Taught Master’s Degree
Taught Master’s Degree
Each AIMS centre offers an intensive one year graduate-level course leading to a Taught Master’s Degree in Mathematical Sciences. The course provides a broad overview of cutting-edge science and strong mathematical and computer research skills. The course is unique, offering students’ exposure to a range of topics, thereby allowing them to make an informed choice as to their future specialisation. The goal is to develop well-rounded scientists, with excellent problem-solving skills, capable of creative thinking and genuine innovation. There is a strong grounding in end-to-end skills, from problem formulation, estimation, prioritisation, and generally applicable mathematical and computing methods, to clear and concise scientific report writing. The aim is to equip students with the necessary tools and confidence for decision-making and policy analysis.
Faculties from African universities have been intimately involved in developing the AIMS curriculum, ensuring it is integrated with local undergraduate and Master’s courses, and with local post-graduate research opportunities.
World-leading scientists and educators have volunteered to teach at AIMS centres. Their participation ensures an education of the highest international quality. Tutors (often including AIMS alumni) provide teaching and administrative support, assistance to foreign language speakers, and continuity across the visiting lecturers.
First semester: Skills courses
Skills courses are compulsory and are designed to:
- Provide introductory and foundational material to the students;
- Train students in problem solving using a wide range of mathematical and computing methods;
- Provide a working knowledge of mathematics, physics and selected topics.
They are structured to achieve pre-defined outcomes, with little flexibility in their content.
Second semester: Review courses
Review courses are elective and are fundamentally different. Each is flexibly designed and together they provide a wide range of topics. Students are required to complete 11 courses selected from the 18 review courses offered (with at most two chosen from any three-week block). Choices offered are balanced as far as possible with respect to focus on mathematics, physics, computer science and interdisciplinary topics, such as bio-mathematics, financial mathematics, and more. Students can select from the list of courses in consultation with the Academic Director who ensures coherence.
The AIMS understanding is that each Review Course provides an overview and in depth study of some topic from a major field of modern scientific work in the mathematical sciences and its applications. These are often relevant to African development.
Third semester: Research project
During the three-month long research project phase students work on a research topic with a supervisor. Students are not expected to do original work to achieve a passing grade, but the criterion for an outstanding research project is broadly that it could constitute the early part of a Research Master’s thesis. For example, it could be publishable in a journal, or form an outstanding introduction to the field that could be used by other students entering the area. During this phase targeted communication skills and computing classes may continue, at the supervisor’s discretion. The purpose of the research project is:
- To give students the opportunity to work with an expert supervisor on a non-trivial project;
- To go through the process of independently reviewing, understanding and explaining scientific or mathematical material;
- To optionally do experiments – on a computer or otherwise – and report the results;
- To write a scientific report, and to defend it in an oral exam.