Welcome to the School of Mathematics and Statistics in 2016!

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to all new and returning students and to let you know about the advising procedure and the events during orientation week in our School.

For those coming for the first time this year, you will have an opportunity to meet staff over coffee and cake. We will also be holding three information sessions during orientation week to help you understand the advising process and to give you some details about our 1000 level and 2000 level programmes.

For the returning students, we will be holding an information session for those of you either taking level 2000 modules, entering junior honours or in your last year (the latter of which will focus on the honours project element).

A very important part of next week is the advising process and as part of this you need to sign up for a session with your advisor via MMS and then meet with your advisor as organised. If for some reason you need to change your agreed time you must let us know as soon as possible to arrange another. Apart from the fact that it’s a valuable session, it is a legal requirement that we meet with all students.

Questions you might have

  1. When can I see an advisor?

Individual advisors will have a slightly different range of slots, so students should go straight to their own advisor to see what is on offer. However, advising for new entrants will largely occur on Tuesday while advising for second year students will typically occur on Wednesday. Advising for honours will predominantly occur on Tuesday or Wednesday, although some may offer time slots on the Monday depending on their availability.


  1. When can I sign up for advising?

The sign up process via MMS will only be live from Friday the 2nd September. If for some reason you must change your time after the system is closed you will need to email your advisor to organise the change.

  1. How do I sign up for advising?

You need to log into MMS and choose a slot in the Advising section which should be visible to you when you log in. Full instructions about how to use the system can be found online in the same section.

More information

More details about orientation week with dates, times and locations (including another link to MMS) can be found here:


We are very much looking forward to you joining us this year and if you have any questions feel free to email your advisor, the advising co-ordinator (Dr. Richard Scott) or myself directly (Dr Monique Mackenzie).

With very warm wishes,



Dr. Monique L. Mackenzie,

Director of Teaching,

Senior Lecturer in Statistics, School of Mathematics and Statistics

University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532


Wardlaw Scholarship programme


The Wardlaw Scholarship programme was established in 2004 in honour of Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St Andrews and fifteenth-century founder of the University of St Andrews. This programme of awards is designed to provide support for students who can demonstrate they have the ability and potential to benefit from a university education, but who have financial circumstances which might impact on their university studies or choice of university. These scholarships are funded by generous donations from alumni and friends of the University of St Andrews, charitable trusts and other organisations and companies.   Many of the awards are named after donors or in honour/memory of the donor’s family members.

There are a number of scholarships under the Wardlaw umbrella that have slightly different sets of criteria but the majority of the awards we make have the following eligibility details.

Geographical: Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Channel Islands, EU

Domicile for fee status: Home (Scotland/EU) or RUK

Level of study: Undergraduate

Year of entry (2016/7): Entrant students

Schools/ Subjects: All

 Additional criteria: Selection is on the basis of financial need.

Duration of award: Annually for the duration of the student’s undergraduate programme.

Value of award (per year): £3,000 paid in monthly instalments

Tuition or maintenance award? Maintenance (can be offset against accommodation fees on request)

Number of awards available: In 2015/6 we awarded 27 scholarships (both named and general awards)


Presentation skills for mathematics and statistics students


As students in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, you’ll be required to design and deliver a presentation at some point during your academic studies. Post-graduation, the chances are that presentation skills will be required in whatever career you choose, and the ability to know how to design and deliver effective presentations is a very valuable one to have. In collaboration with CAPOD, the Director of Teaching in the School of Mathematics and Statistics has arranged for three short sessions to be offered to undergraduates and postgraduates in the school who are enrolled on MT4599, MT5009 and MT5000.


Each session will look at the transferrable skills of presentation design and delivery, focusing on presentation purpose, audience, structure, and visual aids. During the session, undergraduates will have the chance to think about how they might best present their module project work during their assessed presentations, and masters students will be asked to consider how they might approach presenting a case study provided on the day.


Places are limited, and are first-come, first-served, and there is a choice of three sessions running on the 7, 9 and 10 March. Please book a place on your preferred session by clicking on the sign up link provided below. Note that you only need to attend ONE of the three sessions (they are duplicates). Students who are participating in the Professional Skills Curriculum will receive a PSC stamp if they attend.


