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Faculty of Mathematics


Part III is designed as a year where you make the transition from undergraduate to independent learner. As such, it is an intensive and demanding course, which is intended for advanced mathematics students with a high level of self-motivation and the capacity for independent study.

The expectation is that most students will handle the amount and depth of mathematical learning required without further assistance. There is not as much formal support in Part III as in the first three years of the Cambridge undergraduate course, but there are many informal opportunities for support for Part III students. This informal support takes the form of events such as catch-up lectures, study groups and the Part III seminar series.  It is recommended that Part III students make full use of this support. See Part III Additional Academic Support for further details.

The Part III cohort is a large and diverse group and contains some of the best mathematicians from all over the world. Students enjoy interacting with other like-minded bright minds, and typically meet future friends and colleagues among their peers. The size of the year group means that there is limited opportunity for individual contact with senior members of the department.

Feedback shows that many students enjoy the breadth and depth of courses, the interaction with their fellow Part III students, the opportunity to practice giving a talk in the Part III Seminar Series, and the process of writing an essay. Such an essay is often the student’s first foray into reading research papers and producing an extended piece of mathematical writing, and is a large contributor to the transition to independent work.

Potential applicants should bear in mind that the assessment for Part III is mainly exam-based, with the option of replacing one course (out of typically 5 to 7) with an essay. All exams are taken at the end of the year. There is no assessed course-work throughout the year.

As a guideline of whether you have the correct mathematical background for the area of courses you would intend to study in Part III, we recommend that you check yourself on the "Reality checks" provided on our Part III Preparation Resources pages, where available.

The Course Specification document will also give you more information on what to expect from Part III.