Research course


University of Bristol · School of Mathematics
PhDMSc by research

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Entry requirements

A first-class or upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in mathematics or a closely related subject, or a relevant master's qualification. Places funded by the school may be subject to higher entry requirements.

Months of entry


Course content

The School of Mathematics is one of the largest schools in the Faculty of Science, with about 140 members of academic staff and research assistants and 70 postgraduate students. Our staff and students are engaged in research across a wide range of areas in applied mathematics, probability and dynamical systems, mathematical physics, pure mathematics and statistics. We are proud of our world-class reputation for research excellence and our commitment to provide the highest quality training for our postgraduate students.

World-class research

The school’s successes have been formally recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014), in which 87 per cent of the school’s research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. According to the Times Higher Education analysis of these results, Bristol is in the top five UK mathematics departments, along with Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford and Warwick. In recent years the quality of our research has attracted a number of distinguished prizes and substantial external grants.

Our postgraduates

The success of our school is based on attracting not only the best available staff, but also by recruiting the best possible postgraduate students. The school offers cutting-edge PhD and taught master's programmes, and we welcome applications from national and international students all year round. Postgraduate students in Bristol enjoy a friendly and stimulating environment. During your programme you will have the opportunity to develop your mathematical skills, collaborate with leading researchers and apply your expertise across a range of academic disciplines.

Our partnerships

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science (COMPASS) is a four-year PhD programme hosted by our Institute for Statistical Science. A team of world-leading experts from across the University of Bristol, together with external partners from industry and government, train COMPASS students in statistical and computational techniques of data science.

The Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research is an exciting partnership between the University of Bristol and the Government Communications Headquarters. Established in 2005, the Heilbronn Institute brings together high-calibre mathematicians to conduct research across several areas of interest, including number theory, quantum information and computational statistics. In collaboration with the school, it organises an annual conference and several workshops and weekly seminars, which further enhances the research environment for our postgraduate students.

The school has collaborative research programmes with other departments, such as biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, engineering, medical sciences, physics and philosophy. It is involved with University's Jean Golding Institute for Data Science and Data-intensive Research, the Cabot Institute for the Environment, the Bristol Quantum Information Institute, the Bristol Composites Institute, and the Bristol BioDesign Institute.

The school also has well-established connections with a number of external research institutions, such as LV (Liverpool Victoria Insurance), GCHQ, GSK, Wessex Water, Malvern Panalytical, Shell, EDF, ONS Office for National Statistics, AWE Atomic Weapons Establishment, plus a number of small and medium enterprises in the Bristol area who are building capabilities in data science and associated skills.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MSc by research
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Research Admissions
+44 (0) 117 42 84906