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Dissertation in mathematics

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: M840
  • Level: Postgraduate
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Student reviews

This has been by far the most intense but without any doubt the most rewarding course I have done with the OU (and I have done 6 already). I have chosen the Dissertation in Graph Theory.

I did not have any substantial mathematical background about this particular subject, so do not be put off by the fact that you don't know "a lot" about Graph Theory. Sure, you will have to work harder, but it is definitely worth it.

The book style at first is a bit daunting, as it does require more mathematical maturity compared to other standard OU text books, but in my opinion it is a stepping stone towards paper and research mathematics (in fact once I started reading papers on the subject, I realised how well writen the book is).

The tutors are great, and really helped me and inspired me all the way to the final submission.

Marco Maria Bellocchi

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: September 2018

I really enjoyed this course - I did the History of Geometry and found it a very interesting and rewarding module. There is a lot of reading - and you will probably need to be prepared to buy a few books off Amazon, but as long as you don't mind that you should really like this unit.

The TMAs consist of one 1000 and two 2000 word essays, which build up to the final 10000 dissertation. That's quite a lot of writing - but the earlier essays do help with the final dissertation so there is quite a bit of overlap.

My favourite part of this course was looking at the primary sources for the period - reading the original Riemann, Poincare and Mobius papers was genuinely engaging and a really nice insight into both the mathematics and the professional rivalries within the subject.

The support for the course was excellent - the set textbook is very good and detailed, and written specifically for this kind of course. My course tutor was very helpful and gave good advice throughout.

Even though this is a history of geometry there is still a very large mathematical component - as you have to read and understand primary source mathematics on a wide range of geometrical topics - from projective geometry in the early 1800s to the early development of non euclidean geometry and then its later acceptance.

A great course - highly recommended!

Andrew Ian Chambers

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

I got through the course and finished my MSc, but I really didn't enjoy writing the dissertation on projective geometry. I found that the textbook jumped around too much and it was difficult to find relevant information on the Internet. The research question was too vague, and I could have answered it in 1,000 words instead of the stipulated 10,000 (and I'd have then failed).

Too many of the "taught masters" books are unapproachable, and I feel that the whole program needs revisiting. Good course notes would be beneficial for all of the courses, not just this one, and more readable texts should be found that help to explain the concepts in a clear and precise way. Course notes should give more examples and exam papers should be more similar to the TMAs (or vice-versa).

The worst texts in the program are for numerical analysis and complex variables, and although I enjoyed both of these courses it was in spite of the texts. Bearing in mind that students study on their own in the program, the least that should be expected is a readable text and good course notes.

Neil Reynolds

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: December 2012

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Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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