Master of Mathematics (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This master is a research-based master’s program in which you can specialize in various fields of both pure and applied mathematics. You are trained to be a mathematician with a broad view on the scientific domain on the one side and a thorough knowledge of a number of specialized disciplines within mathematics.

What is the program all about?

The Master of Mathematics (Leuven) program offers you the possibility to focus on either pure or applied mathematics. This allows you to gain experience and autonomy in learning how to cope with new concepts, higher levels of abstraction, new techniques, and new applications.

This culminates in the master’s thesis, where you become actively involved in the research performed in one of the mathematical research groups of the Departments of Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy and Computer Science.


The program consists of 120 ECTS in total, and you choose one of the two profiles: Pure Mathematics (algebra, geometry, analysis) or Applied Mathematics (statistics, financial and actuarial mathematics, astrophysical applications and space weather) (54 ECTS), and one of the two options: the Research Option or the Professional Option (30 ECTS). There is one common course: ‘Mathematics of the 21st Century’ (6 ECTS).

To complete the program you carry out a research project that results in a master’s thesis (30 ECTS).

Research in pure mathematics focus on algebraic geometry and number theory, algebraic topology and group theory, functional analysis, and classical analyses, and differential geometry. Those student researchers in mathematical statistics deal with actuarial statistics, financial mathematics and stochastic processes, robust statistics, semi, and non-parametric statistics.

Research in the applied mathematics group covers computational modeling, astrophysical applications and space weather.


  • The academic staff at the Department of Mathematics consists of leading experts in their field, and share their global network of researchers and employers.
  • You will benefit from the diverse experience of the international faculty staff, and from the multinational student base.
  • You will be equipped with a powerful tool kit from which to tackle and solve problems facing mathematics, from an academic, work-based, and research-based perspective.

Is this the right program for me?

  • The ideal prospective student has completed at least 75 ECTS of coursework covering: linear algebra, analysis, algebra, geometry, differential equations, statistics, probability, and numerical mathematics.
  • You should show proficiency in oral and written English.


The Master in Mathematics has acquired the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and insight

1. The graduate has a thorough knowledge of and insight into different subfields of pure or applied mathematics. 2. The graduate has in-depth knowledge of at least one subfield of mathematics and has insight into contemporary research in this field.

Applying knowledge and insight

3. The graduate has the skills and insight to take the following steps in their own scientific research:
a. Defining a research topic, posing a research question and adjusting it during the research,
b. reflecting on and planning an appropriate solution procedure,
c. carrying out a scientific study independently and accurately,
d.discussing the results in a scientifically sound report,
e. and all this taking into account the appropriate deontological rules of conduct.

Developing and opinion

4. The graduate can, in the context of a research question, look up relevant professional literature and can assess its validity.
5. The graduate can independently process the results of both their own research and the literature review, and critically interpret and discuss these results in the context of a specific research question.


6. The graduate is able to communicate about and present scientific research in writing and orally to peers and experts. 7. The graduate is able to report, communicate and present in both Dutch and English, in writing and orally, taking into account the ethical rules of conduct.

Learning skills and personal development goals

8. The graduate is able to independently acquire knowledge, conduct research, and tackle scientific problems while paying attention to originality and creativity.

Depending on the chosen option, the graduate has acquired the following additional learning outcomes:

9. Education: The graduate has didactic knowledge, insights, and skills needed to support the teaching and learning process within a powerful learning environment in mathematics.
10. Research: The graduate has in-depth/broadening knowledge and skills that apply to discipline-specific research.
11. Professional: The graduate has in-depth/broadening knowledge and skills that apply to professional contexts.

Career Opportunities

Mathematicians are in high demand across the workplace and can find employment in industry and in the banking, insurance, and IT sectors. There are also openings in academic institutions, government agencies and think tanks, private companies, research centers, and industrial companies and departments.

Many graduates who choose the research option pursue a career in research and start their Ph.D. in mathematics, mathematical physics, astrophysics, engineering, or related fields.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's program you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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