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Dissertation in mathematics

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

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

Please note

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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Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the October 2016 presentation of M840. The survey was carried out in 2017.

25 students (a response rate of 47.2%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 92 23
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 92 23
The module provided good value for money 62.5 15
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 100 25
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 76 19
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 92 23
I would recommend this module to other students 87.5 21
The module met my expectations 88 22
I enjoyed studying this module 88 22
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 84 21
Faculty comment: "The module team is very pleased that the overall satisfaction with this module is so high, with 92% of student respondents being satisfied with its quality and their study experience, and 88% willing to recommend it to other students. The 100% satisfaction with tutor support is testament to the dedication of the tutors. Such high satisfaction rates are very unusual for dissertation-type modules."
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