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Graduate Admissions

This course is a three-year programme culminating in the submission and examination of a single research thesis.  Students joining the course will often have completed prior study at a level comparable to our Part III (MMath/MASt) course and many have postgraduate experience. Our students therefore begin their PhD research with a good understanding of advanced material, which they build on in various ways throughout the course of their PhD studies.

Structure of the PhD

Students are required to undertake a minimum of nine terms of research (ie three years). Students are not registered for the PhD in the first instance but are instead admitted on a probationary basis. All students are assessed for registration towards the end of their first year of full-time study (usually June). This assessment is based on a short written report which is reviewed by two assessors. In the fifth term there might also be a further assessment of progress, for which students submit a longer piece of written work and receive an oral assessment.

Research areas

The topic of the research thesis may be chosen from the wide range of subjects studied within DPMMS. It is expected that applicants to the PhD course will investigate the research interests and expertise of our academic staff prior to making a formal application. This may be done by consulting the research pages of our website, as well as the individual profiles of our academic staff.

Additional training and opportunities

Whilst there are no mandatory taught components to the PhD degree, students may wish to undertake specific courses or further training to expand their knowledge, either for personal interest or to directly assist with their PhD research. All students are encouraged to participate and attend the wide range of lectures, seminars and events on offer within DPMMS and the Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

Many students submit a prize essay at the beginning of their fifth term. The best essays each year are of a scale and quality already adequate for a PhD dissertation, incorporating work already, or about to be, published. We intend that our students publish their work in leading journals. Our PhD students might have written several papers before they submit their dissertation, and can go on to win academic positions at leading institutions around the world.

DPMMS also promotes and encourages researcher development and transferable skills training. This can take the form of assisting with Part III catch-up lectures, attendance at skills-based training sessions, or presenting work at seminars and conferences. The University also offers training via the Researcher Development Programme.

There is no requirement for PhD students to teach but there are plenty of opportunities to do so, such as offering supervisions for third-year undergraduates (this involves the supervisor sitting with a pair of students for an hour, discussing their work). PhD students might help too with running examples classes for Part III students.

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Key Information

3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2018

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2017
Application deadline
June 30, 2018
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2018

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 4, 2018
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2017

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