CATs Got Your Tongue? Selecting Module Choices
One of my favourite things about studying maths at Warwick is how flexible the degree has been. I was able to choose options from my very first day – and the number of options has only increased as I’ve gone along, allowing me to pick my modules to my interests. Now that I’m in my third and final year, there aren’t any compulsory modules for me, so I’ve been able to choose the modules I like best.
That’s not to say there aren’t any regulations – Warwick works on a system of credits (called “CATs” for some reason or another), and in my third year I’ve had to take between 120 and 150 CATs. I’ve also got to take at least 57 CATs of modules from List A – a selection of the most mathsy modules (not necessarily from the maths department though!) available to third year students. Of these List A modules, at least 45 of my CATs must begin with the code MA3, that is to say they must be from the maths department and must be specifically designed as third year modules. I’ve also got to choose no more than 66 CATs of List B options (less mathsy, but still kind of mathsy) and Unusual Options (from a wide range of departments – doesn’t necessarily have to be maths-related) combined – some people choose to do no List B or Unusual options, and some people choose to do as many as they can. These sorts of requirements do change from course to course, department to department and year to year, though – some subjects are much less flexible and have more core modules.
The number of options available to me this year was huge – I’ve just counted, and there were 28 different MA3-coded List A options that I could have chosen from in third year. They’re all worth 15 CATs, so there are more options than you could ever really try out. That’s not even counting for the List A options from Stats, Physics, Computer Science or Engineering! There are a huge number of List B options too, and I’m taking quite a few of them from the Computer Science department (as well as Topics in Data Science from the Stats department). It’s pretty easy to choose options using the online Module Selection pages.
I was perhaps a bit late to the party, but I opted to take an Unusual Option for the first time ever in my third year – I went along to a Neural Computing lecture and ended up loving it, so I took the module as an option. All I had to do extra was get a form signed by the lecturer and submit it to the maths department. The module itself is a mix of biology, computer science and a bit of the linear algebra I’d done in the first couple of years of my degree, and I find it very interesting.
There’s a lot of different things that I could have chosen to learn about – maths at Warwick isn’t limited to any one topic (unless you want it to be, of course!).