I do not officially study mathematics, so I always rely on what's on the internet. Specifically, I follow the schedules of the Tripos – the math program at Cambridge, supposedly one of the most demanding, very well-known math programs.

There was one thing that bothered me about the schedules:

Why is combinatorics not a part of the Tripos?

As far as I can see, graph theory is the only combinatorics subject in there, but it comes much later, in Part 2.

Feel free to remove this post if it's too irrelevant.


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    $\begingroup$ There are Tripos Part III courses in Combinatorics: maths.cam.ac.uk/postgrad/mathiii/courseguide/2014-15/cg5 $\endgroup$ – Simon S Jun 20 '15 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @SimonS Indeed,yes.But those are graduate-level courses. $\endgroup$ – AsG Jun 20 '15 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ Well, you can't do everything in an undergraduate education. So they decided to make a trade off. Why does it bother you? $\endgroup$ – Simon S Jun 20 '15 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ Particularly, there is already more in the tripos than any person can actually do - there is only so much time, after all. Combinatorics as an area is more self contained than most (in the sense of not being non-trivially relied upon in other areas). So, since something must be, it is a good one to leave for later. Then, in Part III, it can be treated in a more advanced manner than it could have earlier, looking at problems requiring various background from other areas and jumping straight into more involved proofs. $\endgroup$ – meta Jun 20 '15 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ Could you make precise what you mean by "Why?" That is do you mean "What can be rationals for a demanding math programs not to contain a combinatorics course?" or "What is the (historical) reason for the Cambridge Tripos not to contain a combinatorics course?" or something else. (I think the first would be a better question for this site than the latter.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '15 at 13:02

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