A Level Requirements
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Full time 4 Year(s)
Statistics help us study and overcome scientific, industrial and social problems; it supports everything from architecture and engineering to health and medicine. Develop Masters-level skills and knowledge to engage with these advanced issues and prepare for a rewarding career.
Statistics is concerned with the fundamental and advanced concepts of data handling and our statisticians become experts in data collection, analysis, and presentation. This is an engaging programme of study and our reputation for excellence in research means that we are able to offer high-quality teaching delivered by academics who are leaders in their field. Our four year integrated Masters gives you the opportunity for deeper specialisation in statistics and the chance to develop your research skills by undertaking a dissertation or industry research project.
During your first year, you will build on your previous knowledge and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts. Modules cover a wide range of topics from calculus, probability and statistics to logic, proofs and theorems. As well as developing your technical knowledge and statistical skills, you will also enhance your data analysis, problem-solving and quantitative reasoning skills.
In the second year, you will further develop your knowledge in analysis, algebra, probability and statistics. You will also be introduced to Computational Mathematics, exploring the theory and application of computation and numerical problem-solving methods. While studying these topics you will complete our Project Skills module, which provides you with the chance to enhance your research and employment skills through an individual and group project. Additionally, you will gain experience of scientific writing, and you will practise using statistical software such as R and LaTeX.
Beyond second year, we offer a wide range of specialist optional modules, allowing you to develop and drive the programme to suit your interests and guide you to a specific career pathway. In third year, you will put the skills and knowledge you have gained so far into practice as your study begins to really focus in on advanced statistics. These modules include: Likelihood Inference, Bayesian Inference, Medical Statistics, and Multivariate Statistics in Machine Learning.
In the fourth year, you will be able to widen your knowledge and skills by selecting from a pool of optional Masters-level modules. Some of these will be familiar from third year, while others will be new to this year. These advanced modules allow you to exercise what you have learnt during the programme, while expanding and evolving your statistical skill set further.
You will also complete a major research project in statistics, guided by your interests and supervised by an active researcher, or undertaken as part of a collaborative industry project. This will cement your learning, provide you with valuable experience and position you for a career in statistics or academia and research.
MSci Statistics (Study Abroad)
In addition to our MSci degree, we also offer a MSci Statistics (Study Abroad) programme. As well as studying at Lancaster, this programme allows you to spend a year gaining valuable knowledge and develop specialist skills at one of our partner institutions in North America. You will get to experience an exciting new culture, explore another country and gain insight into academic life overseas, while expanding your professional network.
A Level AAA including A level Mathematics or Further Mathematics OR AAB including A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics
IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 36 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in Mathematics HL
BTEC May be accepted alongside A level Mathematics grade A and Further Mathematics grade A
Access to HE Diploma May occasionally be accepted
STEP Paper or the Test of Mathematics for University Admission Please note it is not a compulsory entry requirement to take these tests, but for applicants who are taking any of the papers alongside Mathematics and/or Further Mathematics we may be able to make a more favourable offer. Full details can be found on the Mathematics and Statistics webpage.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module provides the student with an understanding of functions, limits, and series, and knowledge of the basic techniques of differentiation and integration. We introduce examples of functions and their graphs, and techniques for building new functions from old. We then consider the notion of a limit and introduce the main tools of calculus and Taylor Series. Students will also learn how to add, multiply and divide polynomials, and be introduced to rational functions and their partial fractions.
The exponential function is defined by means of a power series which is subsequently extended to the complex exponential function of an imaginary variable, so that students understand the connection between analysis, trigonometry and geometry. The trigonometric and hyperbolic functions are introduced in parallel with analogous power series so that students understand the role of functional identities. Such functional identities are later used to simplify integrals and to parametrise geometrical curves.
This module provides a rigorous overview of real numbers, sequences and continuity. Covering bounds, monotonicity, subsequences, invertibility, and the intermediate value theorem, among other topics, students will become familiar with definitions, theorems and proofs.
Examining a range of examples, students will become accustomed to mathematical writing and will develop an understanding of mathematical notation. Through this module, students will also gain an appreciation of the importance of proof, generalisation and abstraction in the logical development of formal theories, and develop an ability to imagine and ‘see’ complicated mathematical objects.
In addition to learning and developing subject specific knowledge, students will enhance their ability to assimilate information from different presentations of material; learn to apply previously acquired knowledge to new situations; and develop their communication skills.
Students are introduced to the basic ideas and notations involved in describing sets and their functions. The module helps students to formalise the idea of the size of a set and what it means to be finite, countably infinite or uncountably finite. For finite sets, we can say that one is bigger than another if it contains more elements. What about infinite sets? Are some infinite sets bigger than others? We develop the tools to answer these questions and other counting problems, such as those involving recurrence relations, e.g. the Fibonacci numbers.
