Research overview

Follow your passion for research

Join the School of Mathematical Sciences for the chance to work on projects in both fundamental and applied mathematical sciences that have an impact in the modern world. Projects cover the areas of:

  • Pure mathematics
  • Applied mathematics
  • Mathematical physics
  • Statistics and probability
  • Mathematical education & scholarship.

Why choose Nottingham for your PhD?

We're looking for passionate research students to help us shape the future of mathematical sciences and make a difference to the world around us.

Our research projects range from proposing new mathematical structures and uncovering new fundamental physics, to using mathematical sciences to produce sustainable materials, enhance future healthcare, and develop artificial intelligence.

Work is organised around exciting research themes, some of which focus on more traditional areas and others target emerging and multi-disciplinary problems:

  • algebra, arithmetic, and their geometries
  • computational statistics and machine learning
  • data-driven modelling and computation
  • epidemic modelling
  • fluid mechanics
  • geometry and symmetry
  • gravity
  • mathematical medicine and biology
  • mathematical neuroscience
  • multiscale modelling and heterogeneous media
  • numerical and applied analysis
  • quantum information and metrology
  • quantum mathematics
  • real, complex and functional analysis
  • symbolic computational mathematics
  • teaching and learning in mathematics higher education
  • wave modelling

Find out more about our research:

Research Excellence Framework 2021

  • 97% of our research outputs are rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'
  • The school was placed in the top 3 for quality of research environment across all mathematical sciences units in the UK
  • 100% of the impact from the school is rated as either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

This is highlighted in our commitment to attracting bright minds and inspiring academics to conduct mathematical research throughout the department.

Find out how our mathematical research is revolutionising the global testing of future drug use

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 and develop skills to become a professional researcher.

  • Study the research literature in your field, guided by your PhD advisor
  • Attend seminars on modern research
  • Take additional training in mathematical sciences and research skills
  • Conduct research and obtain novel results
  • Be part of an active and welcoming community of research students
  • Write annual reports and journal publications to communicate your research findings
  • Complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words
  • Take a verbal examination (viva voce) where you defend your research to an expert 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 PhD programme includes a training element, which may include research work as well as traditional taught material, and will include assessed components, designed to support your research.

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 2025 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

Please make an application to our standard 42-month length PhD, listed as Doctor of Philosophy - Mathematics in the portal.

The School offers 36 and 48-month options which are dependent on funding or project circumstances.

For applicants who are externally funded please include the length of your funding in your personal statement. Please also tell us if you intend to fund your own studies.

The duration of your PhD degree will be confirmed once an offer is made as this is usually determined by funding or your sponsor.


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

Please make an application to our standard 42-month length PhD, listed as Doctor of Philosophy - Mathematics in the portal.

The School offers 36 and 48-month options which are dependent on funding or project circumstances.

For applicants who are externally funded please include the length of your funding in your personal statement. Please also tell us if you intend to fund your own studies.

The duration of your PhD degree will be confirmed once an offer is made as this is usually determined by funding or your sponsor.

Meeting our English language requirements

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

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.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

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.


How to indicate your research interests

You do not need to submit a detailed proposal, but you *must* indicate a research theme(s), or Centre of Excellence that interests you and/or name specific academic staff members who could be your potential project supervisor and/or name specific projects.

Further information required when applying

  • Brief motivation for doing a PhD
  • Your academic record and research experience
  • Sources of funding (if applicable)

Application process and deadlines

We encourage applicants to apply before early to have the best chances of being awarded a fully-funded PhD scholarship (covers stipend and fees).

Stage 1: Your application is assessed, and if successful, you will be invited for an interview. This is a video call or in person, if possible

Stage 2: If successful at the interview stage, you will be considered for a fully-funded PhD scholarship.

When will you know if scholarship awarded?
  • If applied before 7 January, result will be known around mid-February
  • Late applications will be considered in subsequent rounds, with results known around mid April (if applied by 7 March), and mid-June (if applied by 7 May), and possibly later rounds depending on remaining available scholarships.

If you have funding support, intend to apply for an external scholarship, or are self-funded, you can apply throughout the year. Please indicate your funding details clearly in your application.

Study duration

Our standard duration of study is 3.5 years, although 3 or 4 year study is also 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£5,350

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.


We offer a number of projects each year for which scholarship funding are available, including from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University.

First class or distinction results are required as a minimum for funding.

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.

Postgraduate funding


Student support

The School of Mathematical Sciences provides dedicated support to its postgraduate researchers, including:

  • Access to an appropriate personal computer
  • Financial support to attend conferences and workshops
  • Opportunity to earn extra money by supporting our teaching with demonstrating and marking
  • You have a right to holiday leave, sick leave, and maternity/parental leave. You may also be able to switch to part-time (50%) PhD, depending on the approval of your funder

Wellbeing support

Your supervisors will support you throughout your research period. There is also further support within the school including:

  • Mentoring system amongst research students
  • Mentoring system between research students and postdoctoral research fellows
  • Mental health support in the form of regular meetings for research students only
  • Dedicated contacts for Support and Wellbeing, and for PGR Student Advice


To support training and learning, the school has access to specialised mathematical training courses provided by MAGIC (one of six Taught Course Centres supporting PhD mathematics programmes in the UK). Students can also utilise the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics (APTS).

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to 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
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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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.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Many of our PhD graduates move on to successful academic careers (e.g. Professor Caucher Birkar, recipient of the Fields Medal in 2018). Other choose to pursue exciting opportunities outside academia. PhD graduates in mathematics are in great demand in several sectors, including banking, finance, consulting, data analysis, and various types of industrial research.

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

  • Assistant Professor
  • Consultant
  • Mathematical Modeller
  • Project leader
  • Post-doctoral researcher
  • Research scientist
  • Statistician

They work for organisations such as:

Edward Acheampong
The power of mathematics in formulating solutions for real-life problems has always been my passion. Doing my PhD at Nottingham gave me numerous, unforgettable and eventful moments during which I presented my research internationally and participated in competitions
Edward Acheampong, Mathematics PhD 2020, Postdoctoral Fellow (MASS)

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • We are ranked 13th in the UK for research power according to analysis by Times Higher Education, which takes into account a combination of the quality of our research, its international impact, critical mass and sustainability.
  • 98% of our research is classed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).
  • Places our school joint 3rd for quality of research environment across all Mathematical Sciences units in the UK based on % of 4 star research
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 01 July 2024. 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.