Research course


University of Surrey · Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good first class degree in an MMath, MPhys or MSc qualification, or a first class honours degree in mathematics, physical sciences or engineering.

Months of entry

January, April, July

Course content

From geometry and partial differential equations to fluid dynamics (including meteorology), data science (including statistics) and modelling within the life sciences, mathematics at Surrey offers an extraordinary range of research opportunities that lie at the heart of the critical scientific questions of our age.

Our staff are leaders in their fields, and they offer support for innovative research in a lively, inspiring and intellectually stimulating environment. Our research cuts a broad swathe through both pure and applied areas of mathematics, and we’re unique in the strong emphasis we place on research at the interface between pure and applied mathematics.

As well as developing cutting-edge mathematics, our research also involves innovative applications in areas such as data analytics, wave energy, drug development, ecology, biological systems, theoretical physics, climate change and meteorology, crime forecasting and prevention, and machine learning.

We work closely with other academics, industries and research groups, ranging from internal collaborations with the Surrey Sleep Centre, the 5G Innovation Centre and the School of Veterinary Medicine, to partnerships with other institutions from around the globe. Our national and international collaborators include Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and the ETH Zurich, plus leading businesses, such as AstraZenica and Offshore Wave Energy Limited, and government agencies, such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the MET Office and Surrey Police

We’re part of the MAGIC network, which provides a large selection of PhD courses in pure and applied mathematics, so you’ll be able to explore these fields during your time with us. We’re also a host department for the SCENARIO NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. 

We also have a joint Mathematics PhD course in partnership with the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.

Our PhD in Mathematics will give you extensive training for a career as a professional mathematician, ready for a future in academia, industry or government.

You’ll work closely with one or two supervisors, who you’ll meet on a frequent basis to discuss your research and your career development. They’ll oversee your progress, guide your critical thinking and offer advice throughout your studies. 

During the first few months of your PhD, you’ll enrol and attend a series of induction events, and work with your supervisor to design a personal development plan, which you’ll update throughout your PhD.

You’ll complete a number of taught modules, including assessments to broaden your mathematics knowledge. Most of these will be completed in your first year, with some completed in your second year. These include taught courses from MAGIC, the London Taught Course Centre and the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics, plus our own masters-level modules. You’ll also get training in department research seminars aimed at both staff and PhD students. On average, you’ll be attending approximately one or two research seminars a week.

In your second year, you’ll complete a PhD Confirmation Report and pass an internal viva examination. You’ll present your research in your research group seminar and be encouraged to design a research poster. You’ll usually start working on your first research paper together with your supervisors in your second year.

The last year or two of your PhD is all about advancing your research and completing your thesis. You’ll have regular meetings with your supervisor, who’ll work closely with you to help you manage your writing and make you critically reflect on the research you’ve done. Often, you’ll write and submit more research papers in this time, too.

We encourage all PhD students to take part in research summer and winter schools, and to present work at national and international conferences. We can support your travel to these events, too.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    96 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)1483 682 222