Rather than counting objects, we might be interested in connections between them, leading to the study of graphs and networks – collections of nodes joined by edges. There are many applications of this theory in designing or understanding properties of systems, such as the infrastructure powering the internet, social networks, the London Underground and the global ecosystem.
This module extends the theory of calculus from functions of a single real variable to functions of two real variables. Students will learn more about the notions of differentiation and integration and how they extend from functions defined on a line to functions defined on the plane. We see how partial derivatives help us to understand surfaces, while repeated integrals enable us to calculate volumes. Students will also investigate complex polynomials and use De Moivre’s theorem to calculate complex roots.
In mathematical models, it is common to use functions of several variables. For example, the speed of an airliner can depend upon the air pressure, temperature and wind direction. To study functions of several variables, we introduce rates of change with respect to several quantities. We learn how to find maxima and minima. Applications include the method of least squares. Finally, we investigate various methods for solving differential equations of one variable.
The main focus of this course is vectors in two and three-dimensional space. We start off with the definition of vectors and we see some applications to finding equations of lines and planes. We then consider some different ways of describing curves and surfaces via equations or parameters, and we use partial differentiation to determine tangent lines and planes, as well as using integration to calculate the length of a curve.
In the second half of the course, we study functions of several variables. When attempting to calculate an integral over one variable, we often substitute one variable for another more convenient one; here we will see the equivalent technique for a double integral, where we have to substitute two variables simultaneously. We also investigate some methods for finding maxima and minima of a function subject to certain conditions.
Finally, we discuss how to calculate the areas of various surfaces and the volumes of various solids.
Building on MATH113, this module explores the familiar topics of integration, series and differentiation, and develops them further. Taking a different approach, students will learn about the concept of integrability of continuous functions; improper integrals of continuous functions; the definition of differentiability for functions; and the algebra of differentiation.
Applying the skills and knowledge gained from this module, students will tackle questions such as: “Can you sum up infinitely many numbers and get a finite number?”. Students will also enhance their knowledge and understanding of the fundamental theorem of calculus.
Introducing the theory of matrices together with some basic applications, students will learn essential techniques such as arithmetic rules, row operations and computation of determinants by expansion about a row or a column.
The second part of the module covers a notable range of applications of matrices, such as solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, linear transformations, characteristic equation and eigenvectors and eigenvalues.
This module introduces the student to logic and mathematical proofs, with emphasis placed on proving general theorems than on performing calculations. This is because a result which can be applied to many different cases is clearly more powerful than a calculation that deals only with a single specific case.
We take a look at the language and structure of mathematical proofs in general, emphasising how logic can be used to express mathematical arguments in a concise and rigorous manner. These ideas are then applied to the study of number theory, establishing several fundamental results such as Bezout’s Theorem on highest common factors and the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic on prime factorisations.
The concept of congruence of integers is introduced to students and they study the idea that a highest common factor can be generalised from the integers to polynomials.
Probability theory is the study of chance phenomena, the concepts of which are fundamental to the study of statistics. This module will introduce students to some simple combinatorics, set theory and the axioms of probability.
Students will become aware of the different probability models used to characterise the outcomes of experiments that involve a chance or random component. The module covers ideas associated with the axioms of probability, conditional probability, independence, discrete random variables and their distributions, expectation and probability models.
To enable students to achieve a solid understanding of the broad role that statistical thinking plays in addressing scientific problems, the module begins with a brief overview of statistics in science and society and then moves on to the selection of appropriate probability models to describe systematic and random variations of discrete and continuous real data sets. Students will learn to implement statistical techniques and to draw clear and informative conclusions.
The module will be supported by the statistical software package ‘R’, which forms the basis of weekly lab sessions. Students will develop a strategic understanding of statistics and the use of associated software, and this underpins the skills needed for all subsequent statistical modules of the degree.
This module builds on the binary operations studies in previous modules, such as addition or multiplication of numbers and composition of functions. Here you’ll select a small number of properties which these and other examples have in common, and use them to define a group.
You’ll also consider the elementary properties of groups. It turns out that several surprisingly elegant results can be proved fairly simply! By looking at maps between groups which 'preserve structure' you’ll discover a way of formalizing (and extending) the natural concept of what it means for two groups to be 'the same'.
Ring theory provides a framework for studying sets with two binary operations: addition and multiplication. This gives us a way to abstractly model various number systems, proving results that can be applied in many different situations, such as number theory and geometry. Familiar examples of rings include the integers, the integers modulation, the rational numbers, matrices and polynomials, but you’ll meet several less familiar examples too.