Mon 7 March, 2-3.30pm https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/pdms/?CourseID=6038

Wed 9 March , 2-3.30pm https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/pdms/?CourseID=6039

Thurs 10 March, 2-3.30pm https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/pdms/?CourseID=6040


Catriona Wilson
Deputy Director and Head of Student Development
CAPOD (Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development)

Hebdomadar’s Block, University of St Andrews, St Andrews. KY16 9AJ
tel: 01334 462558




The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532

Scholarships for PG study in the USA 2016-17


Up to two Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York Scholarships (of not less than $30,000 each) will be awarded for one year of postgraduate study, normally in the New York or Washington DC areas in 2016-2017. To be eligible applicants must be Scottish by birth or recent descent.  For further information and an application pack, email careers@st-andrews.ac.uk with the heading ‘Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York Scholarships.’ The deadline for applications is Friday 12 February 2016.

PARTICULARS (Application pack) 2016-17

Kennedy Scholarships at Harvard & MIT


In 1965 a Fund was set up in the United Kingdom by public subscription to commemorate President John F Kennedy. A Memorial was created at Runnymede in perpetuity; and it was resolved that Scholarships to the United States should be offered every year to British Citizens who are United Kingdom graduates. The Scholarships are tenable at Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As the 50th anniversary of the Memorial Trust approaches, the Trustees want to expand the Scholarships to include not only recent graduates but also some who have gained a few years of experience outside academia and would now benefit from a course of study at Harvard or MIT. All candidates would be selected according to the criteria outlined in paragraph 5 below.
More generally, the Trustees are particularly keen to encourage applications from artists, musicians, scientists and engineers. The broad context of Kennedy Scholarships remains President Kennedy’s interest in bringing into fruitful combination the two great disciplines of traditional humane studies and modern technology and so making their strength effective in the activities of government and in the direction of world affairs.

PROSPECTUS FOR 2016 – 2017

1. Kennedy Scholarships will be awarded for the academic year 2016-2017 at Harvard University and MIT. A Kennedy Scholarship gives full funding (see paragraph 7 below) for one academic year. Students who are applying for two-year Master’s or PhD programmes will normally secure the necessary funding for second or subsequent years within their institution.

2. Candidates must, in the same application season as applying for a Kennedy Scholarship, make a separate and independent application for admission direct to their chosen programme at Harvard and/or MIT. See www.harvard.edu and www.mit.edu. A Kennedy Scholarship provides funding but does not carry automatic admission to Harvard or MIT, nor is it associated with particular programmes. It will support degree and non-degree students. Potential Harvard GSAS Special Student or Visiting Fellow applicants should consult the following list for eligible programmes of study http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/programs_of_study/non_degree_programs_of_study.php

3. Those applying for awards must be all of the following:
 British citizens at the time of application;
 ordinarily resident in the UK;
 wholly or mainly educated in the UK.
Applications cannot be accepted from those already in the United States.
Marriage is not a bar to the award of a Scholarship, but there is no extra funding for a spouse.
4. Those studying for a first degree at a UK university and due to graduate in the academic year 2015-2016 are eligible. Graduate applicants must have spent at least two of the seven years prior to 1st September 2016 studying as an undergraduate at a UK University, taking their first degree not earlier than 2011. Awards will not be made to postdoctoral candidates wishing to pursue further research in their own field.

5. In awarding Scholarships, the Trustees will take into account candidates’ intellectual attainment, readiness and ability to express themselves, and the suitability of their proposed course of study at Harvard or MIT.
They may also look for:
 originality of mind;
 commitment to public service;
 potential to make a mark in public life;
 ability to overcome adversity.
It should be noted that Kennedy Scholars typically have a First Class degree.
6. Scholars will be required to devote most of their time to one of the faculties of the university to which they are admitted. They may be registered on a degree programme or as non-degree or Special Students.
7. A Kennedy Scholarship covers the full costs of tuition and health insurance, paid direct to the institution concerned. In addition, Scholars will receive a stipend of $26,000 to cover living costs, any special equipment needed, and some travel within the United States. Scholars are expected to spend part of their summer vacation in the United States after the end of the academic year and may apply for an additional grant of $2,500 to pay for vacation travel. A substantial contribution will be made towards the cost of a return transatlantic flight.
8. Awards are made in the expectation that Scholars will bring the benefits of their American experience back to the United Kingdom.

