School of Mathematics

How to apply for a PhD

PhD Student Applications

PhD Applications

The postgraduate research degree offered at the School of Mathematics is the PhD.  This is a 42 month programme of study plus a further 6 month period available in which to write up and submit your thesis. The students admitted typically have an MSc degree, or 1st class honours degree (or its international equivalent). From the start of their studies, they are assigned a main supervisor with whom they work closely throughout their degree programme and a second supervisor who provides additional help and pastoral support. Applications are invited for PhD studies for September each year. Occasionally students are admitted at other times of the year by special arrangement.  To request the possibility of  admission at another time of the year, please email the Graduate School with further details of your request. 

You are encouraged to apply by 31st January 2021 for full consideration. Later applications will be considered until all positions are filled.

Students interested in Applied and Computational Mathematics are advised to apply for the MAC-MIGS CDT programme (Mathematical Modelling, Analysis and Computation - PhD with integrated study). Applications must be submitted via 

Applications for the first recruitment day have now closed. However,  the deadline for final applications is 31st January 2021.

We accept applications from students who have secured external funding at all times of the year.


How to Apply

Step 1: Meet our entry requirements

Our minimum entry requirements are a 1st class honours degree (or its international equivalent) OR a 2.1 Honours degree (or its international equivalent) plus a Masters degree in a relevant subject, preferably from the UK. Typically, candidates have a good understanding of the field they propose to study, and at least some research experience.

Students applying for a research degree should identify their research interests and determine in which research group they wish to carry out their work. They are encouraged to contact staff members prior to their application in order to identify possible research projects and supervisors. This is especially the case for overseas applicants who, unlike the UK applicants, will not have the opportunity of an interview. However, it is not essential for you to have secured a supervisor before submitting your application.

Non-UK candidates whose first language is not English must provide a evidence of proficiency in the English language.

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI list of majority English speaking countries)

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.


Step 2: Apply online

Make an online application to the appropriate PhD programme(s) (see below) . You will be asked to upload documents at the start of the application process. 

The documentation that we require you to upload to your application is:

  • Interim or final transcript (depending on what stage you are at in your studies) of your Undergraduate Degree (plus Masters Degree, if applicable)
  • Final certificate for your Undergraduate Degree (plus Masters Degree, if applicable)
  • 2 Academic References to be provided directly by referees
  • English Language Certificate (where applicable)

Where you are asked for your project proposal, you may ignore that request as the School of Mathematics does not require a research proposal. (Although the EUCLID application system will request that you upload one, you can just ignore this request. The reason that you will be asked for one is that the system applies to all Schools throughout the University and some Schools do require a research proposal). There is no need to upload any certificates for the degree you are currently studying.  Official interim transcripts will be required.

On the application form, where it asks for funding information - please put School of Mathematics if you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships and/or indicate any other potential source of funding you have, have applied for or are intending to apply for (see Step 3).  If you have secured external funding, please provide evidence of the funding along with your application.


Step 3: Funding

Please review and apply for all applicable sources of funding noted on the What funding is available for your PhD page.


If you are interested in any of the University of Edinburgh’s research areas listed below, please apply via the page below.