Complex Analysis has its origins in differential calculus and the study of polynomial equations.
In this module you’ll consider the differential calculus of functions of a single complex variable and study power series and mappings by complex functions. You’ll use integral calculus of complex functions to find elegant and important results, including the fundamental theorem of algebra, and you’ll also use classical theorems to evaluate real integrals.
The module ends with basic discussion of harmonic functions, which play a significant role in physics.
Students will gain a solid understanding of computation and computer programming within the context of maths and statistics. This module expands on five key areas:
Under these headings, students will study a range of complex mathematical concepts, such as: data structures, fixed-point iteration, higher dimensions, first and second derivatives, non-parametric bootstraps, and modified Euler methods.
Throughout the module, students will gain an understanding of general programming and algorithms. They will develop a good level of IT skills and familiarity with computer tools that support mathematical computation.
Over the course of this module, students will have the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills into practice. Workshops, based in dedicated computing labs, allow them to gain relatable, practical experience of computational mathematics.
This module will give you the opportunity to study vector spaces, together with their structure-preserving maps and their relationship to matrices.
You’ll consider the effect of changing bases on the matrix representing one of these maps, and will examine how to choose bases so that this matrix is as simple as possible. Part of your study will also involve looking at the concepts of length and angle with regard to vector spaces.
Probability provides the theoretical basis for statistics and is of interest in its own right.
You’ll revisit basic concepts from the first year probability module, and extend these to encompass continuous random variables, investigating several important continuous probability distributions.
You’ll then focus on transformations of random variables and groups of two or more random variables, leading to two theoretical results about the behaviour of averages of large numbers of random variables which have important practical consequences in statistics.
Project Skills is a module designed to support and develop a range of key technical and professional skills that will be valuable for all career paths. Covering five major components, this module will guide students through and explore:
Students will gain an excellent grasp of LaTeX, learning to prepare mathematical documents; display mathematical symbols and formulae; create environments; and present tables and figures.
Scientific writing, communication and presentations skills will also be developed. Students will work on short and group projects to investigate mathematical or statistical topics, and present these in written reports and verbal presentations.
In this module you’ll take a thorough look at the limits of sequences and convergence of series. You’ll learn to extend the notion of a limit to functions, leading to the analysis of differentiation, including proper proofs of techniques learned at A-level.
You’ll spend time studying the Intermediate Value Theorem and the Mean Value Theorem, and will discover that they have many applications of widely differing kinds. The next topic is new: sequences and series of functions (rather than just numbers), which again has many applications and is central to more advanced analysis.
Next we put the notion of integration under the microscope. Once it’s properly defined (via limits), you’ll learn how to get from this definition to the familiar technique of evaluating integrals by reverse differentiation. You’ll also explore some applications of integration that are quite different from the ones in A-level, such as estimations of discrete sums of series.
Further possible topics include Stirling's Formula, infinite products and Fourier series.
Statistics is the science of understanding patterns of population behaviour from data.
In this module we approach this problem by specifying a statistical model for the data. Statistical models usually include a number of unknown parameters, which need to be estimated.
You’ll focus on likelihood-based parameter estimation to demonstrate how statistical models can be used to draw conclusions from observations and experimental data, and also considering linear regression techniques within the statistical modelling framework.
Bayesian statistics provides a mechanism for making decisions in the presence of uncertainty. Using Bayes’ theorem, knowledge or rational beliefs are updated as fresh observations are collected. The purpose of the data collection exercise is expressed through a utility function, which is specific to the client or user. It defines what is to be gained or lost through taking particular actions in the current environment. Actions are continually made or not made depending on the expectation of this utility function at any point in time.
Bayesians admit probability as the sole measure of uncertainty. Thus Bayesian reasoning is based on a firm axiomatic system. In addition, since most people have an intuitive notion about probability, Bayesian analysis is readily communicated.
Combinatorics is the core subject of discrete mathematics which refers to the study of mathematical structures that are discrete in nature rather than continuous (for example graphs, lattices, designs and codes). While combinatorics is a huge subject - with many important connections to other areas of modern mathematics - it is a very accessible one.
In this module you’ll be introduced to the fundamental topics of combinatorial enumeration (sophisticated counting methods), graph theory (graphs, networks and algorithms), and combinatorial design theory (Latin squares and block designs). You’ll also explore important practical applications of the results and methods.
This module considers questions relating to linear ordinary differential equations. While explicit solutions can only be found for special types of equations, some of the ideas of real analysis allow us to answer questions about the existence and uniqueness of solutions to more general equations as well as allowing us to study certain properties of these solutions.
