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Research overview

Join our research department in the School of Mathematical Sciences for the chance to work on projects that have an impact in the modern world in both fundamental and applied mathematical sciences. Projects cover pure and applied, mathematical physics and statistics. Uncertainty quantification is a cross-cutting theme throughout the school.

We're looking for passionate research students to help us make a difference to the world around us. For example, current research projects focus on using mathematical sciences to develop communications, produce sustainable materials and enhance future healthcare.

Our research expertise covers:

Find out more on our research webpages. Projects and supervisors are available in each group.

Project case study

A recent exemplar project under the Uncertainty Quantification theme was 'Manifold-Valued Data Analysis of Networks and Shapes'. It explored how we can generalise standard statistical methods to samples of networks. The research can be applied to many real world areas such as text analysis, brain imaging and social networks.

Course content

Throughout your PhD you will focus on learning what information is already published and identifying gaps in knowledge. You will start to formulate your own research questions.

You will receive some initial training and take some assessed modules. Each year you will prepare a report which forms part of the annual progression assessment. In the final year, you'll finish your research and prepare for writing your thesis

You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisor(s). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel.

The emphasis is on both broadening your knowledge base and improving the skills and techniques relevant for doing research on thesis-specific matters.

The programme includes a training element, which may include research work as well as traditional taught material, and will include assessed components. These training modules will be provided by the school and The Graduate School.This formal training element is designed to provide you with transferable skills in writing and oral presentation needed to support your PhD. These modules can be tailored to your needs.

In each year you will have a regular meetings with your supervisor and an annual review.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.


2:1 in mathematics or a closely related subject with substantial mathematical content.

To secure funding you will need a First Class degree or Distinction.

Additional information


Applications are initially assessed. If successful, you will be invited for an interview. This is usually a video call or in person if possible.


2:1 (or international equivalent) in mathematics or a closely related subject with substantial mathematical content

To secure funding candidates require a First Class degree or Distinction.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Additional information


Applications are initially assessed. If successful, you will be invited for an interview. This is usually a video call or in person if possible.

English language support

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

For presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your interests.

You do not need to submit a detailed proposal, a short overview indicating your areas of interest will suffice. Alternatively, you could cite the projects from our research groups that are of interest.

See a list of projects list of projects on our school site.

Points to cover when discussing your interest in applying for a PhD

  • Motivation for doing a PhD
  • Your academic record and research experience
  • Sources of funding
  • Research topic

Funding deadlines

Applications for funding will start to be considered by the School in January, and so we encourage you to apply by January 7th.

Further funding applications will be considered on a rolling basis, while studentships remain available.

Study duration

Our standard duration of study is 3.5 years, although 3 or 4 year study is also be available in some cases.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£4,496 (estimate) per year
International£19,000 per year

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. The figures shown above match the limit for 2020 entry. We expect fees for 2021 entry to be confirmed in February 2021.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

We do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.


You should be able to access most of the books and journals you’ll need through our libraries.


The School provides access to appropriate computing facilities.


Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print study materials but these are usually available digitally. There are no printing fees.

Conferences and seminars

There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

There are some extra costs that you need to be aware of:

  • £160 thesis pending fee (current price at time of publication but it can increase each year)
  • Late submission fee for each month or part of the month that passes between the expected submission date and the date that the thesis is actually submitted


UK applicants

Each year we offer a number of competitive funded places from a variety of funding sources. Some of these will be advertised on the University's studentships page.  

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Research funding


Most of our PhD students have regular meetings, and you would typically meet with your supervisor each week.

Postgraduate students are encouraged to participate in the many school research-related activities, and attend appropriate national and international conferences when possible,

Our research groups hold regular seminars which PhD students can attend.

Mathematics research students also have access to specialised mathematical training courses such as those provided by the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics (APTS) or the Mathematics Access Grid Conferencing (MAGIC) group who run courses using videoconferencing technology.

Researcher Academy

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers at the University of Nottingham. As a postgraduate researcher, you will have access to our members’ area, which includes online resources, training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

Many PhD graduates choose to continue an academic career. You may start with a postdoctoral position or a teaching fellowship. PhD graduates are also in great demand for careers working for banks and financial institutions.

Some of our PhD graduates have taken up roles such as:

  • Assistant Professor
  • Consultant
  • Mathematical Modeller
  • Project Leader
  • Research Scientist
  • Statistician

They work for organisations such as:

  • Amey Strategic Consulting
  • Francis Crick Institute
  • University of Nottingham
  • Unilever

Fields Medal winner

One of our PhD graduates (Professor Caucher Birkar at the University of Cambridge) won a Fields Medal in 2018, the highest honour in mathematics.

97.5% of postgraduates from the School of Mathematical Sciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,131.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Simon Maurer sits at a desk with a laptop in front of an interactive whiteboard
The exciting part of the research area of applied mathematics is that there are often more applications than you would think. Often theoretical problems can be applied to numerous other fields, often in other research areas such as physics and biology.
Simon Maurer, PhD Mathematics

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • We're ranked in the top 10 of all the mathematics departments in the UK (overall REF 2014, institutions ranked by subject)
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 09 December 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.