AIMS 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.
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.
Lecturers can propose courses for the following academic year.
The AIMS Structured Master's in Mathematical Sciences is a one-year programme with two intakes each year (January and August). The curriculum runs over 3 semesters described below. There is an oral defense of the research project at the end of the academic year followed by a graduation ceremony.
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.