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Run by Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD, MSc by research
Programme length PhD: Three to four years full-time, or part-time equivalent
MSc by research: One year full-time, or part-time equivalent
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Part time study requires attendance on relevant taught courses during the first two years.
Start date Usually September 2021, but flexible if funding allows.

Programme overview

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. 

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (e.g. training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

UK/EU students may be eligible to apply for EPSRC funding for PhD study. To be considered for EPSRC funding, applications should be submitted before 6 January 2021.

The school provides financial support for PhD students from a number of sources, including Heilbronn Institute, research councils, industry and scholarships. For further details, see the School of Mathematics website.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

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.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile F
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Research priorities

The priorities of the school's research efforts are:

  • execution of internationally recognised world-class mathematical and statistical research, resulting in key publications and presentations;
  • research training of graduate students who show the highest potential;
  • research development and career progression of post-doctoral research workers;
  • interaction with external groups both within academia and beyond;
  • commercialising opportunities combining research and enterprise.

Research institutes

A wide range of research is conducted in the school, spanning many of the conventional boundaries between disciplines. Potential applicants are encouraged to consult the school's website for detailed accounts of the research themes, but broadly there are five research institutes:

Within the Institute for Applied Mathematics, research is concentrated in the areas of

The Institute for Mathematical Physics concentrates on mathematical physics research themes:

The Institute for Probability, Analysis and Dynamics research themes are intricately intertwined:

The Institute for Pure Mathematics is concerned with discovering, understanding and explaining abstract mathematical structures within the research themes of:

The Institute for Statistical Science explores the whole spectrum of modern statistics under the research themes:

The Institute of Statistical Science hosts the Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science.


Members of the school collaborate with colleagues from a variety of disciplines at Bristol, including physics, social sciences, biology and medicine, as well as with external organisations, such as Hewlett Packard, QinetiQ, Unilever, Barclays Bank, the Government Communications Headquarters and National Air Traffic Services.


Graduates have gone on to on to work in industry, finance, consultancy and academia, including post-doctoral positions and lectureships.

Staff profiles

Institute for Applied Mathematics

Members of the Institute of Applied Mathematics

Institute for Mathematical Physics

Members of the Institute of Mathematical Physics

Institute for Probability, Analysis and Dynamics

Members of the Institute for Probability, Analysis and Dynamics

Institute for Pure Mathematics

Members of the Institute for Pure Mathematics

Institute for Statistical Science

Members of the Institute of Statistical Science

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year. However, to receive full consideration for school funding, applications should be submitted before 6 January 2021

Get in touch

Postgraduate Research Admissions Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 42 84906 Email:

School of Mathematics
Fry Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UG
School website: School of Mathematics

Open days and visits

Find out how to attend one of our upcoming online events.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

  • Mathematical Sciences:
  • 43% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 44% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 12% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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