MAS115: Mathematical Investigation Skills

Dr Alexander Fletcher, Dr Sam Marsh, Ms Bryony Moody

About the course

MAS115 is a 20-credit, year-long module. During the year you will develop important skills for investigating and reporting on mathematical problems. These skills will be useful during your degree and beyond; such transferable skills are very useful in the workplace and valued by employers.

Computers can be very helpful with mathematics, so in Semester 1 you will learn the basics of the programming language Python. Python is a good first language to learn and also has powerful mathematical capabilities.

To create professional-quality mathematical documents requires using the LaTeX system, which you will also do in Semester 1. Another way of presenting results is online, and this involves making webpages using HTML, which you will also do in Semester 1.

In Semester 2 you will learn to programme in the package R, which is widely used in statistical modelling and analysis. You will use all of the techniques you have learned in the investigation and presentation of three mathematical projects during the year.

Semester 1 timetable

In Semester 1 there are two streams running per week: Presentation (LaTeX and HTML); and Python. The timetable is as follows:

Alex Fletcher's lectures are in Weeks 1, 3, 5, 6 and 12 only. (Week 12 is the Python test.) All other classes happen every week. Week 7 will be a reading week with no lectures or classes. To find out which computer classes you should attend, visit


The assessment for the course take place throughout the module as follows.

To pass the module, you must get a passing mark overall, and participate satisfactorily in both group projects.

Semester 1 mini-project

The mini-project in Semester 1 will use the Python programming and LaTeX presentation skills in a small mathematical investigation. The project will be peer assessed (that is, marked by fellow MAS115 students). Part of the mark will be awarded for the assessing of other people's projects. The mini-project will be released in Week 6 and will be submitted in Week 8.

Group projects

You will spend a good proportion of this course working on group projects. (The exact dates for these projects are to be confirmed.)

You will work on the projects in small groups, create webpages using HTML and LaTeX, and (for Project 2) make a presentation to a few fellow students.

Other information

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