School of Mathematics

Why study at Edinburgh?

About The Maxwell Institute Graduate school

We are a world-leading department, covering almost all aspects of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Operational Research and Statistics as well as Mathematical Education. We have an academic faculty of around 95 staff, and almost 150 PhD students. We are also closely connected to other disciplines within the University, so if you study there will be lots of opportunities to follow whichever directions your work and your passion takes you. We work very closely with Heriot-Watt University to form the Maxwell Institute Graduate School (MIGS), and that means that you have an even bigger group of colleagues to work and socialise with, and together we offer lots of opportunities for you to make the most of your time in Edinburgh, which is a truly beautiful global city.

The School of Mathematics is situated in the James Clerk Maxwell Building within the King's Buildings campus, 4 km south of Edinburgh city centre. 

A postgraduate degree in mathematics can lead to your choice of career paths. Our graduates go on to successful careers in academia, industry and banking. We will teach you the skills required for carrying out excellent research and an extensive range of transferable skills training courses are available from the University's Institute for Academic Development (IAD). All our PhD students receive training in transferable skills in one of three streams, based on your preference – teaching, outreach or industry.

The result of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) placed the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences 3rd in the UK for Mathematical Sciences, based on the quality and breadth of our combined research*. The Institute is a longstanding collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University and pools research from both universities to offer a research and postgraduate training environment that can attract the best mathematics talent from around the world.

Research in the School is undertaken in a wide variety of areas of the mathematical sciences, including pure, applied, statistics, operational research as well as mathematical physics and PhDs are available in all of these areas. Further information about the research areas is available here. The School has also recently introduced a PhD in Mathematical Education. 

In Year 1, our PhD students share common space with PhD students from Heriot-Watt University within the Bayes Centre in the Central Area. The Bayes Centre provides an exciting multidisciplinary environment and hosts the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS). This rich environment includes a lively seminar programme, encompassing all areas of mathematics, operational research and statistics. 

We remain committed to maintaining and improving the quality of our teaching provision, including the related administrative procedures. Within the school there is a wide range of research areas and many seminars and colloquia are run throughout the academic year. A range of graduate courses, organised through the Scottish Mathematical Sciences Training Centre (SMSTC) are attended by PhD students during the first 6 months of their degree. 

PhD students in the school are expected to undertake tutoring for our undergraduate students. Payment for tutoring is by a Guaranteed Hours Contract (of employment). We believe that tutoring is an important part of the PhD experience and that it helps our PhD students to develop their skills and enhance their experience. 

For information about the application process, please visit the PhD Student Applications page here

There is information about funding opportunities on the Funding Opportunities page here

The University of Edinburgh is a historic institution founded in 1583, and is a world-leading centre of academic excellence. Our alumni include Charles Darwin and James Clerk Maxwell.

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The University of Edinburgh promotes Equality & Diversity. For more information please see the Equality & Diversity website.


*All rankings cited are calculated by combining the Times Higher Education’s ratings for the Maxwell Institute, both University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, based on Research Power, the quality and breadth of our combined research.