This module gives you a solid foundation in the basics of algebraic geometry. You’ll explore how curves can be described by algebraic equations, and learn how to understand and use abstract groups in dealing with geometrical objects (curves).
You’ll also gain an understanding of the notions and the main results pertaining to elliptic curves, and the way that algebra and geometry are linked via polynomial equations. Finally you’ll learn to perform algebraic computations with elliptic curves.
This module formally introduces students to the discipline of financial mathematics, providing them with an understanding of some of the maths that is used in the financial and business sectors.
Students will begin to encounter financial terminology and will study both European and American option pricing. The module will cover these in relation to discrete and continuous financial models, which include binomial, finite market and Black-Scholes models.
Students will also explore mathematical topics, some of which may be familiar, specifically in relation to finance. These include:
Throughout the module, students will learn key financial maths skills, such as constructing binomial tree models; determining associated risk-neutral probability; performing calculations with the Black-Scholes formula; and proving various steps in the derivation of the Black-Scholes formula. They will also be able to describe basic concepts of investment strategy analysis, and perform price calculations for stocks with and without dividend payments.
In addition, to these subject specific skills and knowledge, students will gain an appreciation for how mathematics can be used to model the real-world; improve their written and oral communication skills; and develop their critical thinking.
This module is an introduction to smooth curves and surfaces in three-dimensional space. You’ll encounter various geometrical properties of these objects, such as length, area, torsion and curvature, and will have the opportunity to explore the meaning of these quantities. You’ll use a variety of examples to calculate their values, and will use them to apply techniques from calculus and linear algebra.
The study of graphs - mathematical objects used to model pairwise relations between objects - is a cornerstone of discrete mathematics. As a result, students will develop an appreciation for a range of discrete mathematical techniques while undertaking this module.
Throughout the module, students will also learn about structural notions, such as connectivity, and will explore trees, minor closed families of graphs, matrices related to graphs, the Tutte polynomial of small graphs, and planar graphs and analogues.
While studying these areas, students will gain experience of following and constructing mathematical proofs, and correctly and coherently using mathematical notation.
In this module you’ll develop the knowledge of groups that you’ve gained in second year. You’ll study ‘direct products’ which are used to construct new groups, while any finite group is shown to ‘factor’ into ‘simple’ pieces. You’ll also consider situations in which a group ‘acts’ on a set by permuting its elements; this powerful idea is used to identify the symmetries of the Platonic solids, and to help study the structure of groups themselves.
In this module you’ll examine the notion of a norm, which introduces a generalized notion of ‘distance’ to the purely algebraic setting of vector spaces. You’ll learn several quite natural ways to do this, both for vectors of any dimension and for functions. You’ll then focus on the more special notion of an inner product which generalizes angles at the same time as distances.
Once we’ve established these concepts, you’ll have the opportunity to study geometrical ideas like orthogonality, which can be seen to apply to much more general spaces than Euclidean spaces of three (or even n) dimensions, notably to infinite dimensional spaces of functions. For example, Hilbert space theory shows how Fourier series are really another case of expressing an element in terms of a basis, and how you can use orthogonality to find best approximations to a given function by functions of a prescribed type. Finally, you’ll look at some of the main results of linear algebra, which generalize very nicely to linear operators between Hilbert spaces.
Introducing the Lebesgue integral for functions on the real line, this module features a classical approach to the construction of Lebesgue measure on the line and to the definition of the integral. The bounded convergence theorem is used to prove the monotone and dominated convergence theorems, and the results are illustrated in classical convergence problems including Fourier integrals.
Among the range of topics addressed on this module, students will become familiar with Lebesgue's definition of the integral, and the integral of a step function. There will be an introduction to subsets of the real line, including open sets and countable sets. Students will measure of an open set, and will discover measurable sets and null sets. Additionally, the module will focus on integral functions, along with Lebesgue's integral of a bounded measurable function, his bounded convergence theorem and the integral of an unbounded function. Dominated convergence theorem; monotone convergence theorem.
Other topics on the module will include applications of the convergence theorems and Wallis's product for P. Gaussian integral, along with some classical limit inversion results and the Fourier cosine integral. Students will develop an understanding of Dirichlet's comb function, Archimedes' axiom and Cantor's uncountability theorem, and will learn to prove the structure theorem for open sets. In addition, students will be able to prove covering lemmas for open sets, as well as understanding the statement of Heine—Bore theorem, as well as understanding the concept and proving basic properties of outer measure. As well as understanding inner measure. Finally, students will be expected to prove Lebesgue's theorem on countable additivity of measure.
Statistical inference is the theory of the extraction of information about the unknown parameters of an underlying probability distribution from observed data. Consequently, statistical inference underpins all practical statistical applications.
