By Laura Tate, 3rd Year BSc Mathematics and Philosophy
In my final year of sixth form I was faced with the same question from my parents, teachers and friends: what do you want to study at university?
It felt daunting that this decision could affect the trajectory of my life and I didn’t feel ready to make such a big decision. However, I thought about what I hoped to gain from attending university and my immediate answer was that I wanted to study a subject that I was passionate and curious about. This made the process a lot less overwhelming as I was already studying A-level subjects that I loved: Maths, Philosophy and Further Maths, and I knew that I wanted to continue to pursue this passion. Mathematics and Philosophy seemed like the obvious choice.
So, with further research I solidified my reasons to study Mathematics and Philosophy at university:
- A Diverse Range of Modules
Having felt so constricted following the curriculum at secondary school, it was a pleasant surprise to realise the huge range of module options that I could take throughout my three years at university. It felt exciting that I could focus on topics such as pure maths, probability or statistical maths as well as philosophy subjects like ethics, philosophy of physics or political philosophy. This opportunity to tailor the degree to suit my interests is what drew me in. The idea that day-to-day I could be delving into topics that were completely different seemed perfect and I couldn’t wait to learn more in-depth about my favourite subjects.
- Understanding the Fundamentals of Logic
Mathematics teaches you methods to tackle problems with a logical approach and as you develop your mathematical knowledge you learn the most efficient yet effective ways to solve these quantifiable questions. The way we approach philosophical problems is, perhaps surprisingly, similar to Maths. We analyse arguments presented by philosophers and our experiences of the world to present a logical argument based on the information gathered. Both subjects are fundamentally based on logic and this ability to think analytically attracted me further to the combination of Maths and Philosophy as I wanted to apply this approach to everyday tasks.
- Developing Transferable Skills for Future Career Opportunities
I had no idea what I wanted to do in my career, but I knew that I wanted to develop as wide a range a skill set as possible so that I could have plenty of career options. Maths is all about problem-solving and no matter where you work you need to be able to spot patterns, use logical reasoning and make decisions. Philosophy also enhances your critical thinking as you have to break down arguments to analyse their validity. One of the most important transferable skills that philosophy also develops is your ability to be innovative and create your own solutions to problems. The combination of being both logical and creative is appealing to many employers as it shows you can adapt in circumstances when problems arise as you can be innovative whilst remaining efficient. This strong range of transferable skills that I would establish for future career opportunities sounded amazing and I would have the option to work in many industries, including the Technology, Finance, Engineering, Business and Science sectors.
- Being Surrounded By Fellow Curious-Thinking Students
I loved that Mathematics and Philosophy appealed to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds: those that had only ever studied Maths, those that had studied both and even those who had never tried Philosophy before. Both subjects encourage curiosity. For example, asking you to think about your philosophical readings consequences or to question why a mathematical method is true. The opportunity to freely ask questions as well as explore your fellow students’ ideas seemed like a fun and interesting way to learn.
- Following a Passion
My main reason to pursue a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy was to follow a passion that I had and explore further what these subjects had to offer. I was going to be taught by experts in the field and I wanted to spend my three years at university enjoying what I was learning so that I felt excited to attend lectures and seminars. I am glad this was my main motivation for my degree, as even when the work gets harder, I am still able to enjoy the problem-solving as I truly enjoy it.