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Postgraduate research programmes

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Postgraduate research programmes

The Department of Mathematics runs an active PhD research programme covering an array of topics.

You can find out about our current PhD students and their research fields in our PURE pages 

We welcome applications from prospective PhD students wishing to propose their own research projects, or those who wish to develop a detailed project in conjunction with their supervisor. We also welcome those of you who wish to work on projects of particular interest to our academics. The latter are encouraged to contact the listed supervisor directly, either before or in parallel, with making a formal application.

Your study and assessment

Currently, our PhD researchers are working on topics such as discrete mathematics, algebra, cryptography, number theory, quantum chaos and quantum information. All of our academic staff are happy to take on new PhD students but some may temporarily stop accepting new students if they become overloaded.

The PhD programme at the Department of Mathematics is research-based and much of the work involves substantial amounts of research and study, both independently and in close coordination with your supervisor.

All of our PhD research students are assigned at least one named supervisor and an advisor, both of whom are academics from our department. Your supervisor directs your work and acts as your first line of research and welfare support while the role of your advisor will vary but in all cases they provide a second line of support.

You may also be directed to attend some of the advanced course units offered by the College. To make the most of your PhD programme, it’s important you play an active role in the department’s research community. This involves regularly attending relevant seminar series, workshops and study groups in the department. It also involves discussing and presenting work to your fellow students and staff. Where appropriate, you may even have the chance to attend or present your work at seminars, workshops or research meetings off campus, including international research conferences.

Once your research has been successfully completed, you must write and submit a final report in the form of a PhD research thesis. This will be evaluated by at least two experts and you’ll be invited to attend an oral examination, known as a Viva, where you must defend your thesis.

How long will my PhD take?

The most common and practical mode of pursuing a PhD is to study full-time. Full-time students in their first three years are guaranteed desk space and computer facilities in the department and are expected to fully contribute to our research community. You have four years from your registration to submit your thesis.

We also welcome applications for part-time study from committed candidates. This is the default mode for students working for more than 15 hours per week or with family commitments that may prevent full-time study. If you’re a part-time student you’re expected to attend our campus on a fairly regular basis. You’ll have seven years from your registration to submit your thesis.

Before registering for a PhD degree, you must ensure that time and funds will be available to enable your completion and submission of your thesis within four or seven years.

Download our Postgraduate Research Handbook



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