9. Applications are to be made online at www.kennedytrust.org.uk
10. In addition to completing an online form, applicants will be asked to submit an essay (which MUST NOT exceed 1,000 words) giving an account of their academic pursuits, general activities and intellectual interests, plus their reasons for wishing to study in the United States, choice of course and institution and plans for the future.
11. The closing date for applications will be 23.59 on Wednesday 28th October 2015.
12. Applicants will be asked to give the names and professional email addresses of two referees. The first should have supervised some aspect of the applicant’s academic work at university. The second may be non-academic but should be familiar with the applicant’s performance at university and afterwards.
13. Both references must be submitted online by 23.59 on Wednesday 4th November for the application to be accepted. Referees will be contacted automatically once the applicant has submitted an application.
Interviews and Selection
14. Selected applicants will be invited to London for interview on either Tuesday 5th or Wednesday 6th January 2016. Interview candidates should ensure they attend in person in London on the date requested. A birth certificate or other nationality papers will be required at this time. Those awarded Scholarships will be asked to provide a medical certificate.
15. Candidates selected to receive Scholarships will be notified by the end of January but confirmation of the award cannot be made until May, when admission to Harvard or MIT has been secured.
16. Please note that it is not possible for the Trustees to provide candidates with comments on unsuccessful applications at any stage of the process.
www.kennedytrust.org.uk; Registered Charity Number 234715

Developing professional skills


Why not raise your professional game?

Here’s some great news: doing a St Andrews Maths & Stats degree will provide you with the skills to be an excellent mathematician/statistician, including a number of skills that have a much wider application than just for your academic studies. These transferable skills are what can make a real difference to landing the job that you want, be it in or out of academia, and being successful in the workplace.

You probably already display a number of excellent professional behaviours too. Do you remember signing the Sponsio Academica when you matriculated at the University in September? It includes a list of professional behaviours that the University values and includes things such as integrity, politeness, punctuality and tolerance; all things that can help make you distinct from your competition when it comes to forging successful careers.

CAPOD loves to help students develop their professional skills and behaviours whilst they’re still at University (in fact, CAPOD can help you develop your academic and IT skills too). One thing you can do right now to help you get a head start in developing professional skills to complement your academic ones is to take part in the Professional Skills Curriculum (PSC).

Each year hundreds of students engage with the PSC. It’s a development programme for all students that aims to help you build the skills you’ll need post-graduation. There are over 30 skills topics on offer, everything from leadership to teamwork, assertiveness to negotiation, and time management to great communication (after all, you don’t want to be the workmate who’s irrational and goes on and on!) You can dip in and out of the programme as you please, and in a way that suits your learning style. The topics are delivered through a mixture of evening and lunchtime lectures, online workshops and practical skill sessions. The mathematicians who have taken part in the PSC before have really valued their experience.

You can find out more about the PSC, this year’s timetable, and even how you can turn your attendance into an award on your degree transcript here , or if you want to learn a bit more about what else CAPOD can do for you, visit here.

Thanks for reading!

Best of luck for the rest of the week!

Monique & Catriona Wilson (CAPOD)


Student membership at the Royal Statistical Society (RSS)

Hi everyone,

We received this recently from the RSS and thought you might be interested. The following is edited for brevity 🙂

We have changed the structure of our student membership offering, so that it is free and open to all students (including part-timers). It also offers online benefits only and as such is called e-Student membership. Students can apply online and it should only take a matter of minutes to apply, so they no longer need to fill out a paper applications signed by the programme directors. Hopefully this will also increase uptake as there are no requirements to apply, apart from an interest in statistics, and no subscription payment. Please do promote this opportunity to as many of your students as you can if possible, including those not on accredited courses. Please point them in the direction of www.rss.org.uk/join for the time being where they can read more about membership and sign up.

While we will no longer be offering printed copies of Significance as part of this free membership, we do also want to continue offering this to those in the final year of the accredited courses, as we always have done. If these students could apply online in the normal way, they will find instructions on how to be set up to receive this additional benefit during the process (they basically just need to contact my colleague Joanna – j.ratajczak@rss.org.uk – with some proof that they are on an eligible course). If any students who are not on accredited courses would like to receive Significance as a hard copy, it is worth pointing them in the direction of the Wiley website, where they can subscribe directly for a reduced rate as students.


Thanks for reading!



Message from SUMS (Week 3)

Hey everyone!

I hope this email finds you well and, not struck down with the freshers’ flu currently ravaging St Andrews. Our events for the next couple of weeks are:

Christmas Meal Tickets

We’re super keen this year and have already planned the legendary Student-Staff SUMS Christmas meal. It is £25 for 3 courses at the Doll’s House on Thursday 26th November. We’re selling tickets in the main maths corridor this Wednesday 2-5pm. We only have a limited number of spaces, so if you want to join us you’ll need to be quick! The menu can be found here.

