AIMS South Africa Courses and Admission Requirements


African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is located in South Africa and it offers mathematics related undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Admission requirements and courses offered at the institution are as follows

  • BSc (Honours) in Mathematics with a focus in Biomathematics

The BSc Honours in Mathematics with a focus in Biomathematics is an annual course run in conjunction with Stellenbosch University. The course commences in January each year. It aims to meet the growing demand from molecular biology, systems biology, bioinformatics, ecology, and biomedical science for students and researchers with solid mathematical skills. The course aims to train mathematicians to formulate and analyse precise models for experimental data arising from real-life research problems within the fields of biology and medicine — from predicting the influence of HIV, Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis to the effects of climate change on South Africa.

The course requires a strong foundation in mathematics and an introduction to mathematical modelling using differential equations, and includes modules on: computational and discrete methods in Mathematical Biology, non-linear dynamical systems in mathematical biology, advanced topics in mathematical biology, topics in biological and biomedical sciences, as well as a project. Projcet topics include the application of mathematical, computational and/or statistical methods to analyse and solve problems in biological sciences, environmental sciences, and medical sciences.

The modules will be presented by local and international researchers in modelling of biological and biomedical systems, population dynamics, mathematical biology, bio-informatics. The projects will be supervised by a researcher in mathematical sciences and a researcher in biological or biomedical sciences.

Students spend the first half of the year at AIMS and the second half of the year at Stellenbosch University.

Overview of 2017 Biomaths courses (towards Honours) offered at AIMS

Abstracts of 2017 Biomaths courses (towards Honours) offered at AIMS

Course poster

Application process

The Honours in Mathematical Biology course is jointly run by the Stelllenbosch University’s Department of Mathematical Sciences and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).  The application procedure and form is available via Stellenbosch University’s Science Faculty webpage  under Information for Students, Postgraduate Programmes, and the Department of Mathematical Sciences website, under Honours courses.


South African students with a good BSc majoring in Mathematics, and (at least) some courses in a biological/biomedical field, or an equivalent qualification, can apply.

  • AIMS Structured Master’s in Mathematical Sciences

AIMS South Africa offers an intensive one-year postgraduate course leading to a Structured Master’s in Mathematical Sciences, formally accredited by the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and the Western Cape. The programme is taught in association with the faculty of the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Paris Sud XI.

The course provides both a broad overview of cutting-edge sciences and strong mathematical and computing research skills. The course is unique, offering students exposure to a range of topics, thereby allowing them to make an informed choice as to their future specialisation. The goal is to develop well-rounded scientists, with excellent problem-solving skills, capable of creative thinking and genuine innovation. There is a strong grounding in end-to-end skills, from problem formulation, estimation, prioritization, and generally applicable mathematical and computing methods, through to clear and concise scientific report writing. A number of modules which also make the course interesting and relevant to prospective mathematics and science teachers have been included.

Faculties from the nearby Universities of the Western Cape, Cape Town and Stellenbosch have been intimately involved in developing the AIMS course. World-leading scientists and educators have volunteered to teach at AIMS. Their participation ensures an education of the highest international quality. Tutors (often including alumni) provide teaching and administrative assistance, assistance to foreign language speakers, and continuity across the visiting lecturers.

Students are registered at one of the three local universities: Cape Town, Stellenbosch or Western Cape.

Prospective applicants

Completing a course of such scope and depth in just one academic year is possible only if it is highly intensive, so students must come prepared to work hard and focus. The residential nature of AIMS allows far greater contact time between lecturers and students than normally available in a university setting. Courses are student-centered but very demanding. Students study two subjects at a time every three weeks, with morning lectures and related afternoon problem solving and computing sessions. Each course consists of 30 hours contact time (10 per week). Additional tutorials and special lectures are often held in the evenings, when students complete their assignments.

No special preparation for the course is needed on a student’s part. However, the working language is English and foreign students are advised to take an English language course before arrival. The course also carries a large component of scientific computing, and many hours are spent in the computer lab; students who have improved their touch typing skills before the programme will have a distinct advantage.

To apply for admission to the January intake.

To apply for admission to the August intake.

The Curriculum

The AIMS Structured Master’s in Mathematical Sciences is a one-year programme with two intakes each year (January and August). Please click here for more information.


Some course notes, tutorials, and previous essays are available at the following locations. Note that not all lecturers choose to keep their notes online, and the content on these pages might fluctuate regularly.