Part III Seminar Series - two important weeks in the Part III Calendar

There are two Part III Seminar Series, one at the end of the Michaelmas term, and one at the end of the Lent term. These are your chances to give talks to your colleagues (and many of the research students, who have realised that these talks offer excellent introductions to subjects outside their own area of expertise).


For the Michaelmas Term series, you are encouraged to present material arising from examples sheets, or to develop themes introduced by lecturers but then abandonned. You will be organised into groups talking on similar subjects (even better if you organise your own seminar group). You will give your own talk, you will listen to other peoples talks, and you will participate in discussion following each talk. The Michaelmas Term Seminar Series season begins with a talk on How to Prepare a Talk. Sign-up for the series begins following that talk, and there will be opportunities to ask about the running of the seminars at that time.

You may wish to invite potential supervisors/writers of supporting letters to come and listen to the Michaelmas talks. It is one opportunity (out of very few) for students to display their mathematical abilities to staff before the exams in June. While staff are busy too at this time of year, it remains the best option we have found.


The Lent Term Series offers the perfect opportunity to begin to gather your ideas on your Part III essay together prior to setting metaphorical pen to paper, although you are welcome to give a talk even if you have no intention of offering an essay, and giving a talk is in no way a requirement for writing an essay. The Lent Term Seminar Series season begins with a talk on How to Convert a Talk into an Essay, after which sign-up will be available.


The Seminar Series are a major social event in the Part III calendar. The treadmill of lectures has ceased but the momentum of term carries very tired students through long days of talks in something of a carnival atmosphere. There is always a generous supply of flapjack, doughnuts, cupcakes, brownies and miscellaneous biscuits available at the break times. Both series end with a well-supplied party in the part III room.

The timing of these seminar series

Every year earnest complaints are lodged that the timing is unsuitable. Every year we have scanned the calendar for more suitable times, but so far we have not come up with any better solution. The Michaelmas term series needs to be in early December if it is going to be any use for those needing recommendations for US universities. The Lent term series cannot be any later if it is going to be of use in helping students arrive at a sensible outline for their essays. Like much of life, this is an occasion where we will make the best of sub-optimal opportunities.

You can look at listings of past Michaelmas and Lent Term Seminar Series talks.