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The Triple Alpha Process; Christopher Tout

The Triple Alpha Process for Helium Fusion

Mathematics at Cambridge

Cambridge is renowned for the excellence of its Mathematics course. Equally challenging and rewarding, it offers you the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects: everything from black holes to the most abstruse logic problems.

The University's Mathematics course covers pure and applied Mathematics and Statistics, including applications of Mathematics to Physics, to decision-making processes, to financial modelling, and to numerical techniques for computation. It is the course for prospective academic mathematicians but it is by no means only for them. Its graduates go into both academic and industrial research, into the computing industry and the financial world, into teaching, into management, administration and many other careers.

Mathematics at Churchill

If you want to learn as much as possible about Mathematics and all its applications and are prepared to work hard to do so, then Churchill is the place for you. The College is just a few minutes walk from the University’s Centre for Mathematical Sciences and we have a large Maths cohort (we admit around 14 mathematicians each year). Our mathematicians form a congenial social group who are very willing to support each other's studies. If you enjoy Mathematics, we hope you will apply to us: we look forward to teaching you in due course.

Mathematics with Physics

If you believe you will specialise in theoretical Physics, this course will provide you with an excellent start, by combining the first year of the Mathematics Tripos with the Physics course from the Natural Sciences Tripos. It is a distinct course only in the first year. After that, you may transfer into the Natural Sciences course to specialise in Physics with an experimental bias, or continue in Mathematics as a theoretical physicist or indeed as a pure mathematician. Your application to Mathematics with Physics at Churchill would be considered alongside our other Mathematics applications.

Full details are provided on the Faculty of Mathematics website, and summarised in the University Undergraduate Prospectus.


Subject pre-requisites

Essential Highly desirable/useful
A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and STEP Mathematics 2 and 3. A Level/IB Higher Level Physics and/or A Level Further Mathematics (Mechanics modules are highly desirable)
Mathematics with Physics
Essential Highly desirable/useful
A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and Physics, and STEP Mathematics 2 and 3. A Level Further Mathematics (Mechanics modules are highly desirable)

For entry from October 2019, Further Mathematics will be treated as essential if you're taking A Levels. This is to reflect the fact that almost all students entering by this route take Further Mathematics A Level, and those who do not must do extra work during first year to make up. We will continue to look kindly on special cases where Further Mathematics is truly not an option and we consider the candidate capable of the extra work.

Mechanics modules within Physics and Mathematics are highly desirable as an introduction to our applied courses. They are not essential, however, and we can offer you a remedial course during your first term (which can be accommodated within the normal workload of able students).

Standard entry requirements

Written work

You will not be required to submit any examples of written work.


If called, you will normally have a single interview with an academic Fellow of the College and an assistant.


If interviewed, you will be asked to sit a one-hour non-calculator pre-interview test in mathematical skills during your visit. The test will not be based on any particular syllabus and no past papers are available.


If you are looking to extend your knowledge of Mathematics, you might enjoy exploring the following websites:

Underground Mathematics


STEP Support Programme


For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.

Admissions Office

Image: The Triple Alpha Process for Helium Fusion © Christopher Tout