This module reinforces the likelihood approach taken in second year Statistics for single parameter statistical models, and extends this to problems where the probability for the data depends on more than one unknown parameter.
You’ll also consider the issue of model choice: in situations where there are multiple models under consideration for the same data, how do we make a justified choice of which model is the 'best'?
The approach taken in this course is just one approach to statistical inference: a contrasting approach is covered in the Bayesian Inference module.
The aim of this module is to provide third year students with more options of applicable topics which draw upon second year pure mathematics courses and provide opportunities for further study. The theory of Linear systems is engineering mathematics.
In the mid nineteenth century, the engineer Watt used a governor to control the amount of steam going into an engine, so that the input of steam reduced when the engine was going too quickly, and the input increased when the engine was going too slowly. Maxwell then developed a theory of controllers for various mechanical devices, and identified properties such as stability. The crucial idea of a controller is that the output can be fed back into the system to adjust the input.
Many devices can be described by linear systems of differential and integral equations which can be reduced to a standard (A,B,C,D) model. These include electrical appliances, heating systems and economic processes. The course shows how to reduce certain linear systems of differential equations to systems of matrix equations and thus solve them. Linear algebra enables us to classify (A,B,C,D) models and describe their properties in terms of quantities which are relatively easy to compute.
The module then describes feedback control for linear systems. The main result describes all the linear controllers that stabilize a (A,B,C,D) system.
This module is designed to give you an opportunity to consider key issues in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Whilst it is an academic study of mathematics education and not a training course for teachers, it does provide an excellent foundation for a PGCE especially in preparing students to write academically.
Having studies Mathematics for many years, you are well-placed to reflect upon that experience and attempt to make sense of it in the light of theoretical frameworks developed by researchers in the field. Within this course we hope to help you with this process so that as a Mathematics graduate you will be able to contribute knowledgeably to future debate about the ways in which your subject is treated within the education system.
This module is run as a partnership between the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the University of Cumbria and the Students’ Union’s volunteering unit.
Designed with employability in mind, this module is based on the Students’ Union’s Schools Partnership Scheme, which supports Lancaster students on 10-week placements in local primary and secondary schools.
You’ll have the opportunity to take part in classroom observation and assistance, the development of classroom resources, the provision of one-on-one or small group support and possibly even teaching sections of lessons to the class as a whole.
This module aims to introduce students to the study designs and statistical methods commonly used in health investigations, such as measuring disease, study design, causality and confounding.
You’ll look at both observational and experimental designs and consider various health outcomes, studying a number of published articles to gain an understanding of the problems you’re investigating as well as the mathematical and statistical concepts underpinning inference.
This module gives an introduction to the key concepts and methods of metric space theory, a core topic for pure mathematics and its applications. Studying this module will give you a deeper understanding of continuity as well as a basic grounding in abstract topology.
You’ll also gain a firm foundation for further study of many topics including geometry, Lie groups and Hilbert space, and learn to apply your knowledge to areas including probability theory, differential equations, mathematical quantum theory and the theory of fractals.
Using the classical problem of data classification as a running example, this module covers mathematical representation and visualisation of multivariate data; dimensionality reduction; linear discriminant analysis; and Support Vector Machines. While studying these theoretical aspects, students will also gain experience of applying them using R.
An appreciation for multivariate statistical analysis will be developed during the module, as will an ability to represent and visualise high-dimensional data. Students will also gain the ability to evaluate larger statistical models, apply statistical computer packages to analyse large data sets, and extract and evaluate meaning from data.
Number theory is the study of the fascinating properties of the natural number system.
Many numbers are special in some sense, eg. primes or squares. Which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two squares? What is special about the number 561? Are there short cuts to factorizing large numbers or determining whether they are prime (this is important in cryptography)? The number of divisors of an integer fluctuates wildly, but is there a good estimation of the ‘average’ number of divisors in some sense?
Questions like these are easy to ask, and to describe to the non-specialist, but vary hugely in the amount of work needed to answer them. An extreme example is Fermat’s last theorem, which is very simple to state, but was proved by Taylor and Wiles 300 years after it was first stated. To answer questions about the natural numbers, we sometimes use rational, real and complex numbers, as well as any ideas from algebra and analysis that help, including groups, integration, infinite series and even infinite products.
This module introduces some of the central ideas and problems of the subject, and some of the methods used to solve them, while constantly illustrating the results with exercises and examples involving actual numbers.
This module is ideal for students who want to develop an analytical and axiomatic approach to the theory of probabilities.
First you’ll examine the notion of a probability space through simple examples featuring both discrete and continuous sample spaces. You’ll then use random variables and the expectation to develop a probability calculus, which you can apply to achieve laws of large numbers for sums of independent random variables.
