I'm looking for advice on postgraduate study in pure maths from academics or people involved in the application process.
I have enjoyed studying pure maths (particularly algebra) throughout my undergrad and masters course, and would like to continue studying it by doing a research based masters or a PhD. Given my grades, I think going straight into a PhD is unrealistic and possibly unwise, so I plan on applying for research-based masters. I got a 2:2 in my undergrad from the University of Bath and a merit in a taught masters from the University of London. In Bath, I never got below 70% in coursework but I really struggled keeping my head in exams. I would get overwhelmed with stress and not be able to do anything properly — I felt like this was the limiting factor for me, not my mathematical ability. Of course, I am aware that I'm not necessarily better than this, I just feel that exams were more a test of holding my nerve rather than how well I can do maths. I genuinely enjoy working on problem sheets and coursework and haven't done badly in those, which is why I want to continue with my studies. If I had received those grades for [decent mathematical effort] I would accept that I'm likely not cut out for a postgrad research programme. I think I would regret not going for it even if I turned out to be no good — at least I'd know for sure that I'm not suited to doing a PhD.
When I went to the University of London, it was during the pandemic and so exams were done from home. I found being in a more relaxed setting with more time helped a bit, and I averaged 69% in these exams.
I have emailed a few departments about this and they aren't responding to me, so any advice you can give would be very welcome. I wanted to contact admissions about my grades before contacting potential supervisors for the research project (to ensure that I'm eligible for the programmes). The entry requirements are usually a 2:1 honours degree, and I think the Merit in my MSc satisfies this.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
TLDR; bad grades due to panicking in exams (2:2), but always got a first in coursework and did pretty well on problem sheets. Would I be considered for a year-long research-based masters in pure maths?