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Master in Mathematics

  • academic year
    2019-2020
Master in Mathematics

This formation is taught in french.

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  • Programme title
    Master in Mathematics
  • Programme mnemonic
    MA-MATH
  • Programme organised by
    • Faculty of Sciences
  • Degree type
    Masters 120 credits
  • Tier
    2nd cycle
  • Field and branch of study
    Sciences and technics/Sciences
  • Schedule type
    Daytime
  • Languages of instruction
    french
  • Theoretical programme duration
    2 years
  • Campus
    Plaine
  • Category / Topic
    Sciences and technics - Sciences
  • Jury President
    Joel FINE
  • Jury Secretary
    Antoine GLORIA

Details

General information

Degree type

Masters 120 crédits

Theoretical programme duration

2 years

Learning language(s)

french

Schedule type

Daytime

Campus

Plaine

Category(ies) - Topic(s)

Sciences and technics - Sciences

Organising faculty(s) and university(ies)
Infor-études

Succeed in your studies

ULB offers a number of activities and resources that can help you develop a successful strategy before or during your studies.

You can make the transition to higher education easier by attending preparatory courses, summer classes, and information and orientation sessions, even before you start your studies at ULB.

During your studies, many people at ULB are there specifically to help you succeed: support staff in each faculty, (inter-)faculty guidance counsellors, tutors, and experts in academic methodology.

Presentation

Mathematics plays a fundamental role in our technologically advanced society. The discipline is in constant evolution, with new discoveries made at an increasing pace. These answer either questions that were generated by internal progress in mathematics, or problems raised in other disciplines (scientific, industrial, business, etc.). Mathematics has proven to be indispensable in all branches of science and technology: cryptography and codes, medical imagery, telecommunications, theory of fundamental particles, space research, bioengineering, meteorology, ecological modelling, economy and finance, etc. This programme aims to train mathematicians who are ready to contribute to both the theoretical development of the discipline and the solution to problems from various origins. Our Master programme develops the students' ability to reason abstractly and rigorously, but also with invention and imagination. Graduates are also able to use existing powerful mathematical techniques as well as to develop new ones. Through the choices made during the Master programme, our students can direct their learning towards a career in research, in the private sector, or in teaching.

The majority of classes involve lectures in tandem with activities in which students take an active part (e.g. lab classes, reading seminars, talks, etc.).

While writing their dissertation and other personal assignments, students develop their creativity and even have a chance to contribute original research.

The Master benefits enormously from the internationally renowned research teams at the Mathematics Department. Morevoer, active collaborations with the Economics, Computer Science, and Physics Departments, as well as agreements with neighbouring universities, broaden the range of courses available to students (some of which are given in Dutch or English). The programme is designed so that the student may develop their interests in various mathematical disciplines, chosen from a large range on offer. Research is conducted within the department in algebra and combinatorics, differential geometry, analysis of PDEs, mechanics and applied mathematics, probability, statistics, actuarial sciences, and mathematics teaching.

While most courses consist in lecture classes, a significant part of the progamme relies on individual assignments based on material that reaches beyond what is covered during the lectures. Students who choose the research focus, for instance, will receive an introduction to research in mathematics, and gain experience in scientific communication. Students who pick the teaching focus will spend time in classrooms. In both cases, the dissertation plays an important part in the programme (30 credits) and gives students an opportunity to master a subject of their choosing, to present a summary of various techniques and theories, and even perhaps to make an original contribution themselves. Graduates are well placed to tackle new problems, such as those encountered in pure research, in the industrial sector, or in other applications of mathematics.

Whilst comprised mainly of lecture courses, the progamme has a large component which is based on individual work of the student done over and above that which is is seen in lectures. The student who chooses an in-depth specialisation in mathematics, for example, will get an introduction to carrying out research in mathematics as well as experience of scientific communication. The student specialising in teaching of mathematics will spend time in classrooms. In both specialisations, the memoire plays an important role (30 ECTS) and gives the student the opportunity to master a subject of their choice, to present a synthesis of various techniques and theories and even perhaps to make an original contribution themselves. The finishing student will be well placed to attack new problems, such as those encountered in pure research, in industry or in other applications of mathematics.

During either the first or second year, students may spend one or two terms in another university of institute of higher education. This can be done inside or outside of Europe, under the Erasmus programme or by taking advantage of the many different agreements ULB has concluded with other universities.