You’ll also use the characteristic function to study the distributions of sums of independent variables, which have applications to random walks and to statistical physics.
This module covers the basics of ordinary representation theory. You’ll learn the concepts of R-module and of group representations, the main results pertaining to group representations, and will handle basic applications in the study of finite groups. You’ll also learn to perform computations with representations and morphisms in a selection of finite groups.
This module furthers your knowledge of commutative rings from your second year study.
You’ll be introduced to two new classes of integral domains called Euclidean domains, where you have a counterpart of the division algorithm, and unique factorization domains, in which an analogue of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic holds.
You’ll also explore how well-known concepts from the integers such as the highest common factor, the Euclidean algorithm, and factorization of polynomials, carry over to this new setting.
This module explores the concept of generalized linear models (GLMs), which have a range of applications in the biomedical, natural and social sciences, and can be used to relate a response variable to one or more explanatory variables. The response variable may be classified as quantitative (continuous or discrete, i.e. countable) or categorical (two categories, i.e. binary, or more than categories, i.e. ordinal or nominal). You’ll also become familiar with the programme R, which you’ll have the opportunity to use in weekly workshops.
This module covers important examples of stochastic processes, and how these processes can be analysed.
As an introduction to stochastic processes you’ll look at the random walk process. Historically this is an important process, and was initially motivated as a model for how the wealth of a gambler varies over time (initial analyses focused on whether there are betting strategies for a gambler that would ensure they won).
You’ll then focus on the most important class of stochastic processes, Markov processes (of which the random walk is a simple example). You’ll discover how to analyse Markov processes, and how they are used to model queues and populations.
Modern statistics is characterised by computer-intensive methods for data analysis and development of new theory for their justification. In this module you’ll become familiar with topics from classical statistics as well as some from emerging areas.
You’ll explore time series data through a wide variety of sequences of observations arising in environmental, economic, engineering and scientific contexts. You’ll also study time series and volatility modelling, where we’ll discuss the techniques for the analysis of such data with emphasis on financial application.
Another area you’ll focus on is some of the techniques developed for the analysis of multivariates, such as principal components analysis and cluster analysis. Lastly you’ll spend time looking at Change-Point Methods, which include traditional as well as some recently developed techniques for the detection of change in trend and variance.
In this module you’ll study topics related to the understanding of special models to describe the extreme values of a financial times series, and you’ll learn to fit appropriate extreme value models to data which are maxima or threshold exceedance. You’ll also learn to use extreme value models to evaluate Value at Risk and gain an understanding of the impact of heavy tailed data on standard statistical diagnostic tools.
Bayesian statistics is a framework for rational decision making using imperfect knowledge, expressed through probability distributions. Bayesian principles are applied in the fields of navigation, control, automation and artificial intelligence. The aim of decision makers is to make rational decisions that maximise some personal utility function which may represent quantities such as money which are related to the wealth of an individual.
Within the Bayesian framework, knowledge of the world, (the prior) is updated as fresh observations arrive to yield a posterior distribution which shows the revised knowledge. The evidence for the model is expressed by calculating a marginal likelihood. Future behaviour and the fit of the model are assessed using a predictive distribution. This includes sampling uncertainty and uncertainty of our knowledge.
In this module you’ll look at the posterior, the marginal and the predictive distributions for several one parameter conjugate models, and two families of multi-parameter fully conjugate models. You’ll extend the range of belief types that can be modelled by using mixtures of conjugate priors, and will also explore the use of non-conjugate formulations of models and use Monte-Carlo integration, importance sampling and rejection sampling for calculating and simulating from these distributions.
Clinical trials are planned experiments on human beings designed to assess the relative benefits of one or more forms of treatment. For instance, we might be interested in studying whether aspirin reduces the incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension; or we may wish to assess whether a new immunosuppressive drug improves the survival rate of transplant recipients. Treatments may be procedural, for example, surgery or methods of care.
This module combines the study of technical methodology with discussion of more general research issues. First we’ll discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of different types of medical studies. We’ll then explore the basic aspects of clinical trials as experimental designs, looking in particular at the definition and estimation of treatment effects. We’ll also cover cross-over trials, concepts of sample size determination, and equivalence trials. The module also includes a brief introduction to sequential trial designs and meta-analysis.
In this module you’ll be introduced to Markov chain Monte Carlo methods and how to use them as a powerful technique for performing Bayesian inference on complex stochastic models.
The first part of the module looks in detail at the necessary concepts and theory for finite state-space Markov chains, before introducing analogous concepts and theory for continuous state-space Markov chains. In the second part of the course you’ll investigate the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm for sampling from a distribution known up to a constant of proportionality.
