In Conversation With... a Mathematics lecturer

Nino Folic, a Mathematics lecturer, speaks with a member of our Outreach team as part of our In Conversation With series.

Marina from our Outreach department caught up with Nino Folic to find out more about our mathematics courses and what makes them so unique!

Could you give a brief overview of what students study during a mathematics degree?

We have several different courses in mathematics including Mathematical Sciences and Mathematics. The vast majority of the topics are the same but there are some differences depending on what students want to specialise in and the entry requirements.

We cover calculus and analysis, linear algebra, abstract algebra, game theory, modelling. Then we also cover statistics in all three levels of all three years of our degree. And also we have programming style modules where we teach a particular computer algebra system called Maple and use Maple to solve mathematical problems.

Are there any common misconceptions about studying mathematics?

Yes, there are some. Mathematics is a subject that usually attracts people who don't like writing. It seems to be common. I'm like that, but it's a very important fact. And we develop writing skills throughout the course, through our report writing and in some cases even essay writing if students decide to do something that we call the Extension of Knowledge module.

Another thing is that a lot of students come to the degree thinking that they are going to be doing just differentiation, integration and solving algebraic equations because A-level maths is mainly that. But we also have abstract algebra where our focus is on the connection between the concepts and rules and operations that govern them within the whole. The idea is to generalise some of the results and see the connection between the different branches of mathematics as well.

What about when students are applying to the mathematics course? Is there anything that you're particularly looking for in personal statements?

What we are looking for is what is the motivation? What is the reason for studying mathematics? What are the topics in mathematics that the applicant is particularly interested in? What is their aim or purpose for studying mathematics? What future career do they want to pursue after studying mathematics? And also, we are interested to see any hobbies, anything that students are interested in outside of the course, just to see what kind of individual they are.


Illustration of Nino Folic

"What we are looking for is what is the motivation? What is the reason for studying mathematics?"