A partnership with mathematics departments in French-speaking Belgian universities, as well as universities in North of France, gives access to Master programmes at the Université Catholique de Louvain, the Université de Liège, the Université de Mons, the Université de Namur, and the universities of Artois, Lille 1, Littoral-Côte-d’Opale, Valenciennes, and Hainaut-Cambrésis. This programme also includes courses offered at VUB, and students can choose up to 30 additional credits in other disciplines.

Access conditions

Programme

Research focus

Required courses:

  • Functional analysis

  • Convex and discrete geometry

  • Differential geometry and applications

  • Initiation to research and scientific communication

  • Master's dissertation

Elective courses:

At least one course in each of three modules, chosen among:

  • Geometry and algebra (groups and geometry, convex polytopes, combinatorial algebra)

  • Analysis and partial differential equations (variational methods and PDEs, wavelets and applications, introduction to homogenisation and PDEs)

  • Differential geometry and topology (Riemannian and symplectic geometry, Lie groups and algebras, algebraic topology)

  • Applications of mathematics (graduate statistics, optimisation algorithms and applications, stochastic calculus)

Students can then choose from a long list of advanced courses in mathematics, and pick a free elective from all Master programmes in mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, biological modelling or any other programme (including outside the ULB), subject to the jury's approval.

Teaching focus

Required courses:

  • Courses in didactics, work placements, and teaching activities

  • Initiation to scientific communication

  • Master's dissertation

Elective courses:

The programme is completed by a free choice of courses from all masters in mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, bio-informatics and modelling, or any other programme (including outside the ULB), subject to the jury's approval.

What's next ?

Prospects

Graduates of the Master in Mathematics go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Ten years after graduation, 7% are pursuing further studies, 15% are teaching (either in secondary schools or in higher education), 36% are pursuing a career in research (either in a university or another institution), and 42% are working in a wide variety of jobs in the private sector (banks, pharamceutical industry, etc.).

While the demand for mathematics teachers remains high, options for graduates of a Master in Mathematics are particularly varied and include: high-level positions in financial organisations, conducting studies in statistics or bio-statistics, consulting in network management, etc.

Careers open to graduates of this programme are extremely varied. In a survey of our graduates who received their diploma between 1997 and 2012:

  • 51.4% worked in the private sector or as civil servants (29.4% in finance, 10.3% in consulting, 2.5% in the pharmaceutical industry, 2% in computer science, and 7.2% in a variety of other careers).

  • 26% worked in research or teaching at a university (9.3% were professors or permanent researchers, 5.4% were postdoctoral researchers, and 11.3% were studying for a PhD).

  • 19% worked as teachers (11.2% in secondary schools in Belgium, 2.5% in secondary schools in Luxembourg, and 5.4% in higher education).

  • Of the remaining graduates, 1% were voluntarily not employed and 2.5% were seeking employment.

The need for mathematics teachers remains extremely high, but this is more than matched by the demand for skilled mathematicians in a variety of roles in the private sector, including high-ranking positions in financial organisations, carrying out biostatistical studies, analysing large networks (e.g. in telecommunications or social media), and so on. Mathematicians play an increasingly important role in business and industry.

The careers open to graduates from the masters in mathematical sciences are extremely varied. In a survey of our graduates who received their diploma between 1997 and 2012:

  • 51.4% worked in the private sector or as a civil servant (including 29.4% in finance, 10.3% in consultancy, 2.5% in pharmaceutical industry, 2% in informatics, 7.2% in a variety of other careers)

  • 26% carried out research or teaching in a University (9.3% were professors or permanent researchers, 5.4% were postdoctoral researchers and 11.3% were studying for a PhD)

  • 19% worked as a teacher (11.2% in secondary eduation in Belgium, 2.5% in secondary education in Luembourg and 5.4% in further education).

  • Of the remaining graduates 1% were voluntarily not in employment and 2.5% were seeking work.

The need for teachers of mathematics remains extremely high, but this is more than matched by the demand for skilled mathematicians in a variety of roles in the private sector, from high positions in financial organisations, to carrying out biostatistical studies, via analysis of large networks (in say telecommunications, or in social media) mathematicians play an increasingly important role in business and industry.