LC Polymaths

If you want to study mathematics at degree level but don’t have the necessary qualifications, the Polymaths IMA Certificate could be the solution. This nationally recognised course is of A-level standard, and is similar to an access course, providing an alternative route into BSc (Hons) Mathematics.

LC Polymaths

Course details

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications Polymaths Certificate has been taught at the University of Bolton for more than 30 years. It’s ideal if you’d like to study an honours degree in mathematics but don’t have the necessary A-levels. It has a proven history with many successful students progressing to undergraduate courses and going on to gain good honours degrees.

It’s designed to provide an overview of the mathematics discipline and prepare you for degree-level study. The course covers a range of subjects, including number systems, functions and their graphs, elementary abstract algebra, and differential and integral calculus.

This course requires regular commitment twice a week - classes are taught in the evening in relatively small groups of between 20 and 30 students. Informal and interactive, lessons involve lots of student participation and discussion of the course materials. You’ll be guided in the programme towards the development of subject-specific skills, such as understanding abstract concepts and being able to clearly present mathematical arguments, and assessed through short tests, exams and a project of your choice.

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: LC
  • Duration: 1 year

Course highlights:

  • The Polymaths course has a long and successful history at the University of Bolton, having been taught by our faculty for more than 30 years.
  • Lessons are conveniently held twice a week in the evening over a one-year period. The programme has an informal structure of interactive lessons, taught in groups of between 20 and 30 students.
  • This course is especially suitable for students who have been away from education for some time.
  • On successful completion of the course, you’ll be awarded a Certificate in Polymaths from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Key features:

  • Our Mathematics degrees are top in the North West and second in the UK for student satisfaction (The Complete University Guide 2018), and you can be assured that we offer the same high standards of tuition and pastoral care to our Polymaths students.
  • The course focus is pure mathematics supported by some studies using the computer algebra system Maple.
  • Course topics include algebraic techniques, number systems, mathematical functions, calculus, set theory and logic.
  • After successfully completing the Polymaths Certificate of the IMA with the required score, you may progress on to the BSc (Hons) Mathematics degree course at the University of Bolton.

Entry requirements

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: LC
  • Duration: 1 year

A pass at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 in GCSE Mathematics (or equivalent) is recommended.

You’ll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process. This will allow you to discuss the course with the admissions tutor who’ll decide if it’s appropriate for you.

If English isn't your first language you'll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). Find out more

Career opportunities

The Polymaths course provides an excellent foundation for the BSc (Hons) Mathematics course. It also provides a good foundation for courses in other subjects that have a high mathematical requirement; for example, engineering and computer-related courses.

Studying the Polymaths Certificate helps to develop skills and knowledge that are in high demand. On completion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate the ability to manage their time effectively in order to meet deadlines, convey information with clarity, organise workloads, problem solve, and work methodically and accurately.

What can I do with this qualification?

The Polymaths Certificate is primarily designed for people who wish to progress to study at undergraduate level, especially in subjects that require A-level Mathematics. Many of our successful Polymaths students choose to study BSc (Hons) Mathematics.

There is a demand for mathematicians across a wide range of sectors so completing a degree in mathematics is a solid choice. Popular career paths for mathematics graduates include business, IT, economics, banking and finance. Those who have specialised in statistics can find work in the NHS, local authorities, education, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance, market research and marketing companies and accountancy firms. There are also opportunities for employment with publicly-funded-research institutes or government agencies.

Alternative career options

  • Insurance underwriting
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Business analysis
  • Quantity surveying
  • Tax advising
  • Pensions consultancy
  • Engineering
  • Software testing
  • Scientific Research and Development
  • Teaching and education
  • Management consultancy
  • Public administration
  • Market research
  • Corporate finance
  • Computing
  • Auditing
  • Retail
  • Purchasing
  • Investment banking
  • Stocks and shares
  • Credit and investment analysis

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or for more information

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or


International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching, learning and assessment

The Polymaths Certificate of the IMA is delivered via informal, interactive twice-weekly lessons held in the evening. Sessions are tutor-led and are approximately two-and-a-half hours in length. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions and invited to join in discussions during these lessons. Split into six sections, the programme comprises four areas of content, which are supplemented by a computer algebra unit and a project.

You’ll be expected to complete a number of short tests in your own time based on week-by-week learning of the set course books. Additionally, you’ll sit a time constrained open-book in class test for each book. There’s a long test on computer algebra, which is not time-constrained – this is completed in lesson time and includes tutor support.

You’ll also be expected to complete a project on a mathematical topic of your choosing, receiving guidance from tutors – restriction on the nature of the project is kept to a minimum. The IMA Polymaths Certificate is issued on the condition that you achieve at least 700 marks out of a total 1,200 for the entire course.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • Duration:
    1 year

Contact us

Michael Butler
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903634

Jonathan Kelly
Admissions Tutor and Deputy Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903134

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903