In the third (and largest) part, you’ll take this knowledge and apply it to Bayesian inference as well as studying the Gibbs sampler. You’ll also examine the two most common Metropolis-Hastings algorithms (the random walk and the independence sampler). Examples will include hierarchical models, random effects models, and mixture models.
In this module you’ll have the opportunity to learn the basics of algebraic geometry.
You’ll look at how curves can be described by algebraic equations, and will develop an understanding of abstract groups, learning how to use them to deal with geometrical objects (curves). You’ll also study the notions and the main results pertaining to elliptic curves, and will investigate the way that algebra and geometry are linked via polynomial equations, performing algebraic computations with elliptic curves.
This module focuses on the kinds of statistical methods commonly used by statisticians to investigate the relationship between risk of disease and environmental factors.
You’ll explore methods for the analysis of spatial data, including spatial point-process models, spatial case-control methods, spatially aggregated data, point source problems and geostatistics, and will spend time developing your skills performing similar analyses using the statistical package R.
Galois Theory is, in essence, the systematic study of properties of roots of polynomials. Starting with such a polynomial f over a field k (e.g. the rational numbers), one associates a ‘smallest possible’ field L containing k and the roots of f; and a finite group G which describes certain ‘allowed’ permutations of the roots of f. The Fundamental Theorem of Galois Theory says that under the right conditions, the fields which lie between k and L are in 1-to-1 correspondence with the subgroups of G.
In this module you’ll see two applications of the Fundamental Theorem. The first is the proof that in general a polynomial of degree 5 or higher cannot be solved via a formula in the way that quadratic polynomials can; the second is the fact that an angle cannot be trisected using only a ruler and compasses. These two applications are among the most celebrated results in the history of mathematics.
In this module you’ll learn techniques for formulating sensible models for data, enabling you to tackle problems such as the probability of success for a particular treatment, and how this depends on the patient's age, weight, blood pressure, and so on.
You’ll be introduced to a large family of models, called the generalised linear models (GLMs), including the standard linear regression model as a special case, and will have the opportunity to discuss and investigate the theoretical properties of these models.
You’ll also study a common algorithm called iteratively reweighted least squares algorithm for the estimation of parameters. Using the statistical package ‘R’, you’ll fit and check these models, and will produce confidence intervals and tests corresponding to questions of interest.
In this module you’ll have the opportunity to learn about Hilbert space, consolidating your understanding of linear algebra and enabling you to study applications of Hilbert space such as quantum mechanics and stochastic processes.
You’ll learn how to use inner products in analytical calculations, to use the concept of an operator on an infinite dimensional Hilbert space, to recognise situations in which Hilbert space methods are applicable and to understand concepts of linear algebra and analysis that apply in infinite dimensional vector spaces.
At the end of Year 3 you’ll fill in a form stating your mathematical or statistical interests and based on that you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor (a member of staff) and a topic. The dissertation may be in mathematics (MATH491), statistics (MATH492), or on an industrial project (MATH493), which is in cooperation with an external industrial partner. This depends on your degree scheme and your choice.
During the first term you’ll meet your supervisor weekly and will be guided into your in-depth study of a specific topic. During the second term you’ll have to produce a written dissertation on what you have learned and give an oral presentation. You will hand in your dissertation in the first week after the Easter recess. The grade is based 70% on your final written product, 10% on your oral presentation, and 20% on the initiative and effort that you demonstrated during the entire two terms of the module.
Further information is available from the Year 4 Director of Studies and will be communicated to every Year 4 student at the beginning of Term 1.
In this module you’ll construct Lebesgue measure on the line, extending the idea of the length of an interval. You’ll use this to define an integral which is shown to have good properties under pointwise convergence. Looking at some basic results about the set of real numbers, you will explore properties of countable sets, open sets and algebraic numbers.
You’ll also have the opportunity to illustrate the power of the convergence theorems in applications to some classical limit problems and analysis of Fourier integrals, which are fundamental to probability theory and differential equations.
In this module you'll be introduced to the theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras. You'll also explore the relationship between the two, and will develop an understanding of the way that this forms an important and enduring part of modern mathematics and a great number of fields including theoretical physics. You'll learn to appreciate the subtle and pervasive interplay between algebra and geometry, and to appreciate the unified nature of mathematics. The abstract nature of the course will give you a taste of modern research in pure mathematics.
In this module you’ll learn how to use the likelihood function to obtain and summarise information about unknown parameters. You’ll calculate the likelihood function for statistical models which do not assume independent identically distributed data, and will learn to evaluate point estimates and make statements about the variability of these estimates.
