Skip to main page content - your browser does not fully support our CSS, or is text-only.

Mathematics and Statistics Group

MAT9J8: Problem Solving in Mathematics and Statistics

SCQF Level: 10
Course Prerequisite: 9 Mathematics modules at level 9 or 10
Credit Value: 22


The module is designed for Semester 8 Single Honours students inThe module is designed for Semester 8 Single Honours students in Mathematics and its Applications. Those studying Mathematics and Professional Education take MAT9K8, a supervised project on a mathematical topic. Exceptionally, and at the discretion of the Head of the Mathematics and Statistics Group, a Combined Honours student may take MAT9K8, and a Single Honours student may take MAT9K8 in place of MAT9J8.


The aims of the module are:

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module the student will have solved three problems at advanced undergraduate level in Mathematics and/or Statistics, will have written reports on their solutions, and will have presented the results for one of the three problems. The student will have demonstrated initiative and research, problem solving, report writing and presentational skills.


Varies according to the problems set.

Transferable Skills

Problem solving, initiative, report writing, presentation skills.


There is no set text. However, students may care to consult the following resources:
G. Polya, How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method, Penguin Science Ltd, 1990, ISBN: 0140124993
R. Barass, Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students, Routledge Study Guides, 2002, ISBN: 0415269962
Presenting your research, Education Development Center, Inc., 2003, retrieved 08.09.06 from the world wide web

Teaching Format

In this module each student tackles three problems in succession and presents a written report on each. There is no choice for the first problem but for subsequent problems a choice from two is offered. A supervisor is assigned to each problem to provide general guidance on its solution. The student is expected to solve each problem (or a simplified version of the problem), and is encouraged to provide generalizations, alternative methods and counter-examples as appropriate. Three weeks are allocated to each problem. Each report is graded by the supervisor and discussed with the student within 10 days of submission. The student selects one of the three problems and gives a 15-minute oral presentation on the problem.


30% for each of the three reports plus 10% for the oral presentation.