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Applying for postgraduate studies is easy and can be done quickly online. Simply complete and submit an online application on our University application page. If you are applying for a PhD position please read the additional advice given below.
Together with your application you should also submit the following documents:
- Academic transcripts of your previous study showing the subjects you have taken and grades obtained. If these documents are in languages other than English please provide official translations together with your transcripts.
- Two letters of academic reference from your current or most recent place of study. These would usually be from a personal tutor or project supervisor and should be accompanied where possible by the referee report form which has details of what should be included in the reference letter itself. You can also ask your referees to send their reference directly to us.
- Copies of English Language certification such as IELTS where required.
- A copy of your passport (if you will need a visa to study here).
Once your application has been submitted you can check your application status online.
For enquiries related to funding please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team.
Advice on completing the application form and further information about the application process (mainly for PhD applicants)
The research proposal
One of the most frequently asked questions is "Am I supposed to include a full research proposal in my application?" The answer to this is a firm "No!". While you're welcome to submit one, we're perfectly happy for you to merely indicate the area(s) of mathematics (such as fluid mechanics, financial mathematics, number theory, numerical analysis, etc.) you're interested in, and/or list the names of members of staff who you'd like to work with. If you omit the latter we will forward your application to all members of staff who have an interest in the research areas you've listed. Coming up with a research project that is not only worthwhile but also do-able (within the duration of a typical 3 1/2 year PhD) is not a trivial exercise, and we generally encourage applicants to work on this jointly with the potential supervisor.
As with research proposals, providing a personal statement is optional. If you do choose to include one, then this should be because you have interesting and relevant information to tell us. Although it is very tempting to use generic templates available online, this should be avoided! Under no circumstances should you copy (or even be "inspired by") personal statements of others that are available on the internet and elsewhere. This gives a very bad impression. All the information contained in your application should be written about you by you. We don't want to hear about the experiences or ideas of someone else. If you simply copy a template, then we are unlikely to accept your application.
We view project and dissertation work as an important indicator of research potential. So, if you have already completed an MSc dissertation or MMath project then, occasionally, we may request to see it. You do not need to submit this with your application but please be prepared to provide a copy for inspection if requested. It goes without saying that this should be all your own work and you should be prepared to tell us about it at interview.
Before filling in the application form we recommend that you spend some time looking around the research pages to see what we do. You should also consult people's personal homepages which often provide links to recent papers, more detailed description of their research interests, etc. You're more than welcome to contact any of us directly to discuss possible projects before applying formally. We don't bite and are always keen to hear from enthusiastic students who show an interest in our work. Note that there are several Postgraduate Open Days throughout the year. During these events you can visit the School, get an overview of our research activities and meet not only potential supervisors but also some of our current students who can tell you "what it's really like" to study here.
What is a good reference?
The importance of references cannot be overstated. While an excellent undergraduate degree is obviously desirable, an applicant's performance in undergraduate exams is, unfortunately, not always a good indicator of his/her suitability for research. The only way to find out if you're good at research is to do it! We would like to see references that comment on your suitability for research and explain the research activities that you've been involved in to date. We therefore hope that you've taken every available opportunity (e.g. in a final year project, a summer internship, or an MSc research project) to "get your hands dirty" and that the fact that you greatly enjoyed this experience forms a large part of your motivation to study for a PhD. If so, choose referees who can comment on this -- your project supervisor or any other academic who's seen you "in action" are obvious choices. Other good referees tend to be academics who have "noticed you" in their lectures -- maybe you were so fascinated by the material that you asked lots of good questions before, after or even during the lecture. Academics tend to remember this!
I've submitted my application -- now what?
What happens after you submit your application depends very much on how much information we already have from you. If you have already been in contact with a supervisor and have agreed a research project, you should get a decision very quickly. We will simply check that the paperwork (transcript, referees reports, etc) confirms your anticipated supervisor's positive impression of you and, if so, will offer you place to study for a PhD under his/her supervision. Congratulations!
If your application is more vague (and, as indicated above, this is not a bad thing!), we will forward it to all potential supervisors who work in the area(s) you expressed an interest in. If they are interested (in principle) to supervise you and have the capacity to take on more PhD students, they will almost certainly contact you to discuss possible projects in more detail. If we can't find a suitable supervisor for you we will let you know. We're a big School and have people working in many but, unfortunately, not all areas of mathematics; there's also a limit to the number of students individual academics can sensibly supervise.
Funding and fees
It is important to realise that the offer to study for a PhD is (unfortunately) not the same as an offer of funding! If you already have funding (see fees and funding for details), e.g. by having won a scholarship, this is not a problem. If you do not have funding in place we will automatically consider you for the (highly competitive) postgraduate scholarships that we administer within the School. The School's postgraduate committee meets regularly throughout the year to award such funding. Note that not being awarded funding at one of these meetings is not necessarily a final decision. Sufficiently strong candidates remain on the reserve list and are automatically reconsidered at the next meeting until we've spent all our money. We may also put you forward for other awards such as the PDS
If you still have any any queries about the application process, please do not hesitate to contact the programme director in charge of the programme you're applying for. Their names and contact details can be found on the groups' postgraduate research pages