SUMSday League Football

SUMS vs. Cupar Town

Last Sunday saw the SUMS football team playing in their inaugural Sunday League match against Cupar Town. After a shaky start the players found their feet, playing a very solid match throughout with a marked improvement in the second half. Result: SUMS 3 – 5 CUPAR TOWN

This Sunday (4/10) we need a volunteer to referee our match. (No further commitment required). Please email Surabhi on sd207 if you are interested in refereeing or playing for SUMS FC.

EGM and Student-Staff Pot Luck

On Monday of Week 4 (5/10) we’re holding our EGM in order to elect a First Year Rep and Postgraduate Rep to our committee, held in the Observatory at 8pm. In classic SUMS style, we’re challenging the entire School (Staff and Students) to show off their maths-related-cooking-skills, in the combined EGM and Pot Luck. Maths related drinks are also encouraged (BYOB)!


You must be a paid member to vote and run for a position. If you have any questions about the EGM procedures or positions, please email Hannah on hlm4.



Lunchtime Lecture by Professor Rivin: Mathematics of Billiards

Next Thursday (8/10) Professor Rivin will be giving a talk on the Mathematics of Billiards in Maths Lecture Theatre C at 1pm. Feel free to bring your lunch along!


Abstract: Mathematical billiards are somewhat different from the pub kind, and some would say much more interesting. I will describe some topics of current interest.


Have a great week!
SUMS Committee

A message from SUMS for Week 2

Hi All,
Hope week 1 was kind. Thanks to everyone who came to the Pub Golf last week, welcome to the lizard life!
See below for events this week…

Lecture Series – “Orbital Mechanics in Real Time”
Our very first lecture is a collaboration between Maths, Physics and Astrophysics. Presented by Mr. Carey; he will discuss the task of bringing two spacecraft together (i.e. into matching orbits – “orbital rendezvous”) in a controlled, safe fashion.
See the link below for more details.

Social – BBQ
This Thursday, 20A Queens Gardens – 7.30pm.
Link below to event.

Thanks to everyone that has already paid! If not, would you mind bringing along £3 to the BBQ.

Sunday League Football
Still looking to get a football team together. We have had a lot of interest and just need to finalise the team with a few more referees and a goalkeeper. Email SD207 if interested.

Fresher & Postgrad Rep
This year we have 2 open places on the committee for a Freshers rep and a Postgrad rep. These positions will help us have better representation across years and hopefully another opportunity to get more people involved. Email sums@st-Andrews.ac.uk if you are interested. EGM details coming at a later date.

Good luck for week 2!

Much love, SUMS.

A message from the School president

Hi there!

I hope you’re all settling down here in St Andrews, and an especially warm welcome to all first-years, direct entry second-years and exchange students!

To start with, I’ll briefy introduce myself. My name is Raghav, and I am President of the School of Maths and Stats. As School President, it is my job to represent you to the Department and the University. As one of your points of contact for advice and support, I will take any concerns you may have to higher channels. I’m looking forward to working with you all throughout the upcoming year!

As some of you might know, each of the 21 School Presidents at the University is ably supported by a team of Class Representatives. This team meets twice per semester as part of the SSCC (Staff-Student Consultative Committee), and works with staff members to address issues in the School. Class Reps serve as focal points within different divisions of the School.

There are 13 different Class Reps positions available:

  • First Year Fast Track Rep
  • First Year Rep
  • Direct Entry Rep
  • Second Year Rep
  • Applied Maths, Level 3000/4000 Representative
  • Pure Maths, Level 3000/4000 Representative
  • Statistics, Level 3000/4000 Representative
  • Applied Maths, Level 4000/5000 Representative
  • Pure Maths, Level 4000/5000 Representative
  • Statistics, Level 4000/5000 Representative
  • MSc Rep (PGT)
  • PhD Rep (PGR)
  • SSCC Secretary

Nominations for Class Rep are now open, and are open until 5pm on Friday the 18th of September. There are currently several positions with no nominations received yet. I highly encourage you to run! It is an excellent opportunity to gain leadership and communication experience, and to work with senior members of staff. Another perk of this position is that it is very well-recognised by employers and looks excellent on a CV. You can nominate yourself through this link:


You will receive regular emails from me containing updates and plans throughout the year, but that’s all for now. Feel free to get in touch with me anytime over email or stop me in the halls, even just to grab coffee. I’m more than happy to chat!

Raghav Mehra
School President, Maths & Stats