactive learning and innovative assessment: many modules draw on research led activities that inspire inquiry and investigation. These activities include field trips, panel debates and expert-led discussions. Assessments are tailored to learning outcomes and include poster and oral presentations, computer code, technical reports and log books aimed at demonstrating your knowledge, skills and expertise;
  • Inspirational location: Cornwall is a perfect natural environment offering numerous opportunities for you to develop skills via hands-on experiences and to understand the challenges facing our planet.


A degree from Exeter is highly valued by employers. Management and personal skills are built into our programmes and our students take advantage of the wide range of extracurricular and personal development opportunities offered by the University, from study abroad (for certain programmes) to volunteering and playing an active role in student societies.

We have excellent links with employers and support students to consider their careers from an early stage. Our Employability Officer is active in developing aspects of our programmes and services that improve the employability of our students. We also have a dedicated Careers Consultant who provides specific services such as careers workshops tailored to careers in mathematics and support in matters such as applications and job interview skills. The Career Zone runs several careers fairs throughout the year and these have been particularly successful in putting major UK employers in touch with Exeter students. Relevant employers visit the department from the first year to meet with students, with the aim of helping them to develop their career ideas at an early enough stage to help with module choices and placement decisions.

Each year a number of our graduating students choose to undertake further study and there is a fast track application process for Exeter students to our postgraduate programmes. Of those choosing the postgraduate route, around half choose to remain at Exeter, which reflects well on their satisfaction with the University and the range of courses available.

A wide range of employers from industries as diverse as banking, insurance, medical, transport, power generation, software, and the armed forces, know the department as a provider of excellent graduates who are able to apply their problem solving and analytical skills in the real world.

Find out more about what the Employability Service offers.

Destinations of recent graduates

Here are just a few examples of the destinations of our recent graduates:

  • Occupations
  • Software Engineer
  • Sport Analyst
  • Audit Assistant
  • Trainee Health Economist
  • Pricing Analyst
  • Corporate Tax Assistant
  • Junior Consultant
  • Maths Teacher
  • Market Risk Analyst


  • Renishaw
  • Centrica
  • Siemens
  • KPMG
  • Allianz
  • BP
  • HSBC
  • Towers Watson
  • 3M
  • Ford
  • The Met Office

Examples of further study followed by our graduates

  • MSc Environmental Economics, University College London
  • MSc Modern Applications of Mathematics, University of Bath
  • PGCE Primary Mathematics, University of Exeter
  • PhD Mathematics and Plant Science, University of Nottingham
  • PGCE Secondary Mathematics, Oxford Brookes University
  • MSc Economics, University of Exeter

Contact us

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

We are more than happy to meet with prospective students to discuss the programme in greater detail. Please contact us to arrange a visit to the Penryn campus to meet with the mathematical sciences academic staff, wewill normally be able to accommodate your visit with just a few days’ notice. Alternatively, we can also discuss by phone or email.

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Mathematics website

Why study in Cornwall?

The University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus offers the very latest academic, research and residential facilities and is made up of around 4,000 students providing a friendly and energetic atmosphere.

Cornwall has created a strong, sustainable economy, with a diverse mix of industries and internationally renowned strengths in the environmental, marine, aerospace, Information Communications Technology (ICT), creative and food and drink sectors.

The Penryn Campus rates consistently in the Top 10 for student satisfaction.

Campus tours

Campus tours enable you to see the campus facilities and view the halls of residence; they run every Wednesday and Friday afternoon at 13:30 and last for an hour and a half.

If you would like to visit the Penryn Campus to find out more about what we have to offer, please visit our Penryn Campus tours page.

If you have any queries about visiting our Penryn Campus, please contact us on:

Telephone: 01326 371801

Web: Enquire online