Using the statistical package ‘R’, you’ll use computational methods to calculate maximum likelihood estimates. You’ll spend time developing an understanding of the inter-relationships between parameters, and the concept of orthogonality, and will perform hypothesis tests using the generalised likelihood ratio statistic.
Longitudinal data arise when a time-sequence of measurements is made on a response variable for each of a number of subjects in an experiment or observational study. For example, a patient’s blood pressure may be measured daily following administration of one of several medical treatments for hypertension.
Typically, the practical objective of most longitudinal studies is to find out how the average value of the response varies over time, and how this average response profile is affected by different experimental treatments. This module presents an approach to the analysis of longitudinal data, based on statistical modelling and likelihood methods of parameter estimation and hypothesis testing.
Operator theory is a modern mathematical topic in analysis which provides powerful general methods for the analysis of linear problems, and possibly even infinite dimensional problems.
Early successes were in the solution of differential and integral equations. Now operator theory is also an extensive subject in its own right in the general area of functional analysis.
First you’ll review Hilbert spaces, before spending some time studying infinite-dimensional operators, notably the unilateral shift and multiplication operators, as well as basic concepts. You’ll then consider the criteria for invertibility of self adjoint operators, leading to the spectral theory of such operators.
This module focuses on the basic principles of epidemiology, including its methodology and application to prevention and control of disease.
You’ll examine the concepts and strategies used in epidemiologic studies, and will develop an understanding of the role of epidemiology in preventive medicine and disease investigation. You’ll also develop your knowledge of basic epidemiologic methods and how to apply them, and will develop confidence in assessing the validity of epidemiologic studies with respect to their design and inferences.
The aim of this course is to develop an analytical and axiomatic approach to the theory of probabilities.
You’ll consider the notion of a probability space, illustrated by simple examples featuring both discrete and continuous sample spaces. You’ll then use random variables and the expectation to develop a probability calculus, which is applied to achieve laws of large numbers for sums of independent random variables. You’ll also use the characteristic function to study the distributions of sums of independent variables, applying the results to random walks and to statistical physics.
In this module you’ll learn the basics of ordinary representation theory.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore the concepts of R-module and group representations, and the main results pertaining to group representations, as well as learning to handle basic applications in the study of finite groups. You’ll also develop your skills in performing computations with representations and morphisms in a selection of finite groups.
Stochastic calculus is a theory that enables the calculation of integrals with respect to stochastic processes. This module begins with the study of discrete-time stochastic processes, defining key concepts such as martingales and stopping times. This then leads on to the exploration of continuous-time processes, in particular, Brownian motion.
Students will learn to derive basic properties of Brownian motion and explore integration with respect to it. They will also examine the derivation of Ito's formula and how to apply this to Brownian motion.
Over the course of the module, students will also learn to justify and critique the use of stochastic models for real-life applications, and to use the stochastic calculus framework to formulate and solve problems involving uncertainty – a skill that underpins financial mathematics.
This module shows how the rules of probability can be used to formulate simple models describing processes, such as the length of a queue, which can change in a random manner, and how the properties of the processes, such as the mean queue size, can be deduced.
In Stochastic Processes you’ll learn how to use conditioning arguments and the reflection principle to calculate probabilities and expectations of random variables. You’ll also learn to calculate the distribution of a Markov Process at different time points and to calculate expected hitting times, as well as how to determine whether a Markov process has an asymptotic distribution and how to calculate it. You’ll then develop an understanding of how stochastic processes are used as models.
Fractals, roughly speaking, are strange and exotic sets in the plane (and in higher dimensions) which are often generated as limits of quite simple repeated procedures. The 'middle thirds Cantor set' in [0,1] is one such set. Another, the Sierpinski sieve, arises by repeated removal of diminishing internal triangles from a solid equilateral triangle.
This analysis module will explore a variety of fractals, partly for fun for their own sake but also to illustrate fundamental ideas of metric spaces, compactness, disconnectedness and fractal dimension. The discussion will be kept at a straightforward level and you’ll consider topological ideas of open and closed sets in the setting of R2.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Statistics graduates are highly employable, having in-depth specialist knowledge and a wealth of skills. Through this degree, you will graduate with a comprehensive skill set, including data analysis and manipulation, logical thinking, problem-solving and quantitative reasoning, as well as adept knowledge of the discipline. In addition, statistics plays a valuable role in all businesses and enterprises. As a result, statisticians are sought after in a range of industries, such as education, finance, forensics, health, market research, and transport.
The starting salary for many graduate statistical roles is highly competitive, and popular career options include:
Alternatively, you may wish to undertake postgraduate research study at Lancaster and pursue a career in research and teaching.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2018/19 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2017 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Average time in lectures, seminars and similar
Average assessment by coursework