Courses in mathematics and its applications are currently facing considerable pressures to change. Increasing competition for students, for example, means that particular attention must be paid to attracting and retaining students. Indeed, recent evidence from assessment of teaching quality in the UK has highlighted problems with retaining mathematics students (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 2000). The extent to which students are adequately prepared for existing programmes of study is a related issue and has been the subject of much debate in the UK (see, for example, Sutherland, 2000). Other pressures for change are also evident, whether stemming from technology, an improved understanding of student learning or new applications of mathematics (see, for example, Haines and Dunthorne, 1996).